Address at the University of Oslo, 13
President and Vice Chancellor,
Friends of Africa,
Ladies and gentlemen.
It is an honour and pleasure for me to address this
august gathering today. I bring you warm greetings from
the government and the people of South Africa.
In June 1988, Oliver Tambo, the past president of the
African National Congress and one of the foremost leaders
of our continent, a fearless leader of our people whose
sacrifices have ensured the liberation of our country,
addressed a conference on 'War on Want', in London,
organized by the British-based charity organization
with the same name.
"Those of us who come from southern Africa know
the true meaning of mass abject poverty. We have seen
with our own eyes, and perhaps experienced personally,
what it means to go without food and to wake up from
sleep that has been tormented by nightmares deriving
both from hunger and the knowledge that the new day
was as much without hope as the last. We have seen the
frightened and pleading eyes of both the young and old,
reduced to an animal condition by want and deprivation.
We are familiar with the tragic spectacle of children,
mothers and fathers rummaging through refuse heaps in
search of morsels of food that have been thrown away
because they are no longer wanted.
"Stomachs distended to the point of bursting;
eyes protruding sightless from deep sockets; legs so
thin you wonder how they ever managed to support a body
that is itself covered by scabs and festering sores;
all this is the result of man-made conditions that condemn
millions to a life of hunger, homelessness, disease,
ignorance and absence of protection from cold, heat,
rain and the parching winds of the winter's end."
(Oliver Tambo's unpublished Speeches, Interviews and
When Oliver Tambo made these remarks, Namibia and South
Africa were still fighting for freedom. Clearly, one
of the challenges for our people in this war against
want in 1988, was to ensure that our countries achieve
freedom so that the foundation could be laid to address
the 'man-made conditions that condemn millions to a
life of hunger, homelessness, disease, ignorance and
absence of protection from cold, heat, rain and the
parching winds of the winter's end'.
In that struggle for freedom, the people of Norway
have occupied the frontline with our people and stood
side by side with us until we attained freedom. We say
thank you once more because we will not tire to express
our profound gratitude for your selfless solidarity
with our cause.
Many of our people joined the struggle for freedom
because it was not possible to continue with a life
that was tormented by nightmares deriving both from
hunger and the knowledge that the new day was as much
without hope as the last.
As we achieved freedom, many people on the African
continent, from different stations in life; workers,
businesspeople, the intelligentsia, women, youth, politicians
and ordinary people, were also speaking with a unified
voice that we no longer want to see our stomachs distended
to the point of bursting; our eyes cannot continue to
protrude sightlessly from deep sockets; and we need
stronger legs so that no one can wonder how these legs
manage to support our bodies.
Accordingly, we began to speak about the need for the
renaissance of Africa, because the mass of our people,
across the length and breadth of our continent, were
themselves saying: Now is the Time!
To achieve the required sustainable and integrated
development and the eradication of poverty, the leadership
of the African continent pledged to be at the forefront
of this new struggle.
This new struggle is against underdevelopment, poverty
as well as the social exclusion and economic marginalisation
of Africa and Africans from the globalising world.
When Oliver Tambo spoke so passionately about the need
to bring to an end the tragic spectacle of children,
mothers and fathers rummaging through refuse heaps in
search of morsels of food, he was referring to the hundreds
of millions of Africans who live on less than US$1 per
As we know, the conditions that gave rise to the tragic
spectacle that Tambo spoke about include the systematic
impoverishment of the African continent that derived
from the legacy of slavery, colonialism, cold war, the
workings of the international economic system and the
inadequacies and shortcomings of the policies of many
countries after independence.
Because Africa has been the supplier of cheap labour
and raw materials to the industrialised nations, she
was not able to develop because, of necessity, the skewed
relationship that she had with countries in Europe and
the Americas was draining the much-needed resources
of many African countries.
Whereas the available resources could have been used
to build and develop manufacturing industries as well
as training a skilled labour force, the opposite happened.
In many countries, the colonial power had a deliberate
and conscious policy of discouraging, retarding and
frustrating the emergence of a middle class with skills
and managerial capacity as well as an entrepreneurial
Consequently, at independence most countries did not
have the necessary skilled leadership to steer the national
economies in the right direction.
Concomitantly, almost all the peoples inherited countries
with weak state institutions, which in some instances
were further destroyed by poor, corrupt and inefficient
The cold war and the subjective and selfish interests
of the superpowers discouraged democracy and accountable
The New Partnership for Africa's Development seeks
to address these and many other conditions that have
contributed to the abject poverty and underdevelopment
that define the lives of many Africans.
