Address at the Third African Renaissance
Festival, Durban, 31 March 2001
Premier of the Province
Our friends from the USA
As Africans, we are faced with the urgent challenge
of ending poverty and underdevelopment on our Continent.
This is a massive task that will take us some time to
The first objective we confront in this regard is that
we must ourselves take on the responsibility to answer
the question - what are the ways and means that we must
adopt to ensure that we achieve these objectives!
It is the poor themselves who must answer the question
- what should be done so that their poverty comes to
an end permanently.
They must themselves be responsible for the answers
to this question so that they recognise the obligation
to themselves to take such actions as may result from
the answers they will have provided themselves.
I trust that your discussions during this Third African
Renaissance Festival does indeed make an important contribution
to the search for these answers, given that as these
intellectuals you speak for a continent characterised
by poverty and underdevelopment.
Necessarily, as we work to get these answers, we will
have to proceed from the position that we will have
to place our answers within the context of the constraints
and possibilities imposed on us by contemporary global
Accordingly, I would like to state some of these constraints
and possibilities as I see them, in as stark a manner
Liberal democracy, capitalism and globalisation constitute
some of the principal defining features of the modern
The most outstanding examples of the success of these
political and economic systems are the countries of
the North, also generally referred to as 'the West'.
Together they account for a relatively small minority
of the population of the world.
At the same time, these countries dispose of the largest
volume of economic, scientific, technological, communication,
military and other resources available for the development
and management of human society as a whole.
Accordingly, with regard to these categories, they
constitute the decisive and independent centre of the
universe of human society.
An argument can also be advanced that this dominance
gives these countries that constitute the centre, the
possibility to play the decisive role with regard even
to such matters as the cultures and value systems of
the countries of the hinterland.
For example, without doubt, the controversial scenes
shown in a recent episode of Yizo Yizo became possible
only because theatre, cinema, television and now the
Internet, in the countries of the centre, had already
opened the way by creating an atmosphere permissive
of the public propagation of such scenes.
What is considered as the appropriate balance among
such matters as unacceptable pornography, the inalienable
right to freedom of expression and the obligation to
respect social norms will, in many circumstances, be
determined according to the view prevailing in the countries
of the centre.
Similarly, during the final voting round, the matter
of who should host the 2006 Soccer World Cup was decided
not on the basis of competence successfully to host
the tournament and the basic values of fairness and
justice, but on the balance of brute power as between
the centre and the hinterland.
As we have said, around this centre there exists a
hinterland, a periphery that, to one extent or another,
is dependent on the centre for its progress, consistent
with the needs of the centre.
At the same time, the centre has to access the periphery
to supply its needs, consistent with the imperatives
of its own mode of existence.
Accordingly the centre, itself caught in a never-ending
process of change, determines the principal content
of the ideas, the culture and the social relations of
human society, both for itself and for its periphery
and in its own interest.
At the same time, the hinterland is also engaged in
a permanent and corollary process of the transformation
of its own ideas, culture and social relations, among
other things, seeking to guarantee that it does not
get disconnected, disengaged and detached from the centre.
This manner of proceeding is necessitated by the fact
that, by definition, the centre sets the rules of behaviour
in the global village and reserves for itself the right
to decide what the correct outcomes should be. This
includes the right to change these rules and correct
outcomes, consistent with the interests of the centre.
The hinterland has to respect this 'free will' of the
centre because the latter has the means to impose sanctions
against those who step out of line, while, in the main,
the hinterland has no choice but to fall in line with
what the centre demands.
As South Africans, you might want to apply the centre
vs hinterland paradigm we have been speaking of to our
own domestic situation.
This might help all of us to understand the circumstances
according to which a few believe that they have the
right and duty to set the rules and define the desirable
outcomes, while the task of the majority is to do as
they are told.
The centre of which we have spoken occupies specific
and discrete geographic and other spaces. Geographically,
these might be described as North America, Western Europe
The discrete geographic, historical and other spaces
these countries and regions of the centre occupy leads
to a relative differentiation of its responses and interaction
with the various component parts of the periphery, depending
also on the geographic and other spaces these parts
To illustrate this, we will now give one or two examples
about what the European Union, as a specific and discrete
part of the centre, might do with regard to specific
and discrete parts of the hinterland.
