Opening Address by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad at the Conference on "Reflections on SA's Post Apartheid Foreign Policy", 26 September 2000

The Secretary-General of the United Nations recently said: "the time is long past when anyone could claim ignorance about what is happening in Africa or what was needed to achieve progress. The time is also passed when the responsibilities for producing change could be shifted to African shoulders. It is a responsibility that humanity must face together".

As we seek to respond to the Secretary-General’s challenge we are conscious that today the world is constantly bombarded with sensationalists and instant reporting of African conflicts, African brutality, starving women and dying children. The Afro sceptics and Afro pessimists are daily re-enforced in their convictions that nothing good can come out of Africa. The Washington Post in an editorial said: "Africa’s apparent hopelessness is now so widely accepted that it is in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy". A BBC journalist who was based in South Africa, George Alagiah, wrote, " there is a lot of historical baggage to cut through when reporting on Africa. The view of the continent is infected with the prevailing view of the 19 th century". He quotes Explorer John Speke who in the 1860s wrote in reflecting on Africa’s societies "As his father did, so does he. He works his wife, sells his children, enslaves all he can lay his hands on, and unless fighting for the lands of others, contents himself with drinking, singing and dancing like a baboon, to drive dull care away. There are many for whom these words still have resonance. He goes on to say, "my job is to give a fuller picture but I have a gnawing regret that as a foreign correspondent I have done Africa a disservice by too often showing the continent at its worst and too rarely showing it in its full flower".

The Economist article entitled the "Hopeless Continent", while correctly identifying some of the problems facing the African continent, reflects the dangers the BBC journalist was referring to. We Africans and indeed the world, cannot indulge in the luxury of such racialist stereotyping, sceptism and despondency, which results in intellectual bankruptcy. It is our task to constructively and critically examine the challenges and problems facing Africa. We must do so by dealing with the root causes of our problems and putting these in their proper context, and by accepting our responsibilities. We must also have an objective assessment of the positive developments in our continent. This demands that we aks the question – Are African politicians, social scientists and other sectors of civil society free of the problems Alagiah wrote about?

I am confidant that as you seek to "reflect on SA’s post–apartheid foreign policy", you will take note of what the President recently said ( at the National Racism Conference on 30/08 ) :

" As we try to determine what is best for us as a people, our intelligentsia will have to consider a wide variety of important matters. These include :

the interconnections between the abstract and the empirical, between the ideal and the actual;

social organisation, scientific inquiry and the impact of property relations on the integrity of the process of the expansion of the frontiers of knowledge.

At the same time, they must understand that true intellectual discourse presumes the vigorous contention of ideas.

Given the difficult solutions we have to find to the hundreds of problems that confront all of us, with none of us occupying a privileged position of being the exclusive domicile of wisdom, we cannot but agree that in our instance as well, let a hundred schools of thought contend!

It will be important that we do not transform our rejection of any views that might be expressed into hostility towards the individuals who might express such views.

Whatever our protestations and our elevated views of ourselves, many of us are still immersed in a learning process of how to handle open and vigorous debate."

Chairperson,

Historically, and especially in the post-colonial period, our leaders in Africa spoke of Africa’s contributions to the very evolution of life, and also of ancient times when Africa was the leading centre of learning, technology and culture. They were referring to the increasing discovery of evidence, which points to Africa’s primacy in the historical evolution of human kind; they were referring to the magnificent courts of Mali and Timbuktu in the 15th and 16th centuries, to the works of rogue art in South Africa that are thousands of years old, to the artistic artworks of the Nubians and Egyptians, to the sculptured stones of Aksum in Ethiopia, the pyramids of Egypt, the city of Carthage in Tunisia and the ancient universities of Egypt, Morocco and Mali.

The post-colonial leaders who raised the issue of the African renewal were sacrificed on the altar of the Cold War. Today, in the absence of the Cold War, we are in a better position to take up the challenge of the African renewal.

A few days ago the historic UN Millennium Summit, put the challenges of Africa high on the international agenda.

In the last few weeks we visited Latin America and South East Asia, for bilateral discussions and for meetings with our heads of missions in the Americas, Asia and the Middle East.

We openly, frankly and self-critically assessed whether the Department of Foreign Affairs and indeed the South African government and NGOs, have the capacity to meet the key objectives of our foreign policy, viz, the developmental challenges confronting Africa.