In July this year, we will launch the African Union
(AU), which must replace the Organisation of African
Unity (OAU). The African Union has been structured in
such a manner that it must ensure that the objectives
contained in the New Partnership for Africa's Development
are achieved. I will return to the AU later.
Although a fair share of our problems have been imposed
on us by people other than Africans, we believe that
we will adequately address our challenges if we all
draw the necessary conclusions from our past experiences,
while being forward-looking, drawing on all the resources
at our disposal, forging strategic and mutually-beneficial
partnerships and refusing to be conditioned by circumstance.
Through the New Partnership we are not merely expressing
a grand vision whose possible realisation lies in a
dim and distant future. Instead, by agreeing collectively
that, first and foremost, the political leadership should
make a clear and unequivocal commitment to a set of
fundamental requirements for the growth and development
of our countries, individually and collectively, we
will ensure that we do not postpone the regeneration
of our continent.
These requirements include amongst others:
a.The promotion and entrenchment of democracy, accountable
government, a culture of human rights and popular participation
in the system of governance;
b. The strengthening of mechanisms for conflict prevention,
management and resolution at the sub-regional and continental
levels, and ensuring that these mechanisms are used
to restore and maintain peace;
c. Restoring and maintaining macroeconomic stability,
especially by developing appropriate standards and targets
for fiscal and monetary policies and introducing appropriate
institutional frameworks to achieve these standards;
d. Instituting transparent legal and regulatory frameworks
for financial markets and the auditing of private companies
and the public sector;
e. Revitalising and extending the provision of education,
technical training, ensuring food security and adequate
health services, with high priority given to addressing
the problems of Malaria, Aids, TB and other communicable
f. Promoting the role of women in social and economic
development by reinforcing their capacity in the domains
of education and training; ensuring that they have access
to credit and ensuring their full participation in the
political and economic life of our countries.
g. Building the capacity of the states in Africa so
that they are able to discharge their development functions
and ensure good governance;
h. Promoting the development of infrastructure, agriculture
and its diversification into agro-industries and manufacturing
to serve both domestic and export markets;
i. Promoting access to the benefits of modern science,
including information and communication technology and
j. Protecting the environment.
Although the headlines about Africa are mainly about
negative developments, in reality, the New Partnership
emerges in an era of profound proliferation of democracy
on the African continent. The number of multi-party
elections that have taken place and the increased volumes
of people participating in these democratic processes
since the 1990's, is an unprecedented phenomenon in
the recent history of Africa.
Of course, there are still imperfections and instances
where countries should improve on their democratic processes.
However, anyone with a knowledge of Africa will agree
that democracy is spreading and has been consolidated
in many countries.
At the same time, we are committed to ensure that we
strengthen the new democratic systems of governance
that have emerged. In this regard, we will, through
this New Partnership, undertake a process of targeted
capacity-building initiatives that deepen democracy
and accountability. These institutional reforms will
a. Conflict prevention, management and resolution mechanisms;
b. Administrative and civil services;
c. Strengthening parliamentary oversight;
d. Promoting participatory decision-making;
e. Adopting effective measures to combat corruption;
f. Undertaking judicial reforms.
Further, the commitment of African leaders to democracy
is evident in the decision of the Organisation of African
Unity (OAU) not to recognise leaders who come to power
through military means.
Together with the spread of democracy, there has emerged
a new leadership that refuses to accept the conditions
plaguing our people and accordingly has resolved to
ensure that poverty, lack of human rights, absence of
democracy, conflicts and wars will no longer be the
defining features of our continent.
These Africans have chosen to act together to change
the lot of their continent, and have come to a correct
determination that they should take the destiny of their
continent into their own hands. To this end, commitments
are being made to a set of political governance and
Furthermore, there is a need to provide the political
space for civil society to speak strongly and to become
active agents of change in the development and reconstruction
process of our continent.
As we move forward, the New Partnership must in reality
make us to work differently and ensure that we build
enduring partnerships between the different sections
of our societies: between the public and private sectors,
between workers and businesspeople.
Some may ask: what is the difference between this plan
and the previous ones?
Indeed this is not the first development plan for Africa.
At the same time, however, NEPAD is new in the sense
that for the first time, African leaders have taken
the initiative and have themselves conceptualised the
programme for the reconstruction of our continent and
have assumed responsibility for its implementation.
