Address on the African Renaissance at
the University of Bosphorus, Istanbul
15 October 2003
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour to address this august audience
on the topic of the African Renaissance and the New
Partnership for Africa's Development, the latter also
commonly known as NEPAD.
I am mindful of the rich and ancient history of Turkey,
which has spanned the continents of Africa, Asia and
Europe. It is therefore appropriate that we discuss
the revival of the African continent on these shores
The African Renaissance entails the reclaiming of the
heritage of the people of the African continent and
the socio-economic and political renewal of Africa.
The collapse of the apartheid regime and the democratisation
of South Africa in 1994 revived the call for the renewal
This call coincided with the ascendancy of a new progressive
leadership in Africa who are committed to the revitalisation
of Africa so that Africa can take its rightful place
in international affairs. These leaders have decided
that Africans themselves will no longer charter from
the future of Africa outside Africa.
The vision of the African Renaissance acted as a catalyst
for the transformation of the Organisation of African
Unity (OAU) into the current continental body, the African
Union (AU), which was launched in South Africa in July
The AU is the vehicle for the greater social, political
and economic integration of Africa. In this regard,
there are similarities with the European Union's (EU)
objectives in the European context.
When we speak of an African Renaissance, we mean the
ending of poverty and underdevelopment and the reconstruction
of a better life for all. African Renaissance also entails
the reaffirmation of our pride as Africans with a culture
and identity that define our collective humanity and
The African Renaissance provides a philosophical framework
for Africans in the continent and those in the Diaspora
within which to define themselves.
The African Renaissance also advances the spirit of
Pan-Africanism, which emanates from the vision of the
great sons of Africa, such as prominent African Diaspora
leader W.E.B. Du Bois; Pixley ka Isaka Seme; Kwame Nkrumah
of Ghana; Haile Selassie of Ethiopia; Julius Nyerere
of Tanzania; Albert Luthuli; Oliver Tambo and former
President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, amongst others.
As Africans, we have taken a conscious position to
design and implement our own plan with programmes that
will restore Africa to its rightful place in the global
political, security and economic system, against the
background of this philosophy of the African Renaissance.
African Renaissance is a fundamental transformation
that is anchored in the principles of African ownership
and leadership, self-reliance as well as a new partnership
with the developed and developing world, which is based
on mutual respect, responsibility and accountability.
Africans firmly believe that the establishment of the
AU and the adoption of the New Partnership for Africa's
Development, (NEPAD), constitute historic landmarks
in the social, political and economic development of
The Constitutive Act of the AU provides for greater
political unity and integration and commits African
countries to principles of democracy, human rights,
good governance, gender equality and people-centred
South Africa had the honour of being the first Chair
of the African Union and has handed over the Chair to
Mozambique at the Second AU Summit held in Maputo in
The AU has prioritised peace and security and the ending
of conflicts on the continent, for there can be no African
Renaissance while conflicts ravage parts of the continent.
This is illustrated by the AU's involvement in peacekeeping
and peacemaking missions in the Democratic Republic
of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Ethiopia/Eritrea and Liberia.
You would be aware of South Africa's contribution to
The AU, through the Inter-Governmental Authority on
Development (IGAD) process, is also involved in resolving
the long-standing conflict in the Sudan. The African
Union is also assisting in the democratisation process
in the Comoros.
A key part of the African Renaissance is the drive
to achieve sustainable development in Africa, to extricate
the continent from a cycle of poverty and underdevelopment,
The policy framework of NEPAD has two major pillars
- one is internally focussed whilst the other is focussed
on partnership with the rest of the world. The internal
focus includes the consolidation of democracy and good
governance, adoption of successful developmental practices
and the strengthening of Intra-African economic integration.
The external focus is aimed at addressing the inequitable
international world order that continues to undermine
Africa's developmental effort. The recent events at
the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha Development
Round talks in Cancun, Mexico, are a stark reminder
of this reality and the need for countries, both in
the developed and developing worlds, to stand together
to change this state of affairs.
NEPAD has been endorsed by the international community
as the socio-economic development programme for Africa.
Naturally, the comparative advantages of each African
country and sub-region will determine the priority areas
on which they will focus. But NEPAD provides a common
vision for transforming the whole continent towards
a common direction and goal.
Similarly, each international organisation and development
partner will focus on those priority areas of NEPAD
where they enjoy comparative advantages. In this regard,
the G8 countries, in consultation with Africa, have
developed the G8 Action Plan for Africa.
Likewise, NEPAD is emerging as a major mechanism for
South-South co-operation and partnership; for example,
the China-Africa Forum and the Asian African Sub-regional
Organisations Conference (AASROC) between the African
Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
In addition to the priority areas already mentioned,
NEPAD includes an innovative mechanism, namely the African
Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which is intended to assist
countries through the sharing of experiences, information
and best practices to ensure good governance and sustainable
development. Sixteen African countries have voluntarily
indicated they would participate in a peer review. A
fifteen-member Heads of State and Government Implementation
Committee (HSGIC), constituted from AU member states,
oversees the NEPAD implementation process.
The Implementation is moving at great speed and information
on NEPAD projects is available through the South African
embassy in Ankara.
Honourable Chair, given Turkey's geo-strategic location,
it is not surprising that Turkey has maintained strong
historical relations with Africa. The first Turkish
diplomatic mission in Sub-Saharan Africa was established
in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as far back as 1926.
It is important to us that this country maintains twelve
diplomatic missions in Africa and that there are plans
to expand the Africa-Turkey relationship as spelled
out in Turkey's Action Plan of Opening up to Africa
adopted in 1998.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge
Turkey's important contribution to the advancement of
the African Renaissance.
Turkey has participated in the United Nations peacekeeping
missions in Africa, for example in Somalia, Democratic
Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Angola, Rwanda, Central
African Republic and Western Sahara.
I would also like to express Africa's appreciation
for the contribution of the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay)
to international aid campaigns in support of the African
Africa is also aware of Turkey's expressed support
for developmental finance for NEPAD within the context
of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). We
look forward to Turkey's involvement and active participation
in the various NEPAD projects.
We believe we are breathing life into the ideals of
the founding fathers of Africa. They had a vision of
an Africa whose peoples would be free from conflict
and suffering, poverty, disease and whose right to human
dignity would be restored and respected.
We believe the road to achieving these goals is paved
with opportunities and possibilities, and that given
the vision and programmes that are in place or being
developed, the African Renaissance will be achieved
in our lifetime.
We trust that you will continue to travel with us on
this journey of building a new Africa.
I thank you