Our starting point was the acceptance of the basic reality that foreign policy is a reflection of our domestic policy, and its major objective is to protect our national interests. Whatever we do, either in government or outside of government, must always be premised by the question: Is it serving the interests of our country and our people? President John F Kennedy said: "Ask not what the country is doing for you but what you are doing for the country". Today the most important challenge facing us is the consolidation, deepening and strengthening of our non-racial and non-sexist democracy. To meet our objectives we must ensure that South Africa achieves sustainable economic development and prosperity which is people centred.

Some critical challenges that we will have to tackle are : how do we ensure that South Africa has greater market access; greater export possibilities; greater foreign direct .investment; more joint partnerships; greater technology and skills transfers; greater opportunities for human resource development; greater overseas development assistance and greater number of tourists.

We have to accept another basic reality, namely, that South Africa cannot be an island of prosperity in a sea of poverty. Our national interest is inextricably linked to what happens in our sub-region, SADC, and the continent of Africa. Therefore, the African Renaissance is a vision that must underscore our foreign policy activities. We can’t afford the luxury of making the African Renaissance another "industry" for intellectual debate.

The broad objectives of the African Renaissance have already been identified. Firstly, the African Renaissance means the establishment of democratic political systems in our continent that will ensure the accomplishment of the goal that the people should govern. Secondly, ensuring that these systems take into account African specifics so that while being truly democratic and protecting human rights they are nevertheless designed in ways which really ensure that political and peaceful means can be used to address the conflicting interests of different social groups in each country. Thirdly, establish institutions and procedures which will enable the continent to deal collectively with questions of democracy, peace and stability. Fourthly, achieving sustainable economic development that results in the continuous improvement of the standard of living and the quality of life of the masses of the people. Fifthly, qualitatively changing Africa's place in the world economy so that it is free of the yoke of the international debt burden and no longer a supplier of raw materials and an importer of manufactured goods. Sixthly, ensuring the emancipation of women of Africa and seven, to successfully confront the scourge of infectious diseases such as HIV (Aids), Tuberculosis and Malaria and lastly – the protection of our environment.

This is the challenge that our foreign policy has to face in the coming millennium. South Africa is not a European outpost on the African continent. The success of the African Renaissance will also be South Africa’s success. South Africa generally, and the Department of Foreign Affairs specifically, have an historical duty to put the renewal of Africa on the international agenda.

The African Renaissance is not an event but a process. We have no illusions about the immense difficulties we face in meeting this challenge. Clearly we will make progress but we must also be prepared for setbacks. We must also be realistic and while we have long shopping lists on how to achieve the African Renaissance we must identify and tackle priorities.

We must also accept the reality that Africa is not a homogeneous continent, with the same historic and geographic conditions, with the same levels of growth and economic development, with the same levels of democratic systems; with the same levels of commitment of alleviating poverty and fighting corruption; and with the same commitment to oppose dictatorships, military coups and conflicts.

We have to understand the differences in our continent and identify the specific challenges of each country, while not forgetting the overall challenge facing us.

The African Renaissance, in essence, is a part of the broader struggle to achieve a just and new equitable world order. The African Renaissance is not something separate from our daily work to bring about transformation internationally and in our country itself. This means that we have to accept that the African Renaissance cannot be achieved by Africans alone. To achieve the African Renaissance we must identify ways to deepen South-South relations, and on the basis of a strong South-South relations, deepen the South-North relations. Without achieving the objectives of South-South relations on the basis of which we build South-North relations our vision of an African Renaissance will remain a dream.

We are faced with the reality that we are living in a New World Order that has fundamentally been transformed in the last few years.

The Cold War has ended and globalisation has become a reality. Today few see globalisation as a conspiracy imposed on us. We cannot roll back nor can we ignore globalisation. Globalisation has been made possible by the unprecedented dismantling of barriers to trade and capital mobility together with fundamental technological advances and steadily declining costs of transportation, communication and computers. Globalisation has resulted in faster economic growth, greater prosperity accelerated innovation and diffusion of technology and management skills and new economic opportunities.

Since 1950 exports have increased tenfold. Mega multinationals have become a reality. A recent transnational communications takeover in the US created a company whose market value exceeds a GDP of nearly half of all UN members, though it is only the worlds fourth richest company.