Of importance, is the fact that these leaders have
agreed on the need for an African Peer Review Mechanism
to ensure that together we are able to reflect on the
manner in which each one of us works, in accordance
with the agreements that are important for the development
of our countries.
In other words, Africa has moved beyond words to concrete
action plans that are being articulated for implementation
by the African leaders. This has indeed introduced a
new approach to issues and a new way of doing things.
Without any doubt, this is one of the most important
characteristics distinguishing NEPAD from previous development
plans. It is critical that the initiative also be popularised
among the masses of Africa's peoples to ensure its sustainability.
We are also seized of the important matters of peace
and stability on the continent, because, as we have
already indicated, this is one of the central and fundamental
requirements for the success of the New Partnership.
Accordingly, as a practical demonstration of this commitment,
South Africa has been deeply involved in the search
for peace in Burundi. In support of the peace process,
we have dispatched soldiers to the Republic of Burundi
and have worked closely with the leadership of the countries
of east and central Africa as well as the leaders of
the different political formations in Burundi, to ensure
that we banish forever, the indecency of war and conflict
from the lives of the Barundi. I am confident that we
are on course to achieve lasting peace in that country.
Again, before we came here we held on-going negotiations
with representatives of political organizations in the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as we continue to
seek a solution that will bring democracy and an end
to war and ensure that our brothers and sisters in that
country also live in peace and harmony. In support of
this process, South Africa has deployed its forces as
part of the United Nations peacekeeping efforts in the
We are also encouraged by the steps and progress towards
peace in Angola, and we will do whatever is possible
to strengthen this important process towards the normalization
and stabilization of this sister country. It is our
fervent wish that the people of Angola - millions of
whom have never known life without war - will now have
a chance to rebuild their lives.
As in the past, we will continue to assist the people
of Zimbabwe to achieve reconciliation, and hope that
we will all do whatever is necessary to ensure that
Zimbabwe returns to stability, as together we address,
in earnest, the problems that have contributed to the
conflict and instability in that country.
Shortly, Lesotho will be holding new general elections
at the end of a period of adjustment to overcome a conflict
that engulfed the country after the last elections.
As we engage the various antagonists in these conflict
situations, we are guided by our resolve to promote
long-term stability for development and security, as
well as building the capacity of our institutions for
early warning, and ensuring that they are able to prevent,
manage and resolve conflicts.
In addition, we are strengthening regional and sub-regional
institutions, so as to be more effective in the above-mentioned
challenges and also succeed in areas of:
a. Peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peace enforcement;
b. Post-conflict reconciliation, rehabilitation and
c. Combating the illicit proliferation of small arms,
light weapons and landmines.
Good economic governance is an important aspect of
our programme for the economic growth and development
of our countries. Necessarily, this means that the different
states must put in place the appropriate mechanisms
to realise this objective.
Institutional capacity building is crucial in this
regard, as many states lack the capacity to achieve
sound economic governance. Through the New Partnership,
a set of codes and standards based on best practice
are being developed to guide states in their macro-economic
policy-making and management of public revenues and
Resources will be mobilized for capacity-building to
enable countries to be in a better position to comply
with the mutually agreed actions.
The overwhelming majority of the people of Africa live
in rural areas. Sadly, the agrarian systems are mainly
weak, unproductive or even non-existent. Add the often
hostile and harsh climatic conditions and lack of infrastructure,
and we then have a basket of conditions that perpetuate
poverty and underdevelopment.
Even in instances where African farmers have a comparative
and competitive advantage, the biases in economic policy,
instabilities in world commodity prices and the huge
subsidies that the developed countries give to their
farmers militate against any possible progress for African
Yet, there are a number of challenges that we have
to address urgently, including:
a. The urgent need to achieve food security by addressing
the deficiencies in agricultural systems, so that food
production can be increased and nutritional standards
b. To improve the agricultural performance and increase
the purchasing power of rural people;
c. To embark on a comprehensive programme of developing
arable land and availing irrigation equipment to rural
people so as to address the main constraint of climatic
d. To work on a programme of improving the rural infrastructure,
roads, electrification, etc.
e. To ensure institutional support in the form of research
centers and institutions and provide and extend support
f. To encourage the bilateral and multilateral donors
to pay the necessary attention to agriculture as part
of a comprehensive programme of rural development.
