Address by Minister Dlamini Zuma to the University of Alverta on 22 March 2002 on the New Partnership for Africa's Development

Your Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta

President and Vice Chancellor

Friends of Africa

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen


It is an honour and pleasure for us to address this gathering today because the citizens of Canada joined others in the rest of the world to support the decolonisation of our continent. The most difficult and protracted struggle was against apartheid, which we defeated by means of determined mobilization by the anti-apartheid movement and it is thanks to all of you that I can stand before you today as the democratically-elected representative of the people of South Africa. I say this because you realised that as long as that most pernicious

crime against humanity, the system of apartheid, existed and was practiced in South Africa, your own humanity was violated.

With great foresight, Kwame Nkrumah, one of the finest sons of Africa, proclaimed on 6 March 1959 to the whole world that "the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked with the total liberation of the African continent". Immediately, the beating of drums

sent this message across rivers, mountains, forests and plains. The people heard and acted. One after another, new African states came into being, and the African personality rose above the horizon. African statesmen went to the United Nations; Africans proudly wore the

ancient regalia of their ancestral land; Africans stood and spoke for Africans".

This spirit of optimism on the continent quickly gave way to the gloomy Cold War era, with the emergence of military coups and dictatorships and one party states. Resources that were supposed to feed the children of Africa were plundered and pillaged and often diverted to

foreign banks by a selfish African elite. The continent was gripped by a depressing state of conflict, poverty and disease. Women were treated as beasts of burden, with wood on the head, child on the back and a bucket of water in hand. Children died of malnutrition and preventable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, measles and, more recently AIDS/HIV. Africa was dubbed the Hopeless Continent.

Fortunately, as the century came to a close, a critical core of progressive leadership on the continent refused to accept these conditions as the defining features of our continent. Historians and scientists agree that Africa was the cradle of humanity and at the origin of

civilization. Today African leaders draw strength from the knowledge that Africa’s works of art date back thousands of years. Our fine arts encompass the varied artistic creations of the Nubians and the Egyptians, the Benin bronzes of Nigeria and the intricate sculptures of

the Makonde of Tanzania and Mozambique. We also know that the Christians of Ethiopia and the Muslims of Nigeria sparked the evolution of religious thought.

Africans marvel at their architectural monuments such as the giant sculptured stones of Aksum in Ethiopia, the Egyptian sphinxes and pyramids, the Tunisian city of Carthage, the Monomotapo ruins and the legacy of the ancient universities of Alexandria in Egypt, Fez in

Morocco, Timbuktu in Mali.

Africans have now chosen to act together to change the lot of their continent. They insist on taking the destiny of their continent into their own hands. They are hard at work to actualize the dream of Marcus Garvey, Du Bois, Abdul Nasser, Oliver Tambo, Amilcar Cabral, Patrice Lumumba and Nkrumah of African Unity and Prosperity.


Having taken this momentous decision, we expect nothing less than to liberate the continent from the oppressive legacy of slavery, poverty, disease, backwardness, underdevelopment and marginalization.

Our liberation movement, the African National Congress, has been an integral part of this struggle and for decades we have waged a principled, unrelenting and protracted struggle for the right of the people to govern themselves – The People shall Govern.

Africans in many parts of the continent have moved to embrace good governance and have adopted multi-party democracy with regular elections so that people can elect the governemnt of their choice. A number of African countries have undergone this democratic process of testing the will of the people. Of course we must remain vigilant to ensure that this process is irreversible.

Inevitably, given our history, the African continent is still confronted with many problems such as political instability in Zimbabwe and Madagascar and conflicts in countries such as Angola, DRC, Sierra Leone, Burundi Liberia and Somalia. These and many other problem are being dealt with as a priority by Africa leadership.

African leaders are committed to changing negative views many have of developments on the continent and have taken two major decisions to respond to these challenges. These

are the formation of the African Union and the creation of a blueprint for economic revival on the continent.

The Organization of African Unity, which served the continent well in fostering unity and solidarity as well as completing the decolonisation process, will be transformed into the African Union, which, will be better placed to respond to the challenges of globalization. The African Union will deal comprehensively with the questions of economic, political and social challenges of the new era.

The African Union will also deal practically with issues such as:

· Greater unity and solidarity and socio-economic integration of the continent

· Acceleration of the political and socio-economic integration of the continent

· Promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent

· Promotion of democratic principles and institutions of popular participation and good


· Promotion, protection and prevention of the violation of human and peoples rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and human rights instruments

· The promotion of co-operation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standard of African people.


At the last OAU Summit in Lusaka, African leaders also adopted an economic blueprint for Africa’s recovery namely, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development to be better respond to the changing international environment. The New Partnership for Africa’s

Development is a comprehensive programme that deals inter-alia with peace, security, democracy and political governance, economic and corporate governance and sub-regional and regional approaches to development. Relevant documents are easily accessible through the South African Government website

This ambitious economic development programme was designed by Africans to respond to uniquely African challenges. It derives its legitimacy from African ownership and its success to a large measure hinges on Africans assuming leadership of the process with the

international community joining in partnership with African countries. This is not a programme imposed from abroad but a homegrown response to our difficult development challenges. Which is why it will succeed.

We need to work hard to change the negative perception of Africa as a risky continent. In this regard, we need to deal with conflicts in a comprehensive, emphatic and expeditious manner. In the first instance, it will be important to bring about the peaceful prevention and

settlement of conflicts. Unresolved conflicts breed poverty, displacement, disease and despair. Accordingly, issues such as economic and political good governance, respect for human and people rights and respect of the right of people to choose their representatives without fear are matters of paramount importance.