Foreign exchange flows has increased dramatically, it is now a startling 1.5 trillion dollars a day.

According to a Task Force sponsored by the New York Council on Foreign Affairs, the assets of the 3 top billionaires are more than the combined GDP of all least developed countries and their 600 million people. At the end of 1997, there were more than 50 developing countries with entire banking systems that were smaller than the Credit Union for World Bank and IMF employees.

…… A 1% shift in the international (not the total) portfolios of G-7 institutional investors would amount to roughly $60 billion.

According to the 1999 U.N. Human Development Report, more than 80 countries have per capita incomes that are lower than they were a decade or more ago. Since 1990, 55 countries, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have had declining per capita incomes.

The income gap between the fifth of the world’s people living in the richest countries and the fifth in the poorest was 74 to 1 in 1997, up from 60 to 1 in 1990.

This richest fifth accounted for 86% of the World’s GDP while the bottom fifth shared 1 %.

Kofi Annan Millennium report states that : "nearly half the world’s population still has to make do on less than 2$ a day. Approximately 1.2 billion people – 500 million in South Asia and 300 million in Africa struggle on less that $1 a day. People living in Africa – south of the Sahara are almost as poor today as they were 20 years ago"

Africa’s share of world trade has plummeted since 1960. It now accounts for less than 2% of world trade. Africa is the only region to see investments and savings decline after 1970. Savings rate in many African countries are the lowest in the world.

Tax revenue declined in poor countries from 18% of the GDP in early 1980’s to 16% in 1990’s.

A number of Africa’s poor have grown relentlessly and Africa’s share of the worlds absolute poor increased from 25% to 30% in the 1990’s.

Diseases such as HIV/Aids, Malaria, and Tuberculosis are causing havoc; electrical power consumption per person is the lowest in the world; Africa has 14 telephone lines per 1000 persons, Tokyo has more telephones than the whole of Africa; less than half of 1% of all Africans have used the internet.

This is a new world order in which we are experiencing an unprecedented scientific technological revolution. In 1993 there were 50 pages on the World Wide Web, today there are more than 50 million. In 1993 143 million people used the Internet, by 2001 there will be 700 million users. In 1996 e-commerce market was 2,6 billion dollars it is expected to grow to 300 billion dollars by 2002. There are more computers in US than in the rest of world put together.

Therefore the challenge confronting us is - how do we ensure that globalisation does not benefit just a few but benefits all, that peace and security holds not for a few but for many, that opportunities exist not merely for the privileged but for every human being everywhere.

The Commonwealth Summit held in South Africa this year characterised global poverty as a structual fault in the world economy.

The Secretary General of the UN said: "The central challenge we face today is to ensure that globalisation becomes a positive force for all the world’s people instead of leaving billions in squalor. He goes on to say that "inclusive globalisation must be built on the enabling force of the market", but significantly, he mentions that "market forces alone will not achieve it, it requires a broader effort to create a shared future based on our common humanity in all its diversities". He identified six shared values : freedom, equity and solidarity, tolerance, non-violence, respect for nature and shared responsibility. These values reflect the essence of the African Renaissance.

The African Renaissance is therefore not some idealistic "thing" that we have conjured up. It is in essence a sine quo non for the vision of a New World Order that is people centred, more caring, equitable and meaningful.

The former Managing Director of the IMF, Camdesus, stated (2/2/2000) :

"The post-world war generations are the first in history to find themselves in a position to be called upon to influence global Affairs, not from the position of military conquest or imperial power, but through voluntary international competition. Globalisation should be seen as the best chance we have of improving the human condition throughout the world. This view of globalisation is one that goes beyond trade, beyond capital mobilty and the wonder of instantaneous electronic communication and business, beyond even the freedom of people and ideas to move around the world.

It must be seen also as an invitation to enhance our sense of international responsibility and solidarity; our sense of world citizenship to make the best for humankind out of this unifying process of the universe ….. the basis for action then will be to identify those universal values, on which all people could coincide and join forces to face together the challenge of our time.