In this regard, it is important that the imbalances
in international trade are addressed. It remains an
inexcusable shame that $1 billion a day is used to subsidise
the farmers of developed countries and that a $300 billion
annual subsidy is given to European farmers. This is
four times the money spent on development assistance
to all developing countries. Such a situation cannot
be allowed to continue.
Therefore, there is an urgent need to reform the global
political, economic, financial and trade environment
to ensure a more equitable voice for Africa in global
decision-making institutions and to make the global
institutions more responsive to Africa's needs. There
is a vital need to address issues of market access,
agricultural subsidies and non-tariff barriers, as well
as issues of intra-African trade.
Financing issues will also have to be addressed, including
the need to reform and streamline the donor-recipient
relationship and delivery systems, to meet the internationally
agreed targets for development assistance, to address
the unsustainable debt burden facing many African states,
and to promote Africa as a destination for private sector
Another important area being addressed under NEPAD
is the issue of using Information and Communication
Technology to leapfrog the development of the continent
forward. In order for Africa to benefit from the globalisation
process and the information age, ICT infrastructure
development on the continent is vital.
Lastly, central to the New Partnership is the empowerment
of women in all programmes. The question of gender equality
is at the heart of everything we do. More than half
the population in Africa is made up of women. It therefore
remains critical that these women, who till the land,
who are responsible for the well-being of their families,
who constitute a critical mass in Africa, should be
involved in the programme of political, economic, social
and cultural renewal of the African continent.
As I have indicated earlier, we are transforming the
OAU into the African Union so that we have a continental
organization that has structures, processes and programmes
that are relevant to the challenges imposed by the new
The Organisation of African Unity, which has served
the continent well, particularly in fostering unity
and solidarity, in assisting in the struggle for freedom
and independence and ensuring the decolonisation of
Africa, will in July 2002 cease to exist.
The African Union will in a practical way deal with
issues such as:
Greater unity, solidarity and the 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 governance;
Promotion, protection and prevention of the violation
of human and peoples' rights in accordance with the
African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and other
human rights instruments; and
The promotion of co-operation in all fields of human
activity to raise the living standards of the African
To ensure that the African Union succeeds in its work
and realizes its mandate, a number of critical structures
will be put in place, and will deal with a variety of
critical issues that will ensure that the continent
moves forward with regard to accountable governance,
the promotion and protection of human rights, the maintenance
of peace and stability and the facilitation of economic
growth and development.
Clearly, the time has never been more opportune to
move forward and implement the vision and dream of a
prosperous Africa and eradicate the terrible legacy
of our past and the burden of poverty and underdevelopment.
I am sure that we all agree, that it is time to move
from grand statements to concrete action, to help give
re-birth to Africa with hope, peace and development.
Norway and the other Nordic states have traditionally
been reliable partners in support of Africa, particularly
during the period of struggle against colonialism, apartheid
and white minority domination. You are amongst the foremost
donor states currently supporting development efforts
on the continent. I have just attended the second South
Africa - Nordic Summit with your Prime Minister and
the heads of government of the other Nordic countries.
This is a follow-up to the last Summit held in June
2000 in Skagen, Denmark.
The Skagen Declaration was an important step at the
time and assisted substantially to developing general
consensus around the international development goals
ahead of the UN Millennium Summit and around the need
to address Africa's particular needs and challenges.
The Declaration correctly called for a sustained involvement
by the international community in a partnership with
Africa to address poverty and marginalisation. The issues
addressed in the Declaration continue to be our priorities
as enunciated in our New Partnership. The Molde Declaration
takes this process further in support of the goals of
NEPAD and contains a commitment to working together
to address Africa's pressing needs on a basis of mutual
accountability, predictable, concrete and measurable
This poses a challenge to you the new generation of
leaders and students to build on the proud traditions
of Norway as a force for progressive change. You must
address the challenges posed by this new age, as others
in this country faced the challenges of ending colonialism
and racism. Together we must battle against the new
scourge of poverty and ensure that the benefits of globalisation
also reach the developing world.
In a few months time, in August/September this year,
South Africa will have the honour of hosting the World
Summit on Sustainable Development. I am confident that
together with the people of Norway, we will collaborate
with other like-minded citizens of the world, to ensure
that the outcomes of that conference take us further
on our road to a world where we will not, like Oliver
Tambo, see millions of people who are condemned to a
life of hunger, homelessness, disease, ignorance, and
absence of protection from cold, heat, rain, and the
parching winds of the winter's end.