Speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of
South Africa, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, to the Slovak Foreign Policy Association,
Bratislava, Slovakia, 12 June 2007
"View of the Republic of South Africa
on the Future of the African Continent"
Slovak MFA State Secretary, Ms Diana Strofova
Honourable Members of SFPA Board
Honourable Members of Parliament
Representatives of Government
and Political Parties
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Slovak Scholars on
Members of the Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs (SFPA)
Ladies and gentlemen
It is indeed
a pleasure and privilege to be with you today. I wish to thank the Slovak Foreign
Policy Association (SFPA) for inviting me to address its distinguished members
on the future of our beloved continent, Africa.
Allow me to thank Minister
Kubis for his invitation to visit this beautiful country which due to its rich
cultural heritage proudly boasts five United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage sites. I am equally impressed with
the beauty and cultural richness of your city, situated at the confluence of the
Danube and Morava Rivers. I trust during my next visit to Slovakia I will see
more of your beautiful country.
South Africa's relations with the Republic
of Slovakia are good and growing apace. Minister Kubis and I held constructive
discussions on a wide range of issues and agreed that we need to further widen
and deepen our political and economic ties. We signed a Memorandum of Co-operation
between our two Ministries, which provides for enhanced political consultations
on a regular basis on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.
We also concurred that given the expanding nature of our respective economies,
South Africa and Slovakia need to actively explore ways and means to further boost
our economic interactions through the Joint Council for Economic Consultations.
Ladies and gentlemen
We meet today at an interesting period in our
histories; the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the European Union (EU)
and the 50th anniversary of Ghanaian Independence. The establishment of the EU,
arguably the most important development in shaping the present Europe was indeed
a historic evolution which advanced the integration of the continent by extending
a zone of stability and prosperity to more and more members after generations
of divisions and conflict.
Fifty years ago, Ghana (then called the Gold
Coast) became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence.
The Ghanaian independence inspired Africans to greater heights and opened the
floodgates to political liberation throughout Africa.
The first President
of Ghana, His Excellency Kwame Nkrumah, proclaimed to the world that the independence
of Ghana was meaningless unless it was linked to the total liberation of the African
Indeed this kindled the fire of liberation that swept across
the entire continent. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) came into being,
premised on unity and solidarity. Its main responsibility was to be the liberation
of Africa from colonial rule and the destruction of apartheid.
of apartheid in South Africa and the inauguration of Nelson Mandela brought an
end to the anti-apartheid and the anti-colonial struggles. The African continent
was free at last and was free forever except for Western Sahara still struggling
Speaking at the OAU Summit in Tunis in June 1994,
then President Nelson Mandela expressed this position very passionately when he
"Finally, at this summit meeting in Tunis, we shall remove
from our agenda the consideration of the question of apartheid in South Africa.
"Where South Africa appears on the agenda again, let it be because
we want to discuss what its contribution shall be to the making of the new African
renaissance. Let it be because we want to discuss what materials it will supply
for the rebuilding of the African city of Carthage.
"One epoch with
its historic tasks has come to an end. Surely, another must commence with its
own challenges. Africa cries out for a new birth, Carthage awaits the restoration
of its glory.
"If freedom was the crown which the fighters of liberation
sought to place on the head of mother Africa, let the upliftment, the happiness,
prosperity and comfort of her children be the jewel of the crown.
can be no dispute among us that we must bend every effort to rebuild the African
With the end of apartheid, the major challenges facing
the continent were no longer the anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles.
generation had to define its own mission according to the new challenges facing
Africa in a globalised world. Africa at the time was said to be a hopeless, dark
continent. It was totally marginalised, poor and underdeveloped.
up to Africans to turn it into a continent of hope, a continent of possibilities,
to pull it from the margins of the world and to transform it into a vibrant and
President Thabo Mbeki, then Deputy President at the
adoption of Democratic South Africa's new constitution in 1996, had this to say
in his speech entitled "I am an African":
"I am an African.
"I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the
glades, the rivers, the deserts, the trees, the flowers, the seas and the ever-changing
seasons that define the face of our native land.
"My body has frozen
in our frosts and in our latter day snows. It has thawed in the warmth of our
sunshine and melted in the heat of the midday sun. The crack and the rumble of
the summer thunders, lashed by startling lightening, have been a cause both of
trembling and of hope
"I am an African.