The developed countries must accept that there can be no islands of prosperity in a sea of poverty. They cannot feel secure and hope to continue to develop while many other countries in the world get poorer. There are no borders or walls that can protect the developed countries from the effects of poverty, deprivation, infectious diseases, international criminal syndicates, terrorism and environmental degradation. Greenspan – USA Federal Reserve Chairman said "The USA cannnot expect to remain an oasis of prosperity, if the rest of the world is in financial crisis".

I am sure that you will agree that the nature of "voluntary international cooperation, solidarity and universal values" can not be determind by the powerful only. We have to make our contribution to this vital search for a new international order, that takes the interests of all countries into account, and is people centred.

President Mbeki at Millennium Summit said : "The poor of the world stand at the gates of the comfortable mansions occupied by every King and Queen, President, Prime Minister and Minister privileged to attend this unique meeting. The question these billions ask is – what are you doing … to end the deliberate and savage violence against us that, everyday, sentences many of us to a degrading and unnecessary death! …

The fundamental challenge that faces this Millennium Summit is that, credibly, we must demonstrate the will to end poverty and underdevelopment …. "

This demands that we mobilise all the forces in the South and in the North, to ensure that the developed countries, take certain concrete measures, interalia;

the debts of the highly indebted poor countries must be cancelled.

there must be substantial increases in foreign direct investments in Africa. If after the Second World War millions of dollars poured into Europe through the Marshall Aid Plan, because of the "spectre of communism", why is it not possible for us to mobilise the same amount of resources to take Africa out of the dire straits it is in at the moment. Our objective is a special program for the African Renaissance.

- the reduction of overseas development assistance must be halted. It is unacceptable that as the developed countries get richer they cut their development assistance rather than increase it.

- there must be greater market access for the products of Africa, including agricultural products. We need to mobilise against the developed countries, policies of agricultural subsidies, which is helping to sustain their agricultural sector while keeping the prices at an artificially low level.

non-tariff restrictions, which all developed countries without exception impose must be tackled

there must be a new transparent financial architecture.

the Bretton Woods Institutions must be transformed.

- the "technological devide" must be transformed into the "digital opportunity". Therefore we must ensure that Africa receives relevant and affordable technology.

The Declaration of the Millennium Summit - gives us a very strong foundation to achieve an African renewal.

"The central challenge we face today is to ensure that globalisation becomes a positive force for all the world’s people. While globalisation offers great opportunities, at present its benefits are very unevenly shared, while its costs are unevenly distributed. We recognise that the developing countries and countries with economies in transition face special difficulties in responding to this central challenge.

Thus only through broad and sustained efforts to create a shared future, based upon our common humanity in all its diversity, can globalisation be made fully inclusive and equitable".

The Summit identified certain fundamental values to be essential to international

relations in the twenty-first century. These include :

Freedom. Men and women have the right to live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from the fear of violence, oppression or injustice. Democratic and participatory governance based on the will of the people best assures these rights.

Equality. No individual and no nation must be denied the opportunity to benefit from development. The equal rights and opportunities of women and men must be assured.

Solidarity. Global challenges must be managed in a way that distributes the costs and burdens fairly in accordance with basic principles of equity and social justice. Those who suffer, or who benefit least, deserve help from those who benefit most.

Tolerance. Human beings must respect each other, in all their diversity of belief, culture and language. Differences within and between societies should be neither feared nor repressed, but cherished as a precious asset of humanity. A Culture of Peace and Dialogue among all civilizations should be actively promoted.

Respect for nature. Prudence must be shown in the management of all living species and natural resources, in accordance with the precepts of sustainable development. Only in this way can the immeasurable riches provided to us by nature be preserved and passed on to our descendants. The current unsustainable patterns of production and consumption must be changed, in the interest of our future welfare and that of our decendants.

Shared responsibility. Responsibility for managing worldwide economic and social development, as well as threats to international peace and security, must be shared among the nations of the world and should be exercised mutilaterally. As the most universal and most representative organization in the world, the United Nations must play the central role.

The Summit therefore committed itself to making the right to development a reality

for everyone, and to freeing the human race from want. It agreed to:-

address the special needs of the least developed countries at the UN Conference on the least Developed Countries in May 2001;

to adopt a policy of duty and quota free access for essentially all exports from the least developed countries;

to implement the programme of debt relief for the heavily indebted poor countries without delay and to agree to cancel all official bilateral debts of those countries, in return for their making demonstrable commitments to poverty reduction;

to grant more development assistance.

