In the 50 years since the Organisation of African Unity was founded, we have seen the development of a growing number of links between Scotland and Africa. In March of this year, the First Minister welcomed Her Excellency, Dr Joyce Banda, President of the Republic of Malawi to Scotland to take part in the celebrations of the bicentenary of the birth of David Livingstone, the great Scottish explorer, medic, missionary and anti-slavery campaigner who was so important in establishing Scotland's relationship with Africa.
President Banda's visit saw the announcement of additional Scottish Government investment in Malawi, complementing our initiatives in other parts of Africa including Zambia, Tanzania and Rwanda. Next year will provide a great opportunity to further strengthen Scotland's links with Africa when we welcome the world - including representatives from 17 Commonwealth countries from across the African continent - for our second Year of Homecoming and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Over the past 50 years, African diaspora communities here in Scotland have become an integral part of Scottish society, making a great contribution to our nation and enhancing the vibrancy of our communities. I would like to thank Africa Forum Scotland for hosting this event and helping to forge the links between Scotland and Africa which I am certain will continue to grow in the years ahead.
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