Through NEPAD we have also agreed to invest in our people: our most important resource. In this regard, the provision of primary health facilities is imperative. Only a healthy nation can address the challenges we have set for ourselves. The development of human resources

through education, vocational training and mentoring is important. We look to Universities in Alberta and Canadians in general to continue their good work in this area.

As we deal with issues of human resources development, it is important that we address infectious diseases, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. With regard to HIV/AIDS, we must move from a premise that there is no cure for AIDS. It is therefore, imperative that we

educate our people so as to prevent this terrible disease from spreading. We must also allocate significant resources to deal with opportunistic infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis diarrhea, meningitis and throat fungal infection. The South African government has challenged the multinational pharmaceutical companies on the affordability of drugs and on infrastructure development to help deal with the administration of anti-retroviral drugs.

We also need to improve on our agricultural output. If we cannot feed ourselves there is no future or hope for the continent. Africa is predominantly an agrarian continent and most of our inhabitants eke out a living from the land. It is important that developed countries work with us to address the absence of the necessary agrarian technology and to enhance our ability to export value-added agricultural products to international markets.

We also need reliable energy supplies in order to expand our manufacturing base. We need the development of regional electricity grids. We will mobilize the required resources in our regions to deal with our energy needs but we need partners. It is equally important for us to

pool our resources to deal with the provision of potable water.

Another NEPAD initiative deals with market access for the products of African countries. It also deals with the imbalance of international trade, which favors developed countries at the expense of the least developed and developing African countries. It remains a shame and

inexcusable that 1$ billion dollars a day is used to subsidize the farmers of developed countries and that $300 billion subsidy annually is given to European farmers alone. This is four times more than the funds spent on development assistance to all developing countries. This situation must not be allowed to continue.

It has been estimated that Africa now only accounts for mere 2% of the world trade, down from 7.4% in 1948. The human consequences of this development are profound. In the Southern African region alone, 78 million people live in poverty. For developed countries to open their markets is not an act of charity but one of self-interest. A developing African continent with properly educated and well-fed inhabitants represents a market of 600 million

consumers. Developed countries ignore this market at their peril.

NEPAD is also building partnerships between African countries themselves to deal with infrastructure development. Partnerships between African countries, developed countries and multilateral institutions will lead to the building of much needed rail, air and road

infrastructure. To illustrate the dearth of infrastructure in the continent, let me point out that a person from the West Africa cannot place a direct call to the Southern African region; the call has to be re-routed through France. Clearly, unless infrastructure is put in place to connect African countries, the huge potential for inter-African trade will be lost.

NEPAD also highlights the importance of industrialization and modernization, which will help kick-start development of the continent. Equally important, is the area of information and communication technology. In order for Africa to join the information revolution, which is driving the process of globalization process forward, ICT infrastructure development is critical. A need to double teledensity by 2005 has been identified. To give you an idea of the backlog in this area, if we achieve that goal, we will then have exactly 2 telephones per 100


Another major and perennial challenge facing our continent is the albatross of unsustainable debt repayment. It is estimated that Africa will be paying debt to developed countries and their private institutions for the next fifty years. This means that for the next five decades, important resources, which should be used for education, health and infrastructure, will have to be be diverted to pay debts. African debt repayment is just not sustainable under present

conditions. No one should condemn future generations to this calamity. We should broaden and deepen the HIPC initiative to address this problem as is proposed in NEPAD’s Capital Flow Initiative. At Kananaskis we will look to Canada and Canadians to ensure that the G8

response to NEPAD addresses the indebtedness of African countries.

We acknowledge a number of promising indications by several G8 countries that resources for official development assistance will be significantly increased. It will be important to translate these indications into concrete action. On our side, those involved in NEPAD’s

Capital Flows Initiative are working hard to determine the mechanisms which will help African countries use and manage these resources more productively.

Central to NEPAD is gender mainstreaming in all programmes because questions of gender equality are at the heart of NEPAD. More than half of the population in Africa is made up of women; (and we women produce the other half too). It remains critical therefore, that the

women who till the land, who are responsible for the nutrition of their families and who constitute a critical mass in Africa should be involved in the economic renewal of the African continent.

It is important, that civil society be involved in popularizing and engaging NEPAD. The elected representatives of the people have provided leadership and it is now up to the agents of social change like you to take up the challenge.


Over the years, many laudable initiatives were not implemented. There are many reasons for this, such as the Cold War paradigm, the lack of capacity as well as the absence of political cohesion both within the continent and beyond.

There has never been a better time implement the good ideas we have developed together to help Africa deal with its terrible legacy and burden of underdevelopment. We must surely all agree that it is time to move from words to action to bring hope, peace and prosperity to Africa.

Let us prove that Herodotus was right when he said Ex Africa semper aliquid novi! (Something new always comes out of Africa). Out of these birth pangs must necessarily

come a new Africa with a brighter tomorrow.

We encourage the Government of Canada to continue its strong support in the G8 process to ensure that the Genoa Plan for Africa is a substantative response to NEPAD. In

particular we want to encourage you to continue to support the initiatives like the Canada-Africa Governance Programme, in which the Province of Alberta participates.

We encourage and and appreciate the valuable efforts of Canadian civil society already under way, including those of Cause Canada, that work for peace and conflict management. We aplaud the nomination of Partnership Africa Canada for a Nobel Peace Price. We also want to recognize the role played by universities and colleges across Canada that work with Africa in areas of agro-forestry, teacher education and health care.

We say to the Canadian private sector: Africa is endowed with human capital, mineral wealth and unlimited opportunities for trade, investment and partnerships. Other countries are taking advantage of this burgeoning market. There are good opportunities in Africa and you should not be left behind.

We are here today in Canada because you and your government helped us and other progressive forces defeat apartheid. Now we are facing even an bigger challenge to ensure that Africa is extricated from a morass of underdevelopment and backwardness. History calls on you to rise to the challenge again.

I thank you

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