The Summit resolved to:

Halve by the year 2015, the proportion of the world’s people whose income is less than one dollar a day, and who are unable to reach or afford safe drinking water.

To ensure that by 2015 children everywhere, boys and girls will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling and that boys and girls will have equal access to all levels of education.

By 2015 to reduce maternal mortality by ¾ and under 5 child mortality by 2/3rds of current rates.

By 2015 to have halted and begin to reverse the spread of HIV AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases.

To achieve these objectives it is imperative that the various multi-lateral institutions have a people centred developmental agenda.

Therefore an important objective of our foreign policy is the transformation of multilateral institutions. In the 1930’s, the attitude of "I’m not my brother’s keeper" resulted in political revanchism, authoritarianism, militarism, unprecedented social upheavals and communism. After the Second World War, institutions were created to prevent this from happening again. The UN, the Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF and the World Bank) and GATT (which is today subsumed by the WTO) were created on the reality of an inter-national world order. Today globalisation has created a global neighbourhood and like the thirties, if the uneven development of globalisation continues, the spectre of the billions of the poor becoming ungovernable will become a reality in the 21 st century.

It is therefore not surprising that the Millennium Summit resolved to:

Spare no effort to make the United Nations a more effective instrument for pursuing all priorities, viz,: the fight for development for all the peoples of the world, the fight against poverty, ignorance and disease; the fight against injustice; the fight against violence, terror and crime; and the fight against the degradation and destruction of our common home.

Summit therefore resolved:

To reaffirm the central position of the General Assembly as the chief deliberative, policy-making and representative organ of the United Nations, and to enable it to play that role effectively.

To intensify our efforts to achieve a comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all its aspects.

To further strengthen the Economic and Social Council, building on its recent achievements, to help it fulfil the role ascribed to it in the Charter.

To strengthen the International Court of Justice, in order to ensure justice and the rule of law in international affairs.

To encourage regular consultations and coordination among the principal organs of the United Nations in pursuit of their functions.

To ensure that the Organisation is provided on a timely and predictable basis with the resources it needs to carry out its mandates.

To urge the Secretariat to make the best use of those resources, in accordance with clear rules and procedures agreed to by the General Assembly, in the interests of all member States, by adopting the best management practices and technologies available, and by concentrating on those tasks that reflect the agreed priorities of Member States.

To promote adherence to the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel

To ensure greater policy coherence and to improve better cooperation between the United Nations, its Agencies, the Bretton Woods Institutions, and the World Trade Organisation, as well as other multilateral bodies, with a view to achieving a fully coordinated approach to the problems of peace and development.

To further strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and national parliaments through their world organisation, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, in various fields, including: peace and security, economic and social development, international law and human rights democracy and gender issues.

To give greater opportunities to the private sector, non-governmental organisations and civil society in general, to contribute to the realisation of the Organisation’s goals and programmes.

Specifically in relation to Africa the Summit resolved to:

To take special measures to address the challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development in Africa, including debt cancellation, improved market access, enhanced Official Development Assistance (ODA), and increased flows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as well as transfers of technology.

Build up capacity to tackle the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other infectious diseases.

Chairperson,

The South African Government is accused of "punching beyond its weight", and the President is accused of "globe-trotting and ignoring SA’s problems". We can’t be diverted by such "childish infant disorder". As I have tried to indicate we are a part of the world and our overall interests are dependent on what happens in the world.

I am proud to say that SA made an important contribution to very important decisions of the Millennium Summit.

South Africa, because of its unique character, is a bridge between the:

- developed and developing countries

developing countries, eg, - English speaking; French speaking.

Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa – (Afro-Arab Solidarity).

Africa and Latin America

Africa and Asia

(Afro-Asia solidarity)

The President has played a major role in ensuring that the African developmental agenda is humanity’s agenda. His input in the Berlin; Commonwealth, Afro-Europe, G-77, Scandinavian, European, G-8 and Millennium Summits is internationally recognised.

After 6 years of democratic government, we can confidently say that we will not shy away from the role we must play in international affairs because of fears of being accused of being a "big brother".

Chairperson, conflicts are inextricably linked to underdevelopment, therefore, the African developmental Agenda cannot be achieved if there is no peace and stability on our continent.