"I am born
of the peoples of the continent of Africa.
"The pain of the violent
conflict that the peoples of Liberia, Somalia, the Sudan, Burundi and Algeria
is a pain I also bear.
"The dismal shame of poverty, suffering and
human degradation of my continent is a blight that we share.
blight on our happiness that derives from this and from our drift to the periphery
of the ordering of human affairs leaves us in a persistent shadow of despair.
"This is a savage road to which nobody should be condemned.
thing that we have done today, in this small corner of a great continent that
has contributed so decisively to the evolution of humanity says that Africa reaffirms
that she is continuing her rise from the ashes.
"Whatever the setbacks
of the moment, nothing can stop us now! Whatever the difficulties, Africa shall
be at peace! However improbable it may sound to the sceptics, Africa will prosper!
Whoever we may be, whatever our immediate interest, however much we carry
baggage from our past, however much we have been caught by the fashion of cynicism
and loss of faith in the capacity of the people, let us err today and say - nothing
can stop us now!"
This sums up the view of South Africa on the future
of the African continent. We have declared the 21st Century the African century.
The African Union (AU) was born out of this determination that "whatever
the setbacks of the moment", "whatever the difficulties", Africa
will be at peace and that, however improbable it may sound to some, Africa will
In 2002 the African Union was launched in Durban, South African.
The Constitutive Act of the AU states, amongst other things, that this
"Inspired by the noble ideals which guided the founding
fathers of our Continental Organisation and generations of Pan Africanists in
their determination to promote unity, solidarity, cohesion and co-operation among
the peoples of Africa and African States
"Recalling the heroic struggles
waged by our peoples and our countries for political independence, human dignity
and economic emancipation
"Determined to take up the multifaceted
challenges that confront our continent and peoples in the light of the social,
economic and political changes taking place in the world
our common vision of a united and strong Africa and by the need to build a partnership
between governments and all segments of civil society, in particular women, youth
and the private sector in order to strengthen solidarity and cohesion among our
Among its objectives is the
- acceleration of the
political and socio-economic integration of the continent.
- promotion of
peace, security and stability on the continent.
- promotion of sustainable
development at the economic and cultural levels as well as the integration of
- promotion of gender equality.
has also taken a decision to strive for gender parity. Women are a central component
of our population. Without them being agents for change, Africa will not reach
its full potential.
The AU will be five years old in July. It has established
its own Peace and Security Council which is continuously in session in Addis Ababa
through our permanent representatives. It meets at Ministerial and Summit level
as the situation dictates.
We have just established the Council of the
Wise which is a body of eminent African personalities not in government. This
body has to act in response to the early warning of an evolving problem in our
states. This intervention has to be done very early to prevent conflict.
are in the process of establishing an African Standby Force. This will consist
of five Brigades. One Brigade each from the five sub regions of the AU, namely
North, West, Central, East and Southern regions. This will then form our rapid
response in peace keeping whilst waiting for the ever slow, sluggish response
of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to African problems.
Pan African Parliament which has its seat in the Republic of South Africa has
been established. Initially it is a consultative parliament with no legislative
powers. It is to develop common values of good governance, respect for human rights,
values of peaceful resolution of conflict etc. This will be reviewed after five
The judges of the African Human Rights Court were chosen in July
last year. Soon this court will be functioning. We are also in the process of
establishing a Court of Justice.
Eventually we shall establish the following
- the African Central Bank
- the African
- the African Investment Fund
The Economic Social
and Cultural Council need strengthening. These are the important institutions
of the African Union (AU).
Recognising the crucial need for sustainable
development, the New Partnership for Africa's Development was developed: Nepad.
Nepad identifies some priorities for the African continent in order to deal with
poverty and underdevelopment. These are:
- peace security and stability
for human rights and good governance
- infrastructure development
Communication Technology (ICT)
- water and sanitation infrastructure
- food security
- human resource development
- education, training
and skills development
- market access
of industrial base - value addition
- gender parity.
principles of Nepad are:
- Partnership: While Nepad is foremost a partnership
between and amongst Africans, it seeks to accelerate sustainable development in
Africa through partnerships with the South, and to forge a new partnership with
the developed North that changes the unequal relationship with Africa.
