- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade is offering free land to displaced Haitians who want to "return to their origins" in Africa:
"The president is offering voluntary repatriation to any Haitian that wants to return to their origin," said Wade’s spokesman Mamadou Bemba Ndiaye late Saturday following the president’s announcement.
"Senegal is ready to offer them parcels of land – even an entire region. It all depends on how many Haitians come. If it’s just a few individuals, then we will likely offer them housing or small pieces of land. If they come en masse we are ready to give them a region," he said.
He stressed that Wade had insisted that if a region is handed over it should be in a fertile area – not in the country’s parched deserts.
The offer may be unusual, but it’s not out of character of the octogenarian Wade, who is known for his pan-African sentiments and lofty visions.
The troubled and impoverished Democratic Republic of Congo has also raised some eyebrows by offering $2.5 million in aid to Haiti. Political scientist Ntanda Nkere told the BBC the likely reasoning behind the offer:
"It’s a contradiction to see a country which is facing serious financial problems giving away $2.5m but at the same time, it’s a purely diplomatic reaction, the Congolese government wants to appear like any other government."