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Mrs. Migiro cited “inequality” as another challenge facing Africa.

“Disparities in health, education and participation in society are preventing millions of African from realizing their potential and holding back social and economic progress,” she said.

Mrs. Migiro called on African leaders to prepare for long-term growth by diversifying their economies, strengthening regional trade, promoting democratic governments and ensuring environmental protections.

“Africa is a dynamic continent,” she said. “I am optimistic about its future.”

GAGA AGAIN

American ambassadors are gaga over Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.

First, Ambassador David H. Thorne in Italy invited the New York native to Rome for a gay-pride parade.

Now, Ambassador Scot Marciel in Indonesia has appealed to the government to allow her to perform in the predominantly Muslim country.

Alas, the 26-year-old singer known the world over as Lady Gaga was just too sexy for Islamic extremists. She canceled her sold-out June 3 show in Jakarta after Islamists threatened violence to stop her from performing.

The Islamic Defenders’ Front called her a “messenger from the devil.”

Mr. Marciel last week appealed to Indonesia’s tradition of free speech, as the controversy over Lady Gaga’s outlandish outfits and support for gay rights rankled Islamic extremists.

The ambassador told the Jakarta Post newspaper that the views of the “Indonesian community as a whole” should prevail over those of a “small group.”

“The U.S. believes in freedom of expression and tolerance,” he said, adding that Indonesia “has a long tradition of support for freedom of expression and tolerance, as well.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email jmorrison@washingtontimes.com. The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.