Nepad recognises the importance of good political, economic and corporate governance
in creating the conditions for development, with African governments embracing
greater accountability to their constituents. The African Peer Review Mechanism
(APRM) is not only good for accountability, but for sharing best practice and
for strengthening the identified weak areas. To date 26 countries have joined,
while Ghana, Rwanda and Kenya have been reviewed. Reviews of South Africa and
Algeria are almost completed.
- Ownership: Nepad is a long-term vision that
is African led and owned. Ownership is promoted through broad and deep participation
by all sectors of society, and by tapping into indigenous knowledge or expertise
to define needs and solutions.
Nepad complements the Constitutive
Act by providing a holistic, comprehensive and integrated strategic policy framework
and programme of action. According to a 2005 report by the Economic Commission
for Africa entitled: "Progress towards Good Governance in Africa", there
are four identifiable positive trends on the road to creating capable states in
- Democratic transition: Many African countries have made significant
strides, evolving from authoritarian or military regimes to more democratic arrangements.
Political inclusiveness: Many African countries are seeking to ensure that the
executive and legislative arms of government reflect the profile of their people
in regional, ethnic, racial and religious terms.
- Voice and accountability:
New avenues are being created across Africa to allow citizens to participate in
the political process to express their demands without fear of retribution.
Public financial management and accountability: More countries are running smaller
deficits, meeting their targets for revenue mobilisation, managing their tax systems
more effectively, improving fiscal transparency and creating institutions and
arrangements for better auditing of public funds.
However, the challenges
We need to heed the global warnings of scientists examining
the effects of climate change. If not considered at the outset, these will hinder
our efforts towards sustained development. Scientists have forecast a 2 to 4,5
degrees Celsius warming by 2050 which would cause substantial change in the capacity
of humanity to sustain itself and a report of the American United Nations University
Millennium Project foresees that this would result in falling grain yields, water
tables and expanding desertification on the African continent.
same report argues that, had local initiatives and self-help projects been tied
more closely to government budgets and natural resources management training and
planning co-ordinated at a continental level, Africa would have been better able
to fortify itself. For instance, despite Africa having one third of the world's
major water basins, it is forecast that over the next 20 to 30 years, 25 African
countries are expected to experience water scarcity. Proper systems should be
put in place to upgrade rain-fed systems and thus making greater use of renewal
water resources management.
Another challenge is that Africa's population
will continue to grow.
The recent World Population Ageing Report provides
a description of global trends 1950 to 2050. This report argues that by 2050 Africa
will have the fastest growing population of young people. In 15 countries, mostly
in Africa, "persons under 25 years of age are expected to be the majority
of the population." At the same time, the oldest population will be mostly
in Europe where age groups over 50 years of age will predominate.
is a clear sign of things to come, we need to ask as to what does this mean for
the future, for Africa's future. Indeed this abundance of human capital should
form the base of our own success coupled with an abundance of natural resources.
The young population will be our important resource. We need to invest
in that resource. That is why human resource development is so important for our
continent. We should be able to turn that young population into a pool of skilled
human resource capital that will boost Africa's own development.
of oil especially in the Gulf of Guinea and in Central Africa, Angola Chad, Sudan,
Sao Tome and Principe should allow Africa to leapfrog into sustainable development.
The abundance of raw materials, especially metals and the constant demand of this
and the high price means African Economies can grow. The challenge is to begin
to add value and then export steel instead of iron ore, aluminium instead of bauxite,
jewellery instead of raw diamonds etc.
The partnerships among African countries
are the most important. In the past we have relied too much on the North for development
aid and foreign direct investment (FDI). The FDI has not materialised to the extent
that it meets our expectations. The development aid has decreased despite the
commitments made of 0,7% of Gross Domestic Products (GDP). Other than the few
countries that have benefited from debt relief, the official development assistance
(ODA) has actually decreased.
Market access has also not been realised.
The Doha Development Round is not bringing results. The United States of America
and the European Union (EU) have not made enough movement in the matter of agricultural
subsidies. Our partnership with the North - useful and essential as it is - has
been disappointing. The commitments made in Kananaskis, Canada and subsequent
meetings by the G8, have hardly been implemented.