Analytically, we must understand that bloc behaviour
does not necessarily mean that each individual member
of the bloc behaves in the same aggregate manner towards
the hinterland, as does the collective bloc.
I am certain that all of us agree that the European
Union (EU) is one such specific and discrete segment
of 'the West'.
Two of the other geographic zones to which it is
connected and to which it must respond are Central
and Eastern Europe (CEE).
Strategically, this region poses four principal issues
of concern and interest to the EU. These are:
the existence of nuclear and other weapons of mass
destruction in this region, together with their delivery
the threat of mass population migration from CEE into
the EU as a result of underdevelopment, poverty and
the possible impact of sophisticated CEE criminal syndicates
on the social systems and quality of life of the EU
community of nations; and,
the growing relevance of the CEE markets as an important
factor in the growth of the EU economies.
These factors are of such a nature that, to guarantee
its own future, the EU cannot but have a strategic interest
in the future of the countries of Central and Eastern
Accordingly and of necessity, it pursues definite policy
objectives towards the CEE which include:
working to ensure political and economic stability
in the countries of this region, underpinned by the
entrenchment of a liberal democratic political order;
working to ensure that the capitalist economies of this
region have the capacity to address the needs of the
population, thus discouraging emigration to the more
prosperous EU region, while ensuring the 'proper' management
of the exploitation and displ of the natural resources
to be found among the countries of the former Soviet
working to ensure that the governance structures and
systems of the CEE have the capacity to work for these
objectives, including the containment of organised crime;
working to ensure that the weapons of mass destruction
existing in the CEE region no longer pose a threat to
the EU and 'the West' as a whole.
The EU therefore works to implement a detailed and comprehensive
programme of action focused on ensuring the achievement
of these policy objectives.
Necessarily, the pursuit of these objectives and other
factors, result in the stronger EU playing a decisive
role in determining the evolving ideas, culture and
social relations of the CEE countries. The latter, seemingly
in their own interest, strive to model themselves according
to the prescriptions laid down by the former.
Another region with which the EU must interact is Africa.
For reasons that will be clear shortly, for our present
purposes, we must distinguish North Africa from Sub-Saharan
With regard to the former, the principal strategic
objective pursued by the EU is to ensure that legal
and illegal economic migrants into the EU who would
significantly change the demographic composition of
at least some of the member states of the EU do not
The principal tradeable commodity from this area, necessary
for the EU economies, is oil. However, this constitutes
a small part of the total consumption of hydrocarbons
by the EU. In strategic terms, it is therefore of marginal
importance to the health of the EU economy.
This region of Africa is also relevant to the issue
of peace in the Middle East, in which the EU has a strategic
interest. Its importance in this regard would not have
the same weight as other Arab countries in the Middle
Sub-Saharan Africa supplies the EU with a significant
volume of agricultural and mineral raw materials as
well as gold and diamonds. Like the northern part of
the Continent, the southern part also exports oil to
There is also a noticeable flow of economic migrants
into the EU especially from West Africa.
Relative to Sub-Saharan Africa, the only issue of strategic
importance to the EU is that there should be no interruption
to the supply of raw materials into its markets.
The reality, of course, is that, currently, none of
these raw materials are of any use to the countries
that produce them, except as exports.
Accordingly, nothing has to be done by the EU to guarantee
their continued flow, precisely because the producing
countries understand that without these exports, they
will sink even deeper into poverty, underdevelopment
In that sense, it must be assumed that they will themselves
take all necessary measures, in their own interest,
to ensure that supplies into the EU markets are not
The additional reality is that with regard to their
own raw materials, the Sub-Saharan countries do not
dispose of the bargaining power that members of OPEC
enjoy with regard to oil.
The net result of all this is that, essentially, the
EU does not have the same obligation and need to elaborate
a policy towards Africa, as it had to with regard to
Central and East Europe, in the aftermath of the collapse
of the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries.
Its response to the imperatives Africa faces as part
of the global hinterland, are driven by considerations
of conscience and guilt rather than fundamental necessities
to which it must respond, in its own strategic interest.
