Speech by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad on the Occasion of the
Annual Luncheon for West and Central Africa Ambassadors and High Commissioners
to South Africa, Monday 21 May 2007, Pretoria
Our strategic approach
remains the achievement of an international order with greater security, peace,
dialogue and greater equilibrium between poor and rich countries. We are guided
by the principle of a "Better South Africa, a better Africa and a better
Today, there is a growing tendency on the part of some of
the powerful countries, to reduce the complex and inter-related problems of the
world to a militaristic approach to narrow national interests, terrorism and weapons
of mass destruction.
Forced with this reality, Kofi Annan called for a
world order in which "right is might and not might is right".
challenge for Africans is to ensure that "might is not right."
is within this broad context that we have identified three major challenges that
Africa has to deal with.
1.) Poverty Alleviation and Sustainable Development
in South Africa, Africa and the world.
We hope to achieve this in conditions
of the accelerated pace of globalisation. As you are aware, key characteristics
of globalisation have been the liberalisation of international trade, the expansion
of FDI, mass cross-border financial flows and the phenomenal development of information
technology. This has resulted in growing inter-dependence in investments, financial
trade and the organisations trade globally. This has also manifested itself in
unprecedented political and social interaction. All of this impacts on our countries
economic, financial and political sovereignty.
Whilst globalisation is
creating immense opportunities of growth and wealth creation for some, it has
produced an abundance of poverty for millions. Increasingly the world is being
constructed into two contrasting global villages.
The world as a direct
result of globalisation has been cast as a vast ocean of poverty in which a few
islands pf prosperity are to be found. Never before has the world witnessed such
unprecedented alienation and marginalisation of societies from the institutions
that shape and direct their lives.
The 2000 historic UN Millennium Summit
Declaration adopted the Millennium Development Goals.
The Summit resolved
to, inter alia, halve by the year 2015, the proportion of the world's people whose
income is less than one dollar a day and the proportion of people who suffer from
hunger and, by the same date, to halve the proportion of people who are unable
to reach or to afford safe drinking water.
To ensure that, by the same
date, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full
course of primary schooling and that girls and boys will have equal access to
all levels of education.
By the same date, to have reduces maternal mortality
by three quarters, and under-five child mortality by two-thirds, of their current
To have, by then, halted and begun to reverse, the spread of HIV
and AIDS, the scourge of malaria and other major diseases that afflict humanity.
The sad reality is that the MDGs aspirations, to date, have proved to be elusive
because of the lack of political will by many of the developed states to take
the necessary measure to achieve the lofty ideals they so loudly proclaimed.
Today the reality is that:
The world spends approximately 1
trillion dollars (US) a year to make bombs and guns and prepare for war; yet
000 people die daily as a result of poverty and poverty related diseases;
children die every single day before they reach the age of 5 because they do not
have adequate food or medicines. This is 210, 000 children a week - equivalent
to 1 Tsunami each week killing our children;
- In a world of 6 billion
people, 2 billion people live on the poverty line of less than $2 a day and 700
million of them are classified as desperately poor.
1, 5 billion
of our fellow inhabitants have no work.
In recent decades the poorest
5% of the world's population has lost more than a quarter of its purchasing power,
while the richest increased its real income by 12%. The national per capita income
of the twenty richest countries is 37 times larger than that of the twenty poorest,
a gap which has doubled in size over the last forty years.
studies showing improved economic performance in Sub-Saharan Africa, no-where
else is the need for reform of the international system more urgent that in Africa.
40% of Sub-Saharan African people live below the international poverty line of
US$ 1 a day.
- 34 of the world's 41 highly indebted poor countries are
- The cost to Africa of servicing its foreign debt of US 349
billion in 1997 amounted to 21.3% of its earnings from the export of goods and
- Africa with almost one-sixth the world's population accounts
for only one-fiftieth of global trade- and its share is diminishing.
high mineral commodities change prices and the discovery of new oil reserves can
change the bleak picture.
- Only 76% of Africa's children attend primary
school and only 26% go on to secondary school.
