African–African American Summit I
Date: April 17-19, 1991
Venue: Abidjan, Cote D’ Ivoire
Host: H.E. President Felix Houphouet-Boigny
- The chartered plane was filled with the “Historic 300”—the 300 African Americans who came with Reverend Sullivan, making up the largest contingent of African Americans ever returning to Africa at that time, to join the top officials from 26 African countries.
- Then Ivoirian President Houphouet-Boigny presented his country’s first dual-citizenship passports to Reverend Sullivan and his wife Grace Sullivan, in turn launching a dual-citizenship campaign for African Americans who wanted to be citizens in American and in an African country.
- The Debt for Development Program –the first big push for debt relief for Africa—resulted in the conversion of promissory notes to local currency in Nigeria, Niger and Guinea. As a result of the conversion of funds, almost $6 million was provided to grass-roots organizations and their beneficiaries over a seventeen-year period.
- After meetings with Reverend Sullivan, US President George Bush forgave $2 billion of Sub-Saharan African debt, French President Francois Mitterrand forgave$6 billion in debt (promising more to come), and German Chancellor Kohl committed to supporting the efforts.
- President Mitterrand and Chancellor Kohl then took Reverend Sullivan’s message to the G-7, receiving additional debt relief commitments from the leaders of England, Italy, Japan, and Canada.
- Reverend Sullivan also went on to speak with leaders at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, never ending his campaign for debt relief. By Summit IV in Zimbabwe, Reverend Sullivan’s efforts had secured $60 billion in debt relief, while still working on $100 billion more.
- In order to help strengthen financial systems of participating countries, The Best & Brightest Bankers Program has trained over 400 middle-management bankers in the five-week African Bankers Training Program in New York and Philadelphia.
*A Special Note: The Summit Movement began just before Reverend Sullivan was hospitalized in Arizona, due to an unknown life-threatening infection spreading through and eating the flesh in his right arm. Through a miracle of worldwide prayers, the infection and fever left Reverend Sullivan, but it also left its mark – he was without the use of 3 fingers on his right hand; the same 3 fingers he had planned to cut off in protest of South African apartheid. This first Summit in Cote d’Ivoire was literally planned from his hospital bed (recovering from multiple skin grafts) through phone calls, visits from aids, and the support of African diplomats.