Kofi Annan said "In intra-state conflicts in Africa, the main aim increasingly, is the destruction not only of armies but of civilians and entire ethnic groups. Preventing such wars is no longer a matter of defending states or protecting allies, it is a matter of defending humanity itself".

He was referring to the shocking reality that from Sierra Leone to Angola, from the streets of the DRC to Sudan, from the killing fields of Ethiopia and Eritrea, to the killing fields of Rwanda and Somalia, violent conflicts have become the scourge of our continent. We cannot accept the fact that over the past three decades over 8 million Africans have perished in the fires of ethnic and racial hatred, religious intolerance, political ambition and material greed. We cannot accept the fact that over 15 million refugees and displaced persons live in terrible conditions. This is the highest number of refugees anywhere in the world. We cannot accept the fact that landmines are indiscriminately planted, injuring and killing innocent citizens and that the infrastructure of many countries is systematically destroyed and their agricultural land laid to waste.

South Africa, as one of the relatively advanced developed countries in the African continent, has a responsibility to ensure that all our activities, in the context of the African Renaissance, is aimed to bring about peace and stability on the African continent.

The "Report of the Panel on U.N. Peace Operations (Brahimi report) and the U.N Secretary Generals Millennium report categorically underscore the need for all who are involved in Conflict Prevention and Development – the U.N., The Bretton Woods Institutions, Governments and Civil Society Organisations to address these challenges in a integratived comprehensive and holistic way".

To give meaning to this conclusion, we should look at some of the root causes of conflict.

Today Africa continues to grapple with the consequences of the slave trade, the Congress of Berlin in 1885. African kingdoms, states and communities were ruthlessly and artificually divided and unrelated areas and peoples were just as arbitrarily forced together. This period was characterised by the rape of Africa’s raw materials, the destruction of agriculture and domestic food security and the integration of Africa into the world economy as a poor and subservient participant; The consequences of colonialism and neo-colonialsim.

When the wave of decolonisation started in 1960, the newly independent states inherited this colonial legacy which impact on our attempts to achieve territorial integrity and national unity. This was made more difficult because many of the colonial institutions and laws that Africa inherited were designed to expoit the imposed divisions and create conditions for neo-colonialism.

During this latter period, our continent experienced :

One party states and military rule;

State controlled economies;

The creation of elite’s that thrived on corruption and the looting of the country’s resources;

Inadequate transportation, infrastructure development and communications systems;

Economies which were mainly based on extractive industries and primary commodities. Such economies did not require high levels of skills or education and therefore these were generally not provided.

At the end of the cold war "democratic anti-communist" or "socialist" states were simply deserted. Without the external political, military and economical support some African states could not sustain the undemocratic, neo-colonial systems, and their political hold on economic and political power. Violence became the instrument to achieve power and resources.

In conditions of abject poverty, a fertile ground for lack of democracy, and respect for human rights, lact of transparency, lack of proper checks and balances, lack of good governance the stakes become increasingly high. In many countries the over centralised and personalised form of government resulted in weak and dependent civil society, weak institutions of government and civil society, human rights violations and excessive corruption. And when, as it is the case of some countries, political parties are usually regionally or ethnically based and are the major source of employment, the problems are exacerbated. That is "ethnicity is politicised" and groups begin to believe that they have to capture state power, democratically or undemocratically, to survice not as a nation but as a group.

Another element of fuelling conflicts is the international competition for and the exploitation of Africa’s resources. Those genuinely commited to an African renewal must ensure that a new scramble for Africa does not take place.

Our problems are also compounded by the fact that "war is profitable". People in Africa and outside Africa who are making money out of war, have a financial interest to ensure that conflict continues.

An "integrated, comprehensive and holistic way" to eliminate conflicts and achieve sustainable development, demands that we answer some questions - why is Africa, which occupied such a place in the evolution of humanity, faced with the reality that despite our enormous potential and riches, a startling 33 of the 42 of the world’s poorest countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Why is it that in the majority of the African countries economic progress has performed so badly or declined?

Why has Africa lost its share of the world markets? Since the fifties, it fell from more than 3 % to less than 2 % in the mid 90’s and if South Africa is taken out of the equation, the figure of Africa’s contribution to world trade is a mere 1.2 %. Why has the cumulative terms of trade losses cost us almost 12 % of our GDP?

