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-Generals
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: "Africas 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 Africas 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
SAs postapartheid 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."
Historically, and especially in the post-colonial period,
our leaders in Africa spoke of Africas 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 Africas 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 cant 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 Africas
success. South Africa generally, and the Department
of Foreign Affairs specifically, have an historical
duty to put the renewal of Africa on the international
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 $60 billion.
According to the 1999 U.N. Human Development Report,
more than 80 countries have per capita incomes that
are lower than they were a decade or more ago. Since
1990, 55 countries, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern
Europe and the former Soviet Union have had declining
per capita incomes.
The income gap between the fifth of the worlds
people living in the richest countries and the fifth
in the poorest was 74 to 1 in 1997, up from 60 to 1
This richest fifth accounted for 86% of the Worlds
GDP while the bottom fifth shared 1 %.
Kofi Annan Millennium report states that : "nearly
half the worlds population still has to make do
on less than 2$ 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"
Africas 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 1980s to 16% in 1990s.
A number of Africas poor have grown relentlessly
and Africas share of the worlds absolute poor
increased from 25% to 30% in the 1990s.
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
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 worlds 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
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
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
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
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 worlds 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
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 worlds
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
Therefore an important objective of our foreign policy
is the transformation of multilateral institutions.
In the 1930s, the attitude of "Im not
my brothers 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
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
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 Organisations
goals and programmes.
Specifically in relation to Africa the Summit resolved
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.
The South African Government is accused of "punching
beyond its weight", and the President is accused
of "globe-trotting and ignoring SAs problems".
We cant 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
Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa (Afro-Arab
Africa and Latin America
Africa and Asia
The President has played a major role in ensuring that
the African developmental agenda is humanitys
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
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 Africas 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 elites that thrived on corruption
and the looting of the countrys 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 Africas
resources. Those genuinely commited to an African renewal
must ensure that a new scramble for Africa does not
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 worlds
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 90s and if South Africa is
taken out of the equation, the figure of Africas
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
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 doesnt 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
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"
Regional integration is a sine qua non for the continents
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 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. Europes share
of the worlds 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, Africas 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
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
The African Union is a merging of the political and
economic tasks confronting the OAU. The new structures
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
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
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
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 Africas interest
but of all humanity.
Africas time has come. The 21st Century must
be the African Century.