Donald Trump tells African leaders his friends ‘are going to your countries to get rich’ and praises made-up nation ‘Nambia’

0
244

Donald Trump has told African leaders the continent “has tremendous business potential” in a speech, and also praised healthcare advances in a non-existent country.

The US president said he had “so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich” as he hosted a lunch with African heads of state at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. 

He went on the laud the health system of “Nambia” – which is not a nation – as “increasingly self-sufficient”.

A White House transcript appears to suggest he intended to refer to Namibia, whose President Hage Geingob also delivered a speech at the assembly. Mr Trump may also have confused the country with Gambia or Zambia.

The US president twice referred to “Nambia” during his address on Wednesday. The first mention came as he read from a list of the countries whose leaders were in attendance.

He said: “I’m greatly honoured to host this lunch, to be joined by the leaders of Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Nambia, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda and South Africa.”

Mr Trump later congratulated the nine leaders on attracting businesses from the US.

“Africa has tremendous business potential,” he said. “I have so many friends going to your countries, trying to get rich. I congratulate you. They’re spending a lot of money.

“It has a tremendous business potential and represents huge amounts of different markets. And for American firms it’s really become a place that they have to go – that they want to go.”

Moving on to African health initiatives, he said: “Uganda has made incredible strides in the battle against HIV/AIDS. In Guinea and Nigeria, you fought a horrifying Ebola outbreak. Nambia’s health system is increasingly self-sufficient.”

The gaffe was ridiculed on social media.

“Covfefe is the unofficial beverage of Nambia,” joked Episcopalian priest Broderick Greer, in reference to Mr Trump’s infamous mistyped tweet earlier this year.

“Nambia doesn’t exist and already has better healthcare than we’re about to get from Republicans,” said TV writer Benjamin Siemon.

Mr Trump is not the first politician to invent a nation on the UN stage.

In January, Polish foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski said officials from non-existent “San Escobar” had supported his country’s bid for a place on the UN security council.