On the other hand, we
have been strengthening our South-South co-operation. The co-operation between
Africa and China handled properly in a win-win manner, has a lot of potential
both for China and Africa. Co-operation between the African Continent and Asia
are also being revitalised since the Africa-Asia Summit in Bandung in 2005. This
has a lot of potential.
The Africa - South America summit in Nigeria in
2006 ushered in the dawn of a new era of co-operation in Africa - South America
The global African Diaspora Conference due to take place in
South Africa next year is going to put the relations between Africa and its diaspora
on a different footing and raise levels of co-operation.
Africa Forum, IBSA, is an important contribution to South South relations.
has vast amounts of arable land. We can grow enough to be self-sufficient. The
challenge again is whether individually and collectively, we shall be able to
develop our agro processing industries and export value-added agricultural goods.
We have to find resources within our own continent to build our infrastructure
because none of the above will happen without developed transport infrastructure
to move goods and persons. We also need a developed energy infrastructure for
industry as well as ICT for communication.
All these are in line with the
New Partnership for African Development (Nepad).
The long delayed AU-EU
Summit due to take place in December in Portugal is a welcome development. Our
view is that it will only be useful if it redefines our relationship from a Donor-recipient
relationship to a true partnership. If it entrenches old relations as such, it
will be of no use to us.
We believe that our relations with Slovakia can
help to strengthen Nepad. Slovakia has experienced high rates of economic growth
and has a government focused on all its citizens' upliftment and sharing in the
country's economic growth. We believe that there are valuable lessons to be learnt
and best practices to be shared between our two countries that could be of mutual
We also share a common concern as regards security sector reform
that could benefit both our work globally and on the African continent in particular.
Ladies and gentlemen:
Africa is endowed with every tourist attraction
we can think of. This infrastructure also needs to be developed.
is indeed a continent of hope and possibilities. Its future depends on what we,
the Africans, do with it and its possibilities.
South Africa's involvement
is informed by our belief that Africa has to be peaceful secure and stable and
that this can only be achieved if we the Africans take the lead. Confident that
Africa shall prosper, South Africa has become amongst the biggest, if not the
biggest investor in Africa.
We are at the forefront of the launch of the
Pan-African Infrastructure Development Fund. It is aimed at "creating a platform
for basic infrastructure for accelerating growth for sustainable development in
Africa." We hope to launch the Fund during the forthcoming AU Summit in Ghana
at the beginning of next month.
The fund will initially focus on infrastructure
sectors: transportation (roads, rail, ports, and airports), telecoms, water and
energy (gas and electricity). Target size of the fund will be an initial US$1
billion with final fund size to be in the region of US$3 billion and the initial
targeted investors are public sector pension funds on the African continent.
domestic investment coupled with resource mobilisation is an investment in Africa's
The writer Frantz Fanon tells us that each generation must discover
its mission, fulfil it or betray it. South Africa is determined to fulfil its
mission of making the 21st century an African century.
The history of suffering,
of conflict of oppression and discrimination, of slavery has meant that Africans
have had to overcome so much and still have much to overcome, but this means that
we can better contribute to the termination of such practices.
I am reminded
of the words of the African writer, Ben Okri, when he argues that our task must
also be to prepare for an Africa where:
"butterflies and iguanas thrive,
while elephants turn into endangered species, and while even lions growl in their
"There is no such thing as a powerless people.
There are only those who have not seen and have not used their power and will.
It would seem a miraculous feat, but it is possible for the unvalued ones to help
create a beautiful new era in human history.
"New vision should come
from those who suffer most and who love life the most. The marvellous responsibility
of the unheard and the unseen resides in this paradox.
history are not just about the survival of the fittest, but also about the survival
of the wisest, the most adaptive and the most aware."
It is this wisdom
and an awareness of what needs to be done that makes us confident that the future
is indeed in our hands as we prepare the ground for the Africa of the future and
the world of tomorrow.
Part of our responsibility is to ensure that this
is a more inclusive world, a world order characterised by peace and dialogue and
a mutual understanding of how we bring about development, not simply for the North
or for the South, but for all to share the benefits of a common globe.
Issued by: Department of Foreign Affairs
12 June 2007