Less than 4% receive
tertiary education, compared with 51% in developed countries.
the recent commitments to increase ODA to Africa, in absolute terms, bilateral
ODA flows to African economies have dropped in the last decade and fee well short
of the estimated $ 50 billion a year requires to reach the Millennium Development
Brain drain continues
Some positive assessments
We seek to achieve our MDGs in a world
order that is, inter alia, characterised by:
- Uneven development
between and within countries
- Increasing marginalisation and increasing
poverisation of many countries
- Failure of development round of WTO talks
and tendency for bilateral trade agreements to the detriment of developing countries
- Unprecedented international division of labour
(legal and illegal)
The stark failure to integrate migrants into many
societies and then increasing political, economic and social marginalisation has
resulted in social upheavals, increased xenophobia and racism in many countries
in Europe and also the USA.
- Failure of reform of Bretton Woods Institutions
The challenge that confronts Africa and the rest of the developing world
is how to develop a strategy that will effectively position countries of the South
in a way that will ensure that they make the global agenda relevant to our needs.
Such a strategy should be based on solidarity and partnership of the countries
of the South through integration and co-operation. Their closing of ranks will
result in the developing countries using their amassed strength to turn the global
agenda to be favourable to their interests.
Our countries are integrated
within the global economy. Thus, it is open to the pressures imposed on all medium-sized,
middle-income countries of the South by the objective process of globalisation.
The consolidation of the African Agenda serves
as a pillar upon which our engagement with the international community rests.
This requires a long term commitment to the successful restructuring of our REC's,
strengthening of the AU structures and organs, including the implementation of
the NEPAD and ensuring peace, stability and security in Africa within the framework
of the AU Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development policy (PCRD).
AU Summit held in Banjul, Gambia in July 2006 recognised the pace of integration
on the continent must be accelerated. Africa cannot become a full-fledged member
of the international community without having achieved its own monetary and economic
integration. The mooted formation of an AU Government requires urgent consideration.
African Foreign Ministers meeting in Durban held from 8 - 10 May 2007, to
prepare for the "Grand Debate" Summit to be held in Ghana at the end
of June 2007.
Today, Africans are appealing neither for the further entrenchment
of dependency through aid, nor for marginal concessions. We are convinced that
an historic opportunity presents itself to end the scourge of under-development
that afflicts Africa. The resources, including capital, technology and human skills,
that are required to launch a global war on poverty and under-development exist
in abundance and within our reach. What is required to mobilise these resources
and use them properly, is bold and imaginative leadership that is genuinely committed
to a sustained human development effort and the eradication of poverty, as well
as a new global partnership based on shared responsibility and mutual interest.
all weaknesses, obstacles and challenges, there is a major transformation process
that is taking place on the African continent that is anchored on key principles
of African ownership and leadership, self reliance and a new partnership with
the developed and developing world that is based on mutual respect, responsibility
This effort of African leaders to wrestle Africa out
of its present conditions of stagnation has found its ultimate expression in the
new partnership for Africa's Development, NEPAD.
The NEPAD sectoral programmes
cover many priorities such as agriculture, science and technology, human development,
industrialisation, transport, environment, economic integration etc. Taken in
totality, they address the important objectives of self -reliance and the internal
and regional integration, conflict prevention, management and resolution, political,
economic and corporate governance, protection and promotion of democracy and human
rights and people-centred development.
vehicle for achieving the aims of NEPAD is the AU, which was launched in Durban
2002 to replace the OAU.
The key institutions have been operationalised:
- The Executive and Permanent Representative Committee
Parliament (SA has 5 representatives). We are hosting the Headquarters of PAP
is progressing on operationalising the other institutions, viz,
Social and Cultural Civil Society
- Court of Justice
- African Central
- African Monetary Fund
- African Investment Bank
structures are the building blocks of NEPAD.
SADC has adopted a time frame
for its integration process.
