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