Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Prince Albert in Africa

As you can see the Sovereign Prince has arrived in the Republic of Mali for his state visit. So far, everything has gone according to plan. For a little background information, Mali and Monaco have at least one thing in common, both being members of the Francophone community. The west African nation (which way back in history was the Mali Empire during the days of the trans-Sahara trade routes) was a French colony until 1960, prior to that being the center of the "Mali Federation" within the French Union. As an independent country Mali has had a pretty rough time of it, facing a massive famine right out of the gate that took many lives. A dictatorship emerged but was finally toppled by a coup in 1991. A new constitution was put in place and the first democratic elections were held in 1992. Things have improved a great deal since then and today Mali is one of the more stable and orderly nations in Africa. Still, there is widespread poverty across much of the country and a lack of basic services. This is where the Principality of Monaco has become involved through the Prince Albert II Foundation and other development agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations. This has been part of a larger campaign and something unprecedented in Monegasque history. Since coming to the throne Prince Albert II has enacted a decidedly humanitarian foreign policy whereas, in the past, Monaco had little foreign policy at all outside of the "special relationship" with France. When it came to foreign relations Paris handled most things. However, Prince Albert has been very involved in investing and developing countries around the world where help is greatly needed. He may not often get credit for this but it is one of the significant changes of his reign.

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