Address by the Deputy President of the
Republic of South Africa H.E. Jacob Zuma to the Angolan
Chamber of Commerce and Industry and South African Business
Community in Angola, Luanda, 25 August 2004
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Distinguished members of the Angolan Chamber of Commerce
The South African Ambassador to the Republic of Angola,
South African entrepreneurs,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are deeply honoured that you responded to our call
for us to meet in order to discuss how we can deepen
and strengthen our fraternal economic relations.
It was important to us that we do not conclude our
visit to this beautiful sister country without meeting
with the business community. It is our humble opinion
that the success of our bilateral relations would be
greatly enhanced when you, the business community, the
engine of economic growth, take your rightful place
in boosting these relations.
In one of its thought provoking studies, the World
Bank asks this controversial question: "Can Africa
Claim the 21st Century?" It went on to make this
disturbing observation about countries south of the
Sahara "Despite gains in the second half of the
1990s, Sub-Saharan Africa enters the 21st century with
many of the world's poorest countries. Average per capita
income is lower than the end of the 1960's. Incomes,
assets, and access to essential services are unequally
distributed. And the region contains a growing share
of the world's absolute poor".
This state of affairs requires swift remedial action
from all of us, politicians and business people. The
issue we need to ponder is how to effectively respond
to the continued re-configuration of the global economy
which keeps the welfare of Africa at the periphery.
All modern political and economic thoughts are agreed
that the private sector has a critical role to play
in ensuring the growth of our economies, thereby creating
gainful employment that would contribute to the eradication
of against poverty.
The end of the conflict that had engulfed Angola, and
the dawn of freedom in South Africa, affords us the
opportunity to take active and sustained remedial measures
to improve economic activity between the two countries.
The trade figures indicate that our mutual trade has
grown phenomenally over the last three years. Nevertheless,
there is still a lot of room for improvement. Angola
has a huge potential to emerge as one of the real economic
giants in our sub-region and the continent. Accordingly,
it is important that we act together as partners to
stimulate this growth.
The Angolan Government has already introduced to us,
projects that will contribute enormously to the economic
growth of this country. Yesterday we had the opportunity
to visit the Port of Lobito, Benguela Railway and SONAMET
in Benguela Province. My delegation and I were left
in no doubt that there are business opportunities for
our private sector to invest within the Lobito Corridor.
It is also important to note that the Lobito Corrido,
given its location and the linkages with other countries
in the region through the railway network, dovetails
very well with NEPAD, which stresses infrastructure
There are also various other possible areas of co-operation.
As we all know, Angola has the most fertile lands in
the region and agricultural potential is boundless,
while South Africa offers a thriving commercial farming
sector. Undoubtedly, this is one area where partnership
which can benefit both countries could be explored.
Tourism is another area that offers possibilities for
joint ventures and partnerships. In addition, major
projects such as infrastructure reconstruction, water
supply projects, construction and housing projects,
public works projects, rehabilitation of transport infrastructure
must be leveraged to benefit the private sectors of
both countries. We believe that these projects could
herald a new era for Angola, in the spirit of mutual
Ladies and gentlemen, we have also begun to engage
intensively with our Angolan counterparts regarding
the promotion of the concept of Spatial Development
Initiatives following similar initiatives elsewhere.
The SDI will play a critical role in terms of post-conflict
reconstruction and the attraction of investments. The
cross-border nature of SDI projects boosts economic
activity in a wider development zone, as it puts together
development projects in a co-ordinated fashion in the
We believe the SDI will catalyze regional growth and
economic development. Undoubtedly, the SMME's will benefit
if these projects are implemented.
Distinguished guests, as Africans we have adopted the
New Partnership for Africa's Development, the socio-economic
development blueprint of the African Union.
We have said in the preamble of this programme that
the resources, including capital, technology and human
skills, that are required to launch a global war on
poverty exist in abundance, and that what we need to
realize our objectives is bold and committed leadership.
We have therefore committed ourselves to good leadership
through the implementation of good economic and political
governance through the NEPAD programme. This we have
done because we believe that democracy and good governance
are fundamental to the regeneration of our continent.
Angola is one of the countries that are playing a pioneering
role in realizing the NEPAD objectives.
Most importantly, ladies and gentlemen, NEPAD has moved
beyond planning to implementation. There are a number
of projects in progress such as the oil pipeline in
the Gulf of Guinea between West African countries and
the optic cable network from Cape Town to Europe linking
countries in West Africa.
This would be coupled with the Cape Town to Asia optic
fibre connection linking up the East African countries.
Close by, the Inga dam electricity generation project
is taking shape in the Democratic Republic of Congo,
which upon completion should benefit the DRC, Angola,
Namibia and South Africa.
These are some of the opportunities presented by NEPAD
which I hope the Angolan business community would want
to be involved in. There are exciting times ahead for
the business community not only in our two countries
but in the entire African continent.
Having called for more economic activity between our
two countries, let me also use this opportunity to urge
South African entrepreneurs who are doing business in
Angola to do so with an added objective of helping to
rebuild this country which has been destroyed by the
ravages of war.
In doing so, you will be contributing to the development
of the region and continent. Therefore issues such as
skills and technology transfer and general contribution
to the social development of the country would enhance
reconstruction and development agenda of this country,
region and continent.
Ladies and gentlemen, when we began this address, we
quoted the report of the World Bank, which asked whether
or not Africa could Claim the 21st Century as its own.
We hope we have attempted to show that the continent
is not engulfed by the deep dark despair and hopelessness
but rather, it is hard at work to change the perception
that is ingrained in the mind of others.
The good news for the African business community is
that African leaders, through the African Union and
its programmes, are agreed that creating an enabling
environment for economic growth and sustainable development
in the continent is crucial.
That is why Africa is undertaking more effective programmes
to eradicate conflicts, bring about democracy and introduce
monitoring mechanisms to ensure compliance, such as
the African peer review mechanism.
We continue to be steadfast in our commitment to rise
to the challenge of claiming this century as our own.
As anywhere, we would suffer temporary setbacks, but
we are on the unstoppable march to a better tomorrow,
and we invite the business community to accompany us
on this journey.
I thank you.