The EU also includes all our former colonial powers,
as a result of which we even continue to have such geopolitical
entities as Francophone, Anglophone and Lusophone Africa.
In the past, this has provided the basis to argue in
favour of a special EU responsibility towards Africa.
However, more recently, representatives of the EU have
stated the matter plainly that "the post-colonial
period is over" and that, as Africans, we must
take responsibility for our successes and failures.
I believe that, as Africans, we must accept that in
taking these positions, the EU is taking perfectly rational
positions that are themselves immanent within the dominant
contemporary liberal democratic and capitalist social
order that is also characterised and is further entrenched
by the objective process of globalisation.
As we all agree, the modern world is characterised
by deep inequalities.
On this matter, the UNDP Human Development Report of
1999 has this to say:
"Global integration is proceeding at breakneck
speed and with amazing reach. But the process is uneven
and unbalanced, with uneven participation of countries
and people in the expanding opportunities of globalisation
- in the global economy, in global technology, in the
global spread of cultures and in global governance.
The new rules of globalisation - and the players writing
them - focus on integrating global markets, neglecting
the needs of people that markets cannot meet. The process
is concentrating power and marginalising the poor, both
countries and people." (p30.)
The following statistics illustrate what the UNDP means
when it writes of a globalisation process that is 'uneven
As at the end of 1997, the countries of the North held
68% of the world stock of foreign direct investment.
The equivalent figure for Africa was 1.9%.
The market capitalisation of the emerging markets,
the strongest among the countries of the South, accounted
for 9% of the world's total market capitalisation.
In the period 1990-1996, the OECD countries accounted
for over 70% of global exports of goods and services.
The equivalent figure for Sub-Saharan Africa was less
As the last century came to its close, the high-income
countries had 506 telephone connections per 1000 people
compared to 16 for Sub-Saharan Africa.
The figures for Internet hosts stood at 375 per 10
000 people in the high-income and 2 per 10 000 people
in African Sub-Saharan countries respectively.
At this time, with regard to the important issue of
research and development, 3 316 patent applications
were filed in Canada, as compared to 6 in Zambia.
Reflective of this historical tendency, in the same
period, 31% of French manufactured exports were high
technology goods, while these constituted 2% of exports
The infrastructure imbalance is dramatically represented
by the fact that 91% of the roads in high-income countries
are paved, as against about 16% in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Add to this the particular additional constraint that
faces us as Africans, arising out of our history over
the last forty years or so.
That history has created an image of our Continent
as one that is naturally prone to wars, military coups
and dictatorship, denial of human rights, corruption,
permanent dependence on aid and humanitarian assistance,
and, more recently, an AIDS pandemic caused, it is said,
by rampant sexual promiscuity and endemic amorality.
Add yet another particular additional constraint -
a perception of ourselves, of Africa and Africans, in
terms of a deeply entrenched racist stereotype.
The US scholar, Henry Louis Gates Jr tells an interesting
story about the outstanding painter, Pablo Picasso.
In 1907, Picasso visited the Museum of Ethnography
in Paris and became engrossed in viewing African art
Later Picasso said:
"At that moment I realised what painting was all
about. Painting isn't an aesthetic operation; it's a
form of magic designed to be a mediator between this
strange, hostile world and us, a way of seizing the
power by giving form to our terrors as well as our desires.
When I came to that realisation, I knew had found my
way. Then people began looking at those objects in terms
(Henry Louis Gates Jr, in "Africa: The Art of
a Continent": ed Tom Phillips, Royal Academy of
Arts, London, 1996.)
And yet, later, Picasso is quoted as having said:
" African art? Never heard of it!" (Gates
Henry Louis Gates Jr comments that:
"It is impossible to separate (Picasso's) anxiety
about (African) influence (on his art). From Europe's
larger anxiety about the mask of blackness itself, about
an aesthetic relation to virtually an entire continent
that it represented as a prime site of all that Europe
was not and did not wish to be, at least from the late
Renaissance and the Enlightenment." (Gates op cit.)