Why are so many of our countries still settled with severe debt problems? [In 1997 it was estimated to be 159 billion and in 1999 has increased to 201 billion dollars] and we are faced with the reality that outstanding external debts in many African countries exceed the entire GDP, and debt service requirements exceed 25 % of total export earnings. No HIPC country can achieve sustainable economic development if the debt issue is not resolved.

Why are we still faced with the reality that overseas development assistance has dropped more than one fifth in real terms since 1992?

Finally, why has Africa, failed to attract sufficient foreign investments? This, notwithstanding, the fact that many of our countries have taken steps to create a climate conducive to direct foreign investment and investments in Africa earn the highest earnings than anywhere else in the world - 29%.

What the media doesn’t report is that many countries have now put in place trade liberalization policies; the strengthening of the rule of law; improvements in legal and other instruments; greater investment in infrastructure development, privatization, greater accountability and transparency, greater degree of financial and budgetary discipline and the creation and consolidation of multi-party democracies. If we correctly and honestly answer these questions we will indeed make this the African Century.

Our search for answers can not ignore the legacy of the past which has contributed to what the World Bank and other studies found, viz, that Africa's economies are generally characterised by narrow commodity exports with little beneficiation of diversification, therefore highly vulnerable to market fluctuations and commodity prices. Primary markets limited to the North, to which African countries are highly dependent for their imports; large rurally based agricultural population, engaged in subsistence economy, alongside a weakly developed large urban based economy; weak macro-economic policies and management principles combined with low skills, low productivity, corruption and lack of regulatory frameworks, lack of reliable socio-economic data. Therefore, there is an unstable environment for sustainable economic growth and development; weak infrastructure in most sectors, interactive, industrial, manufacturing, services, socio-economic, legal, transport, communications and information technology. Majority have rurally based subsistence economies with under-developed agro-industrial sectors; land is often communally owned and characterized by poor infrastructure, environmental degradation with unsustainable energy resources.

Why faced with this reality are we confident that we can achieve an African Rennaisance?

"There exists within our continent a generation which has been victim to all things which created the negative past. This generation remains African and carries with it an historic pride which compels it to seek a place for Africans equal to all other peoples or a common universe … I believe that the new African generations have learned and are learning from the experiences of the past. I further believe that they are unwilling to continue to repeat the wrongs that have occurred" [President Mbeki].

Chairperson

Regional integration is a sine qua non for the continent’s renewal. Therefore SADC is the foundation on which we seek to make the 21st Century an African Century.

The aim of SADC is to create a Community providing for regional peace and security, sector cooperation and an integrated regional economy. As a regional institution it has laid the basis for regional planning and development in Southern Africa. SADC forms one of the building blocks of the African Economic Community (AEC).

Our vision for the Southern African region is one of the highest possible degree of economic cooperation, mutual assistance where necessary, and joint planning of regional development, development of basic infrastructure, the development of our human resources and the creation of the necessary capacity to drive this complicated process forward, as well as the urgent need for peace, democracy and good governance to be established throughout the region.

The countries of the Southern Africa region can achieve their full potential only through close cooperation in the exploitation of natural resources in a coordinated fashion, the pooling of technical expertise, the harmonisation of trade practices and the promotion of economies of scale. This is one of the principal tasks of the SADC.

The SADC Free Trade Protocol, implemented on the 1st September 2000 is an important step towards achieving integration. Other sub-regional groupings such as ECOWAS and COMESA have also accelerated their integration processes. This undoubtedly will open up new possibilities for sustainable development in the region and the continent.

The increased development of our common transport, electricity and telecommunications infrastructures will also accelerate the economic development of the continent.

Chairperson, the SADC Region does not function in isolation. In this regard it needs to form partnerships with the rest of the international community which will significantly increase its chances of success. Europe as an important partner has a major role to play. Europe’s share of the world’s GDP amounts to 25% and it accounts for 20% of world trade.

SA is a member of the 3-country steering committee driving the Berlin initiative, which strives to foster closer cooperation between the European Union and SADC. Priority issues that are included under this initiative are the consolidation of democracy in the Southern African region, combating illicit drug trafficking, clearance and landmines, regional integration, promotion of Trade and Investment and combating HIV/AIDS.

