Address by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to Business, Media and Academics in Brazil on NEPAD and African Union, 7 August 2002


Your Excellency, Minister Celso Lafer

Ambassador, Your Excellencies

Members of both delegations


I should indeed be asked as to what defines the nature of our relationship. The affable nature of the Brazilian people and the resilient character of South Africans of all persuasions add up the search for the answer. Our fraternal relations were forged during the most difficult time in the history of our continent. Africa in her might and strength, fed and bestowed unto this country, a rich inheritance that now exudes Brazil of its multicultural diversity. This shed rich legacy, appropriately referred to as cultural affinity informs our natural dispositions towards one another.


Permit me Honourable Minister, to express on my own behalf and that of my delegation, our collective appreciation for your most warm welcome and generous hospitality. Your red carpet treatment has not amazed us, for we were always confident that a visit to this country represents a reunion with kinship across the ocean, it rekindles our felicitation.


The last few days have witnessed the intensive discussions and remarkable progress in many areas, among others, Health, Agriculture, Trade and Industry, Minerals and energy, environment and tourism and tourism and transport and aeronautic areas . Cooperation is further intended in key areas such as Search and Rescue, Geosciences, electricity and nuclear. This modest beginning represents our quest to work for agreements and increase our co-operation in all these fields.


This therefore our inaugural Bi-national Commission, fulfils a long held hope and cherished wish commonly shared between our Presidents, both Mbeki and Cardoso when they brought into force this Joint negotiations facility during the State visit of President Mbeki to Brazil in 2000.


The Joint Commission consolidates the vast area of work that has hitherto characterized our bilateral ties. From 1996 to date, we have seen phenomenal and rapid growth in many areas. Commercial trade has soared almost from a zero base prior to 1994, to a joint trade flow of just a little under a $ 1 billion. Further to us acceding to a treaty on the travel and privileges, offering 90-day visa free travel to our citizenry, air traffic has increased tremendously. Our flagship carrier SAA in code sharing with Varig has since 01st July 2002 increased its frequency to four (4) per week. This growth augurs well for both business and tourism flight occupancy.


Earlier on, I spoke of a great responsibility that both our countries shoulder. Situated at the epicentre of our respective region's connectivity with each other and ensconced in the midst of the South - South relations, You in the Mercusur and broader South America cone, and us in the SADC and wider African continent, must concern ourselves with issues of globalisation to achieve sustainable development, peace, stability and security for the world's posterity. it is no wonder therefore Minister, that our paths so often run into each other on multilateral issues and fora.


We share s common commitment, to a more representive United Nations Security Council. We are also working closely in the context of the World Trade Organization and in Cairns Group. All of these and many other symbiotic perspectives, represent our belief in the sustainability and providence of multilateralism as a safer path to the procurement of world peace.


Our meeting is preceded by the successful torch transfer ceremony where President Cardoso duly handed over the custody of the world's Earth Summit and its outcomes, as signified by Agenda 21, to President Mbeki. The enormity is not only in the custodianship of this program, but advancing its legacy. It must be that the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable development, must beget implementable outcomes. Outcomes that will seek to eliminate the concentration of poverty in the world.


Our vision we must also lead and anchor this process to guarantee, more balance production and consumption patters, to jealously manage and preserve our natural resources, to create oneness and compatibility with the environment. The consultations with a broad spectrum of the world's leaders, the grafting of several nations around the globe as Friends of the Chair, the enthusiasm of the UN Secretary General and his efforts, have written the future with optimism and inspired us to seek consensus positions designed to achieving a resounding success.


A month ago Mister Minister the world welcomed with pride and expection the birth of the African Union, which was launched in South Africa in July. The AU, primarily geared towards addressing the continent's needs regarding social, political and economic development is timely.


The AU will be able to deal effectively with political challenges of peace stability and security issues. It is an inevitable vehicle aligned and suited to Africa's recovery program, a flagship to making good of Africa's intention to make this century its own. A century, during which the legacy of Africa will be reversed. As the first Chair, we are already at work to realize and live this noble dream. We are confident that the democratic Republic of Congo is about to turn its back on war.


During our bilateral and the sitting of the Commission we have exchanged notes about the evolution of peace in Angola. We did so because we are both committed to a prosperous Angola. During the 4th Summit of the Portuguese speaking countries COLP, Brasilia Declaration speaks to the question of peace in Angola. The declaration appeals to the international community to support the process of reconstruction and development of Angola as well as the humanitarian situation. It is for these reasons that we renew our effort and hope to find a lasting peace.


As an agent of progressive change , the African Union has adopted the new Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) as a rallying cry for a new beginning. I take this opportunity Mister Minister to thanks you for your vigourous belief and support in Nepad. I am heartened to learn that you and your Ministry have decided on partnering the African Group of Ambassadors, during the official launch of Nepad envisaged for later this year. During my courtesy call to His Excellency President Cardoso yesterday, I gladly accepted to confer his enthusiastic support to my boss, President Mbeki.


Honourable Minister, allow me to conclude by acknowledging that much work still lies ahead of us. The strategic nature of our relationship demands of us that we breed better and detailed yet focused attention in a number of areas.


It gives me satisfaction therefore that as we retire our Joint Commission, we immediately commence as at tomorrow, our next round of South/Africa/Mercusur negotiations towards a free trade area. These negotiations to be held in the next two days here in Brasilia, shall hopefully agree on the modality or architecture of negotiations, rules of engagement, clearing the stage for a sooner rather than later lists of products and commodities exchange.


I am confident Honourable Minister that we should be able to put forward a road map of negotiations, where a clear timetable with earmarked deliverables shall be set. when this is achieved it is possible to speak and anticipate a meteoric increase in our trade flows. It makes the projected by your first ever Mercusur trade mission to South Africa in June attainable.


In thanking you and your hardworking team Honourable Minister, and conscious of our delight to receive you, President Cardoso and the entire Brazilian delegation to the WSSD, we look forward to your visit to South Africa for the next round of business.


Thank you.


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