The question that arises from this is how will we,
who belong to the African periphery, and require the
support of Europe to succeed, convince Europe to support
an entire continent that, according to Gates, is 'a
prime site of all that Europe was not and did not wish
Bear in mind also what we said before, that objectively
Europe has no need to elaborate any specific policy
towards our Continent, given that it has no strategic
need to do so.
To take the first tentative steps towards answering
the question - what is to be done - let us step back
into a past that is well known to all of us.
For centuries, the Western world has treated Africa,
especially sub-Saharan Africa, as a source of cheap
labour and raw materials.
Necessarily, this has meant the export of wealth from
Africa rather than its expansion within the Continent.
Where there has been an infusion of wealth - in the
form of investment - this was to generate larger volumes
of wealth for export.
The period of slavery constituted a massive export
of cheap labour itself, for use as a virtually cost-free
factor of production.
For Africa, this represented a very big loss of human
capital and therefore the severe undermining of the
capacity of the African communities to generate wealth.
In a very real sense, the enrichment of the West was
predicated on the impoverishment of Africa.
Colonialism sought to achieve the same objective by:
obtaining mineral and agricultural raw materials at
as low a cost as possible;
using cheap local labour to produce these commodities;
preserving the African markets as exclusively as possible
for products from the colonising country.
Again, this does not strengthen the capacity of the
African countries to expand their economies, with a
lot of economic activity in these countries being enclaves
that are mere extensions of the economies of the metropolitan
The destruction of productive capacity in the African
colonies is clearly illustrated by the decline in domestic
agricultural production except for cash crops.
Accordingly, many African countries suffer from food
deficits and have become net food importers.
The post-colonial period has not changed this situation
Indeed, diversion of resources away from wealth creation
accelerates in the post-colonial period, as more resources
are needed to finance the new state machinery and to
meet the pressing social needs of the people.
Employment in the public sector serves as an incentive
for people to move away especially from agricultural
activities, seeking public sector, urban service jobs.
The net effect of all this has been the entrenchment
of a downward vicious circle, confirming Africa's peripheral
and diminishing role in the world economy.
The more the African countries acted as a source of
raw materials and cheap labour, the less capable they
became of breaking out of this mould.
This has also confirmed a frame of mind about Africa
the Continent has no place in the world economy except
as a supplier of raw materials;
there is no requirement that the Continent should have
access to modern technology and contemporary human skills;
such socio-economic problems as the Continent faces
should be contained within Africa and addressed as welfare
no contribution to human civilisation can be expected
from Africa except in the fields of the performing and
plastic arts and the natural habitat; and,
the Continent has no major role to play in the global
system of governance.
The reality that has accumulated over many centuries
is that Africa is defined as, of necessity, the marginalised.
This determination leads to actions that result in
the further marginalisation of the Continent.
The more this succeeds, the more difficult it becomes
to reverse this process of marginalisation. This difficulty
includes the generation of significant resources from
the Continent itself to reverse this process.
Necessarily, in this situation, the hopes of Africa's
peoples for a better future begin to rest on the magnanimity
This transforms the objective dis-empowerment of the
African people into a subjective acceptance by these
people of the view that they are incapable of empowerment.
Thus they become less and less capable of acting as
conscious and purposeful actors for their own emancipation
from dependence, poverty and underdevelopment.
To bring this human tragedy to its end, it is necessary
that the peoples of Africa gain the conviction that
they are not, and must not be wards of benevolent guardians,
but instruments of their own sustained upliftment.
Critical to this is the knowledge by these peoples
that they have a unique and valuable contribution to
make to the advancement of human civilisation, that
despite everything we have said, Africa has a strategic
place in the global community.
Despite our negative past over the last few centuries,
it is both possible and necessary to ensure that Africa
enjoys a positive and optimistic future.
The starting point is the same material base that resulted
in Africa becoming a marginalised Continent.
Africa's strategic place in the global community is
defined by the fact that the Continent is an indispensable
resource base that serves all humanity, as it has done
for many centuries.
That resource base can be broken down into three components.