Chairperson, Africa’s commitment to peace and stability is reflected, inter alia, by

the decisions of the OAU Algiers Summit (July 1999). The Summit called for 2000 to be the year of peace; it condemned coups and decided to prevent any country, which had carried out a coup since 1997, from participating in the OAU; [the delegations of Cote d’ Ivoire and Comores were not allowed to participate in the last OAU Summit (Togo, July 2000) because of their unconstitutional change of government; The Summit agreed to systematically and concretely, tackle issues such as sustainable people-centred development, corruption, terrorism, international criminal syndicates and environmental degradation. It called for an extra-ordinary Summit of the OAU.

the decisions of the Extraordinary Summit of the OAU held in Sirte, Libya, which called for a frank assessment of the organisational structures and work of the OAU and the acceleration of the processes of the Abuja Treaty re African integration.

2.1 The Summit also agreed that peace and stability in our continent was essential to achieve our African renewal and it called for the convening of the Conference on Stability, Security, Development and Co-operation in Africa (CSSDCA).

The first African Ministerial meeting of the Conference on Stability, Security, Development and Co-operation in Africa (CSSDCA) met in Abuja from 8th to 9th May.


In its Declaration, Summit acknowledged the CSSDCA process as creating a synergy between the various activities currently undertaken by the OAU/AEC, which therefore should help to consolidate the work of the OAU/AEC in the areas of peace, security, stability, development and co-operation. In this regard, the CSSDCA should provide a policy development forum for the elaboration and advancement of common values within the main policy organs of the OAU/AEC.

In order to implement the CSSDCA within the framework of the OAU/AEC and to ensure the sustainability of the process, it was agreed that a Standing CSSDCA Conference would be established, to convene every two years during the Summit. The Meetings of Plenipotentiaries and Senior Officials will undertake review meetings in between Sessions of the Standing Conference. The Secretary General was requested to initiate internal administrative agreements for designating, within the OAU/AEC Secretariat, a unit to co-ordinate CSSDCA activities.

It was also agreed that discussions should be undertaken on the various Calabashes (Security, Stability, Development and Co-operation) in order to implement the CSSDCA process. The progress report on the CSSDCA process will be reviewed during the next Extra-Ordinary Summit in Sirte, Libya in 2001, and the conclusions of the discussions on the various Calabashes at the Summit in South Africa in 2002.

the decisions at the last OAU Summit (Togo) to establish an African Union and to initiate discussions on the formation of an African Parliament took the Sitre process further.

The African Union is a merging of the political and economic tasks confronting the OAU. The new structures are:

Assembly of Heads of State and Government which is the supreme organ. It will meet at least once a year. Chairman will be elected by the Summit.

Executive Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs or designated Ministers.

Specialised technical units. Composed of ministers and senior officials

Committee on Rural Economy and Agricultural matters

Committee on Monetary and Financial matters

Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration matters

3.4Committee on Industry, Science and technology, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment.

Committee on Transport, Communications and Tourism

Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs

Committee on Education, Culture and Human Resources.

Other institutions envisaged

Pan African Parliament

Court of Justice

Financial institutions

African Central Bank

African Monetary Bank

African Investment Bank

A secretariat of the Union

Permanent Representative of Committee of Ambassadors based in Addis Ababa

An advisory organisation on economic, social and cultural matters, composed of NGOs

CONCLUSION

BEN OKRI - AN AFRICAN EULOGY

"We are the miracles that God made to taste the bitter fruit of time. We are precious and one day our suffering will turn into the wonders of the earth". To make this dream come true what must we do?

I am reminded of what President Mbeki said at the historical 1st ever Africa-Europe Summit. "The Summit will have meaning only to the extent that all of us without exception, wage the struggle to end human suffering in Africa with the passionate intensity of the humanists who have given dignity to despised human beings, while others were happy to enclose themselves within the little worlds of selective and false fulfilment".

Our Foreign Policy objectives are to mobilise millions of people, in government and in civil society, into the trenches of the humanists. The solidarity movements we built in support of the struggle of the Vietnamese people, the struggle of the Palestinians and the Anti-Apartheid and Anti-Colonial struggles in Southern Africa are the foundation on which we must mobilise for the African Renewal. We must through concrete action make this our African Century. This is not only in Africa’s interest but of all humanity.

Africa’s time has come. The 21st Century must be the African Century.

Thank you

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa