As part of Pedro Sánchez's official trip to Angola and Senegal, the President visited the facilities of the new Cervantes Institute in Dakar, which will be inaugurated after the summer. Sánchez affirms that its opening "represents a great opportunity for the expansion of the Spanish language". This centre is the institution's first in sub-Saharan Africa, which is why, according to the President, "the presence of the Instituto Cervantes in Dakar will turn the city into a pole of influence throughout the continent, where there are around 1,600,000 students of Spanish".
He also considers that the Cervantes Institute "is a clear and decisive commitment by Spain to Senegal and to the whole of Africa". This trip is part of the Foco Africa 2023 project, a government plan aimed at strengthening collaboration with African governments and boosting Spain's presence on the continent through a strategic partnership. For this reason, Pedro Sánchez recalled that "Africa has become a priority territory for the expansion of the Cervantes Institute, which works to intensify international links through culture in Spanish and to reaffirm our common values". The President made cultural references to García Lorca and Don Quixote.
The Spanish President was accompanied by the Director of the Institute, Luis García Montero, and the Director of the centre in the Senegalese capital, Néstor Nongo Nsala. García Montero said that this project "is a two-way job: to promote culture in Spanish in Senegal and Senegalese culture in the Hispanic world". One of its main goals will be to help the 3,000 Spanish teachers in the country and to collaborate with the Senegalese education system. "We will help exchanges between the two countries in two ways," the director announced. This exchange will be carried out through scholarships and training provided by the AECID, and the Cervantes Institute will cooperate by facilitating stays by Senegalese teachers in Spain.
García Montero warned against the "xenophobic outbreaks" that can be caused by migration in Spain, a phenomenon that he considered "important and which must be made known within a human context". He also stressed the importance of culture and its "social and political repercussions", which can help to "create fraternal relations" and facilitate understanding between the two countries. He also recalled that there are more than 100,000 Senegalese in Spain, many of them members of active artistic associations.
On the other hand, Nestor Nongo Nsala, director of the centre in Dakar, pointed out the importance of this being the institution's first centre in sub-Saharan Africa, and that it is also located in a symbolic place, near the Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD).
Pedro Sánchez met with two Spanish teachers and students. Once completed, the centre will have four classrooms, a multi-purpose room with a capacity for 50 people and several offices. The current works are 85% complete and the centre is expected to be operational in September.
Submitted by José Antonio Sierra, Hispanismo advisor.