Trump in­vents a new African coun­try

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - AFRICA -

AS PRES­I­DENT Don­ald Trump spoke to African lead­ers at the UN on Wed­nes­day, he made not one but two ref­er­ences to a coun­try called Nam­bia.

“Nam­bia’s health sys­tem is in­creas­ingly self-suf­fi­cient,” Trump said ap­prov­ingly at one point.

Un­for­tu­nately, there’s a prob­lem – good health care or not, Nam­bia doesn’t ex­ist. And so the US pres­i­dent’s lauda­tory com­ments about a nonex­is­tent coun­try swiftly in­vited ridicule on­line, with many sug­gest­ing Trump had cre­ated an en­tirely new na­tion by com­bin­ing two ex­ist­ing ones – Zam­bia and Namibia.

“Let’s talk #Namibia!”

“Not to be con­fused with Nam­bia – a fic­tional land prob­a­bly some­where be­tween the bor­ders of Namibia and Zam­bia” – @Cu­rate_Namibia) Septem­ber 21, 2017

A White House tran­script of Trump’s com­ments cor­rected his er­ror, mak­ing clear the pres­i­dent had not in­tended to in­vent a new na­tion and had, in fact, been re­fer­ring to the very real coun­try of Namibia, which is in south­ern Africa.

So how did Namib­ians re­act to “Nam­bia”?

Namibia isn’t of­ten the sub­ject of Western at­ten­tion. The coun­try of just 2 mil­lion was granted in­de­pen­dence in 1990 af­ter a long civil war with neigh­bour­ing South Africa. It is per­haps best known in­ter­na­tion­ally for its long-stand­ing di­a­mond min­ing in­dus­try.

Hage Gein­gob, Namibia’s US-ed­u­cated pres­i­dent, was in the room with Trump as he made his speech. In pub­lic at least, he of­fered no re­ac­tion to the sug­ges­tion he was the leader of “Nam­bia”. Gra­ham Hop­wood, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Namibia’s in­de­pen­dent In­sti­tute for Pub­lic Pol­icy Re­search, said this might be be­cause of diplo­matic pro­to­col but also sug­gested the gaffe was likely to have been over­looked by Gein­gob any­way, for the sake of good ties be­tween Namibia and the US. – Wash­ing­ton Post

PIC­TURE: AP

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks dur­ing a lunch with African lead­ers at the Palace Ho­tel dur­ing the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly on Wed­nes­day in New York.

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