(Component I): the rich complex of minerals and plants
that can be found throughout the continent;
(Component II): the ecological lung provided by the
Continent's rain forests and the virtual absence of
emissions and effluents that harm the global environment;
(Component III): the paleontological and archaeological
sites containing evidence of the evolution of the earth,
life and the human species; the natural habitats containing
a wide variety of flora and fauna; and, the open uninhabited
spaces that are aature of the Continent.
The first of these, Component I, is the one with which
the world is most familiar. Below, we will discuss its
importance and role in the Africa we all seek to build.
The second, Component II, has come to the fore only
recently, as humanity came to understand the critical
importance of the issue of the environment.
The third of these, Component III, is only now coming
into its own, emerging from its being of relevance merely
to a narrow field of science and a matter of interest
to museums and their curators.
We must proceed to describe the role and place of each
of these three components in the context of the global
But before we do this, we must address the important
question of how this resource base gets transformed
from a neutral fact of objective reality into a material
base for the upliftment of the African Continent.
The subjective transformation of Africans into a sub-human
species of humanity constitutes a complex process that
covered many centuries.
All of us face the critical challenge to accept that,
historically, this ideological transformation of the
Africans did happen, without seeking to attach value-laden
blame and judgement against and to anybody.
The dogma, consigning the Africans to a lower plateau
in the human hierarchy, understood as self-evident truth,
created the possibility for those who considered themselves
to be superior to the Africans, principally the Europeans,
to treat the Africans as natural inferiors.
When superior technology, better organisation and anti-human
convictions enabled the Europeans to defeat the Africans
and seize them as slaves, the objective success of these
Europeans confirmed for them the correctness of their
subjective conviction of the inferiority of the Africans.
Further, the apparent submission of the Africans to
the domination of the victors proved the point to the
Europeans that they had the natural right to exercise
absolute authority over the Africans.
All African rebellions in these circumstances, historically
destined to fail, served as an affirmation of the self-evident
truth that the black could never vanquish the white.
Each failed uprising confirmed that even with the resort
to force by the black against the white, the predestined
and fixed relationship between superior and inferior,
between dominant and dominated, between master and servant,
could not be altered.
Thus, for some time, history inherited a powerful motive
force of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The only thing that could deny or disprove the prophecy
was practical proof of the falsity of the prophecy -
a human demonstration, specifically for the master,
that the servant becomes as human as the master when
he or she ceases to be a servant.
To achieve this result, the Africans had to rise against
European colonisation, and succeed.
The sustained success of the rebellion, and not the
fact of the rebellion, however heroic, was the critical
factor that would destroy the superstition that there
was a natural order of things that dictated that white
should be superior and black inferior.
The possibility of the Africans to govern themselves
and the independent countries that became their political
homes as a result of the rebellion, created the capacity
to use the resources of the Continent not as an incentive
to others to colonise the Continent.
It made possible the use of these resources as the
means to be used to benefit the native population.
With political power having passed from the colonial
countries to the formerly colonised, a heavy burden
fell on the shoulders of the formerly colonised.
They had to prove that they could discharge their functions
in a manner than would address the interests of the
formerly oppressed African masses.
This had to be done in a situation in which the foreign
powers saw the defence of their continuing interests
in the now independent states as an essential part of
their 'national interest'.
This national interest was also defined by the reality
of the cold war generated by East-West competition and
It was therefore in the interest of the former colonisers
and other dominant players in the global community that
the newly independent states should not be so strong
that they become truly independent players.
Rather, it was desired that they should not have the
ability to act in a manner that would threaten the residual
'national interest' of the metropolitan powers, as well
as fall into a 'wrong ideological bloc', in the context
of the East-West conflict.
This created the situation in which the dominant powers
were prepared to live with malpractice in the former
colonies, provided that this guaranteed the protection
of their interests, widely defined.
It also obliged these powers consciously to strive
to entrench the continuing dependence on themselves
of the independent African states, to ensure that the
strategic objective of securing this guarantee was achieved.
Given their relative weakness, many of these independent
states had very limited possibilities to be anything
The more dependent they became; the more secure the
interests of the dominant powers became; the more entrenched
the historical view became, that the Africans belonged
to a lower order of humanity.
Accordingly, the pursuit of their interests by the
dominant powers led to a situation in which the fact
of the independence of the former African colonies meant
that these now independent countries would not have
the possibility to harness African resources for Africa's
This enhanced the necessity for the metropolitan countries
to provide aid for the former dependencies, further
entrenching the dependence of the African peoples on
the erstwhile colonial powers.
For the peoples of Africa the absence of sustained
indigenous development meant continuing suffering, including
the persistence of state measures focussed on ensuring
that these suffering masses did not rise up against
their new rulers.
Ironically, for the developed countries, this meant
that the seemingly endemic instability of the African
countries threatened the achievement of their strategic
securing their economic interests in Africa; and,
guaranteeing the political allegiance of the African
This leads us to the identification of a strategic objective
that is of crucial importance both for Africa and the
rest of the world.
This is that Africa needs a political order and system
of governance that would:
be legitimate and enjoy the support and loyalty of
the African masses;
be strong enough to defend and advance the sovereign
interests of these masses;
help to address the fundamental development interests
of these masses; and,
have the capacity to ensure the achievement of these
objectives, including interacting with the various global
processes that characterise the world economy.
The benefit of this to Africa is self-evident.
It is also important to the rest of the global community
because it would ensure that stable and predictable
conditions exist in Africa, rationally to order the
sustained interaction of the rest of the world with
the globally strategic African resource base.
This is also critical for the rest of the world because
it would constitute a major blow against both the global
grey economy and global organised crime, bearing in
mind the fact of the globalisation of both these phenomena.
To address the challenge of poverty, underdevelopment
and marginalisation, Africa and the rest of the international
community need to ensure that Africa takes the next
step in her political evolution.
This refers to the evolutionary movement:
from slavery to colonial subjugation;
from colonial subjugation to neo-colonial dependence;
from neo-colonial dependence to genuine independence
It is only under the conditions of the latter that Africa
and the world will succeed in its efforts to defeat
In its own interest, the African Continent itself has
to organise itself such that:
democracy and respect for human rights prevails, underwritten
by the necessary constitutional, legislative and institutional
conditions are created to end all resort to measures
that lead to civil and interstate wars, including strengthening
Africa's capacity for the prevention, mediation and
resolution of conflicts;
there exists a system of governance, with the necessary
capacity, to ensure that the state is able to discharge
its responsibilities with regard to such matters as
development, democracy and popular participation, human
rights and respect for the rule law and appropriate
responses to the process of globalisation.
Realistic, country-specific programmes must be worked
out to achieve these and other related goals.
The international support programme focused on this
be based on these country-specific programmes;
seek to build a truly indigenous capacity within each
deliberately avoid to use such support to create relations
of dependence on the part of such countries as would
receive international support; and,
give resources to such regional and continental initiatives
as may be necessary to improve effectiveness in this
As we have said, which all of us know, Africa is rich
in agricultural, mineral and aquatic raw materials that
have been exploited for centuries for the benefit of
These must be used to develop Africa's economies and
This would be possible only if value is added to these
natural resources so that they are traded with the rest
of the world as processed products rather than raw materials.
The necessary economic measures and policies would
therefore have to be undertaken:
to attract domestic and foreign investment into the
extractive sector of the economy;
to attract domestic and foreign investment into the
sector that would process the raw materials;
to facilitate access of the value added products into
the markets of the developed countries; and,
otherwise to make all products from this value chain
internationally competitive, whether as consumer products
or as intermediate capital goods. (Obviously, this should
not be taken to be an argument for the prohibition of
the export of unprocessed raw materials from Africa.
It is a proposal to use Africa's resource base both
to develop Africa and to meet the needs of the global
Objectively, given their access to the most advanced
technology in existence and their cost disadvantage
relative to the hinterland with regard to some products,
the countries of the centre should not treat what we
have said as a threat.
It does not make any economic sense for them to seek
to protect production in their countries of agricultural
products, clothing and textiles, steel and other products
that can be produced more efficiently in the countries
of the hinterland.
In addition, a qualitative expansion of the world economy
that would also be of enormous benefit to the countries
of the centre can only occur if the billions of people
in the world who are poor and constitute the majority
of humanity, have larger and increasing disposable incomes.
