Address by Minister Dlamini Zuma to
the Ministerial Follow-up Meeting of the France- December
Africa Meeting, Paris 1999
Honourable Minister Vedrine, our host,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We would like to express our appreciation from the warm
hospitality that we have received since our arrival
in France. Thank you for the opportunity to participate
in this follow-up meeting to the Franco-African Heads
of State Summit on Security in Africa.
Security and development are two sides of the same coin.
The millennium, which is winding to a close, offered
neither to our continent. It was characterised by the
most barbaric human practice of slavery, which robbed
our continent of the finest sons and daughters, based
on a racist notion that as Africans we are sub-human.
It was also characterised by colonialism and imperialism
which resulted in the plunder of raw materials, destruction
of our culture and heritage, our traditional ways of
farming and domestic food security and integrated Africa
into the world economy as a sub-servient participant.
This was punctuated by the rediscovery of our own soul
and the restoration of our dignity during the titanic
struggles for self-determination, drawing the inspiration
from the knowledge that a continent that was the cradle
of human life, capable of such creativity as represented
by the stone buildings of the Zimbabwe ruins, the pyramids
of Egypt, the Benin bronzes, the Makhonde carvings and
the rock paintings of the Sans to name but a few, cannot
have less humans.
The racist and colonial powers put up extreme resistance
but the peoples of the continent were not discouraged
because they understood that their security and development
depended on the defeat of colonialism and racism.
Indeed, Africa regained its pride and dignity through
the sacrifices of the heroes and heroines who gave their
lives under the leadership of visionaries like the late
Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Agustino Neto, Julius
Nyerere, Oliver Tambo, Amilca Cabral, to name a few.
This process has just been completed by the defeat of
Apartheid in South Africa.
These gains were short lived. Neo-colonialism perpetuated
the same economic system as colonialism while allowing
the emergence of new national elites in independent
states and themselves were destined to join the dominant
global forces in oppressing and exploiting the masses
of the African continent.
Unfortunately the newly formed elites seem to
thrive on the basis of looting of national wealth and
the entrenchment of corruption. In addition the international
debt burden has meant a decline of standards of living
and the quality of life for hundreds of millions of
In the later years of this century we witnessed a continent
by dictators, military regimes, leading to conflict,
civil wars, millions of refugees, displaced women and
children. In the words of President Mbeki at the launch
of the African Renaissance
Institute: "We bore to witness to unspeakable
genocide that descended on the people of Rwanda in 1994.
We know that in the end, these extraordinary Africans
ended the slaughter themselves because they took it
upon themselves to make the determination that Africa
will not perish at the hands of her own sons and daughters".
Since security and development are the sides of the
same coin, whilst Africa was torn by conflict, civil
wars, transnational crime, development became a pipe
dream. It was also ravaged by extreme poverty, degradation
of the environment and the destruction of agricultural
land by landmines. Children became soldiers instead
of scholars, they became victims of hunger, women had
to bear the pain of seeing their children starve to
death or die from preventable diseases.
Africa is experiencing the most devastating AIDS epidemic,
made worst by their poor state of nutrition and poor
Throughout this post colonial period the continent has
searched for ways and means by which new countries can
achieve good governance, stability and security. The
leadership is mindful of the complexity and the challenge
of good governance. The societies are multi-ethnic,
multi-lingual and multi-religious.
The majority is rural, poor and uneducated. The poorest
being women, still seen only as bearers of children,
The countries are also poor.
The elite who is relatively wealthy, educated and powerful
within the new nation is few and concerted in the cities.
Many amongst them were assimilated into the culture,
language, the mores and society of the coloniser as
a mark of progress and civilisation. Many of them saw
themselves as closer to the former colonial power than
the villages from which they originated.
Democracy and good governance based on the notion that
"The people shall govern" and equality before
the law is a prerequisite for the security and development.
Respect for human rights, accountability, transparency,
intrinsic to democracy, lie in enhancing the participation
of the citizens in governance, in maintaining vigilance
against abuse of power and corruption. The citizens
then become the owners of the development process.
The democratic system must respond to the objectives
make up and dynamics of our societies because if it
does not respond it may create new conditions for instability
and insecurity. The state should contribute to the development
of its people. Education, health and provision of basic
services are important for stability and development.
As a continent, through the OAU, having taken the decision
that the year 2000 is Africa's year of peace, we must
aim to ensure that by the end of the year 2000 no part
of our Continent should be victim of the wars of destruction.
This will bring to a close a period in our history that
has condemned many peoples on our continent to the cruelty
of military conflict.
Our best challenge would be how to deal with debt and
poverty. How do we ensure that peace, stability and
security is indeed followed by economic prosperity and
rising standard of living for all the people of the
continent? How do we make sure that Africa does nor
perish in the throes of globalisation? For this we will
need the co-operation and assistance of the developed
The recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
in its Fancourt "Declaration on Globalisation and
People Centred Development" stated that "poverty
and human deprivation constitute a deep and fundamental
flaw in the world economy"; and that "the
greatest challenge facing us today is how to channel
the forces of globalisation for the elimination of poverty
and empowerment of human beings to lead fulfilling lives".
The Summit Meeting of the African Caribbean and Pacific
Countries, held in the Dominican Republic, and the WTO
meeting that has just been concluded in Seattle, were
grappling with these very problems posed by what the
Commonwealth described as this deep and fundamental
flaw in the world economy.
It must be us who are surrounded by poverty and human
deprivation who lead the search for these answers. This
entire system of global political and economic governance
has to be reformed amongst other things, to deal with
the question of equity amongst nations and peoples of
The European Community, the G7 of which France is a
member, have a critical role in both the reform of the
global economic governance and the question of debt.
The developed world should mobilise the business community
towards sustainable investments in the continent.
The African Intelligentsia, scattered in the Capitals
of the developed world, has to see itself as part of
motive forces for development in Africa.
We hope that the developed countries will have the political
will, the courage and the sense of human solidarity
to help us search for the answers that will ensure development
No one in the developed and developing world should
be proud of being wealthy and prosperous whilst millions
go hungry and do not have access to affordable medicine
and health care.
Security and development cannot be achieved unless women
are treated as equals and integrated into all the political
and economic decision-making processes. We cannot hope
to reach the full development potential of our continent
if women, who are more than half of the population,
The time has come to take the future into our own hands,
clearly define our vision and mobilise resources, both
national and international, in order to ensure security
and development. We are left with no choice but to collectively
cooperate in promoting socio-economic development and
In conclusion, chairperson, we should all be introspective
about the role we have played in the past and the role
that we ought to play. To those of us from Africa and
the developed world, as represented here by France,
let us commit ourselves here and now, never again shall
we be party to what undermines security and development
in Africa, our beloved continent.
As President Mbeki constantly declares the next century
is the African century.