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US President Donald Trump has caused yet another stir online and within the international community after referring to an unknown country during a lunch with African leaders in New York for the General Assembly of the United Nations. Trump welcomed leaders from across the continent, in which he referenced ‘Nambia’.
However, no such country exists. Within minutes, memes and speculation spread across social media. Users were quick to offer possible alternatives to Trump’s ‘Nambia’, with most suggesting that he could be referring to Zambia, The Gambia, or Namibia.
Trump’s gaffe may have been excused as a one-off mispronunciation, but he later repeated the error with the comment that ‘”Nambia’s” health system is increasingly self-sufficient.’
Following the talk, a White House official moved to clarify that Trump did, in fact, mean Namibia—a southwest African country famous for its wildlife, vast Namib Desert, rich diamond reserves, and lengthy Atlantic Ocean coastline.
The president of Namibia, Hage Geingob, and deputy prime minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, were both present at the meeting but did not offer an immediate response to the error.
The ‘Nambia’ remark was not the only one that drew the ire of online commentators. Trump made sweeping references to the continent, with passing comments about Ebola and general health and economic issues.
He opened his speech with comments about the opportunities to foster job creation and economic growth. ‘Africa has tremendous business potential. I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. I congratulate you. They’re spending a lot of money,’ he said.
On health issues, Trump said, ‘We will continue our partnership with critical health initiatives. My Secretary of Health and Human Services will be travelling to Africa to promote our Global Health Security Agenda’.
He later made a similar comment regarding several African countries’ efforts towards security issues and countering terrorism: ‘To assist in these efforts I’m sending Ambassador Nikki Haley to Africa to discuss avenues of conflict and resolution.’
Many were quick to point out that a trip to ‘Africa‘ is a fairly complex endeavour for one individual, given that, according to the African Union, there are 55 autonomous states on the continent.