These can only come from heightened economic activity
represented by increased production by and much better
market access for the countries of the hinterland.
Africa also has an important role to play with regard
to the critical issue of the protection of the global
It is necessary to conduct a comprehensive study properly
to assess the environmental resources Africa has, for
the benefit both of the Continent and the rest of the
These would relate to such issues as the ozone layer;
climate change; air, water and oceanic pollution; sanitary
and phyto-sanitary questions; and the expansion of knowledge
about the environment.
These resources include:
the African rain forests;
the virtually carbon-dioxide free atmosphere above the
African Continent; and,
the absence of toxic effluents in the rivers and soils
that interact with the Indian and Atlantic Oceans and
the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
The Africa development strategy should indicate:
how these environmental assets can be turned into tradable
what investments should be made to ensure that these
environmental resources are not destroyed?
For instance, it is obvious that unless poor people
in the vicinity of the tropical forests are offered
an alternative means of earning a living, they will
cooperate in the destruction of these forests.
Similarly, African governments will permit logging
companies to do the same, if this is only economic activity
that would enable them to help provide a livelihood
for their people.
Appropriate measures would also have to be taken to
ensure that the developed countries do not take advantage
of Africa's impoverishment to use the Continent as a
target for the dumping of toxic waste.
Historically, the development of technology has resulted
in a continuous change in the relationship between humans
and the tools they use.
While facilitating the greater mastery over nature
by human beings, this technological development has
also continuously changed the relationship between humans
and their tools, with the tools assuming the dominant
position in the interaction.
This has tended to emphasise the role of human beings
as factors of production, competing for their place
in the production process with their contemporary or
Modern technology has exacerbated this tendency, resulting
in the atomisation of people and the erosion of the
sense of community.
As the possibility for individual material improvement
has changed for the better in the developed countries,
the possibility for the all-round human fulfilment of
these individuals has declined very rapidly.
Critical to this decline is the rupture in the link
between human beings and the natural world.
This link is important because it enables the materially
successful citizen of the developed world to break with
the highly ordered, organised and impersonal world of
modern technology and organisation.
When these citizens turn their backs on this human-made
world, for a short holiday period during the year, they
depart from a world that depersonalises them and denies
them their humanity.
As this humanity, their most basic instincts inform
them that, fundamentally, they are part of the natural
rather than the human-made order of things.
Being part of this natural order of things frees them
from domination by technology and the rhythm this technology
imposes on them.
It liberates them too from the human, hierarchical
command structure this technology, and the related social
Freely interacting with nature, they become human beings
once again, equal with any other human being, with equal
dominion over nature and themselves.
The restoration of the sense of their own humanity
becomes a critically important factor in stopping these
materially successful human beings from being socially
dysfunctional human beings.
For some time, political economy has recognised that
recreation will be an increasingly important part of
human civilisation as technology reduces the obligation
on human beings to work.
The African development strategy must recognise the
fact that technological development not only creates
the time for recreation, but also the imperative for
recreation, without which technological development
will create the forces for its own destruction.
What this means is that:
tourism in Africa should be treated as a critical corollary
of modern scientific and technological development;
the African land and sea flora and fauna typical of
undeveloped Africa should be preserved and protected
as a global resource;
ways and means should be found to ensure that the peoples
of Africa actively contribute to the achievement of
this latter objective, including the protection of the
animal species to be found on the Continent; and,
steps should be taken to generate the necessary domestic
and foreign capital to create the tourism infrastructure
that would both preserve the resource and satisfy the
necessary human need that is addressed by the availability
of this resource.
What all this means is that tourism in Africa should
be developed as a permanent feature of the African economy,
of benefit to Africans, the rest of the world and Africa's
resources in flora and fauna.
As the place of the origin of all humanity, Africa
has an unequalled role to play as a valued place for
the affirmation of the common humanity of all humanity,
regardless of race, colour or nationality, as confirmed
by the recent scientific disclosures about the human
She has the possibility to be a place of celebration
of the unique identity and sanctity of each human being,
regardless of gender.
Her history, her culture, her works of art has a possibility
to communicate the message that none need think that
anyone of us is anything other than part of one interdependent
Africa's ancient history, which encompasses the formation
of the earth itself, the emergence and evolution of
life and human life, of human society and the arts,
of mathematics, science, architecture and medicine,
must also say to us as Africans that they lied those
who said that we are less than human.
Everything we have said so far points to the fact that
extraordinary measures will have to be taken to train
the necessary numbers of Africans to participate in
the reconstruction and development programme represented
by this strategy.
These are required for the public and the private sectors;
as scientists, engineers and technicians; and as managers
The capacity has to be created within the Continent,
possibly on a regional basis, to ensure that this need
is met on a continuous and dynamic basis from within
the African Continent itself.
More generally, we have to consider expenditure on
human resource development not as a cost that we must
minimise, but as a critical investment that must be
Accordingly, we must give pride of place to issues
of expenditure on health and education as a necessary
condition for success in everything we have to do.
Clearly, we cannot afford the situation according to
which millions of our people are disempowered from becoming
productive citizens by debilitating disease and ignorance.
The African development strategy requires that a strong
and evolving base of information and scientific inquiry
be established to ensure that all programmes are properly
executed and all possibilities fully exploited.
The human, material and institutional base will therefore
have to be established, with a strong emphasis on regional
and continental co-operation, to ensure that this happens.
The African development programme we have sought to
detail will never succeed unless Africa bridges the
digital divide generally and particularly with regard
to the context of the specific development projects,
whatever their nature.
Accordingly, the development of the telecommunications
infrastructure and ensuring Africa's access to information
technology is a vital sector on which the Africa strategy
must focus, in a comprehensive manner.
Once more, means will have to be found to attract the
necessary domestic and foreign investment to enable
the development of this sector.
Needless to say, the challenge to attract larger inflows
of capital into our Continent also signifies that we
must take all necessary measures to encourage our own
domestic African investors to invest in Africa, rather
than contribute to the flight of capital out of Africa.
Similarly, an urgent solution must be found to the
absurdity according to which Africa becomes a net exporter
of capital to the countries of the centre, as a result
of the intolerable and unserviceable debt burden that
many African countries have to carry.
What we have been speaking of requires that things
be done that go beyond the ordinary.
One of these is that we should treat the critical matter
of Africa's development and reconstruction as a challenge
that faces not only our governments and the African
elites, but also the masses of our people.
Accordingly, we must seek to ensure that whatever we
say as Africa's intelligentsia and leadership, we communicate
this to the ordinary people of our Continent. Thus should
they be empowered to speak out about what they want
for themselves, their countries and Continent? And thus
will they be enabled to participate in the struggle
to emancipate themselves from poverty, underdevelopment
Similarly, the leadership of the countries of the centre
has an obligation itself to think and act beyond the
demands of the moment.
This leadership must understand that it has an unprecedented
opportunity to act in a manner that would help to release
resources that exist within human society, which would
ensure that poverty is eradicated throughout the world.
The mass demonstrations in Seattle during the WTO conference,
the global campaign for the cancellation of the African
debt and other demonstrations demanding an end to global
social and economic processes that perpetuate poverty
indicate that many among the masses of the people in
the countries of the centre understand the imperative
to return to the values of internationalism and human
It is in our interest that we reach out to these masses.
But first of all, we must ourselves answer the question
- what are the ways and means that we must adopt to
ensure that we extricate the African masses from poverty
The 1999-2000 70th Annual Report of the Bank for International
Settlements makes the following observation:
"Africa's basic structural weakness (i.e. its
low degree of integration in the world economy and excessive
reliance on agriculture and exports of primary commodities)
has made its macroeconomic performance relatively insensitive
to changes in global demand conditions but highly vulnerable
to terms-of-trade movements. In addition, because of
poor governance, a rudimentary financial structure and
low saving, the resistance to domestic shocks is weak
and, as a result, variations in growth rates across
countries are typically much larger than for other groups
of emerging market economies."
It is to this bleak situation that we must respond.
I trust that your interaction during this weekend will
move us forward towards the transformation of Africa
away from this situation and towards the accomplishment
of the objective of an end to poverty and underdevelopment.
I wish you success in your important work.