- The formation of a Free Trade Area
- The completion of negotiations of the SADC Customs Union by 2010
completion of negotiations of the SADC Common Market by 2015
- The diversification
of industrial structures and exports with more emphasis on value addition across
all economic sectors by 2015
- Increase in intra-regional trade to at least
35% by 2008;
- Increase in manufacturing as a % of GDP to 25% by 2015
As South Africa, we are very happy to witness the important developments taking
place in the West Africa & Central Africa region. The continuing efforts by
the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) to bring lasting peace to
Cote d'Ivoire, which led to the signing of the Ouagadougou Peace Agreement between
the warring parties and the ongoing removal of the Zone of Confidence dividing
this sister country; the pending transfer of power from President Olusegun Obasanjo
to President-elect Alhaji Musa Yar'Adua in Nigeria; the democratic and peaceful
elections in Senegal and Mali; the ongoing efforts to stabilize the situation
in the Republic of Guinea; the ongoing efforts to resolve the Chad-Sudan-Central
African Republic cross border conflict; all of these point to a region that is
taking measures aimed at a peaceful resolution of conflict and embracing democracy.
Let us again congratulate the countries of the region individually and collectively
through ECOWAS and CEMAC for their efforts to ensure that the region leads by
example in making Africa a continent we can all be proud of.
As far as
Liberia is concerned, South Africa will continue to support the Post Conflict
Reconstruction Process currently underway, though both multi-lateral and bi-lateral
channels. During 2007, we hope to launch the Freetown electricity re-generation
project that will contribute to the stability of electricity supply in this historic
For our part, we look forward to another year of intensifying
relations with countries of the region. In March, President Mbeki undertook a
working visit to Benin that laid the basis for bi-lateral co-operation. This was
followed by his attendance of Ghana's 50th anniversary of independence in Accra.
Last year we launched a Joint Commission of Co-operation with the Republic of
Guinea and held the second session of the South Africa-Mali Joint Commission of
Co-operation; early this year we signed agreements for the establishment of Joint
Commissions of Co-operation with Burkina Faso and Niger. We also launched a Joint
Commission with Ghana. We intend to do more
This year we look forward to
hosting the inaugural session of the South Africa-Senegal Joint Commission of
Bilateral Co-operation, arrange the third session of the South Africa-Gabon Joint
Commission of Co-operation, inaugurate the South Africa-Equatorial Guinea Joint
Commission of Co-operation, hold a Special Implementation Committee meeting with
officials of the government of Nigeria in preparation for the 7th Session of the
Bi-National Commission, and host a meeting of senior government officials in preparation
for a Joint Commission of Co-operation with the Republic of Congo. We have already
sent officials to Malabo to lay the ground work for Minister Dlamini-Zuma's visit
to the country. Senior government officials have also just returned from Bangui
where they held consultations with relevant stakeholders on the Central African
Republic's Post-Conflict Reconstruction Programme. South Africa intends to launch
a Joint Co-operation Commission with the Republic of Cameroon following the successful
visit of Minister Mpahlwa and the signing of the General Co-operation Agreement
during 2006. In an effort to build closer ties with countries of the region and
expand our Diplomatic representation, South Africa will also be opening Diplomatic
Missions in Niamey, Cotonou, and Bissau during 2007/08.
We must increase
economic relations between SADC and ECOWAS. The challenge is to change structures
of our economies; the responsibility of more developed countries.
road ahead is going to be long and difficult. We are going to take 2 or 3 steps
forwards and possibly 1 step back at a time but Africa is clearly on the right
Africans also have to deal
with democracy, good governance and human rights. However we believe that democracy
cannot be "force-fed", but must develop with the realities of each country.
Through the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), NEPAD introduces a voluntary
instrument for monitoring compliance with the principles, priorities and objectives
of the Constitutive Act and other decisions of the AU. It provides a mechanism
for peer learning and the sharing of information and best practice. Participation
in the APRM is voluntary. 24 countries have joined. 2 countries have been reviewed.
SA is presently being reviewed.
Some of the questions that Africans must
- What must we do to ensure stability, democracy and inclusive
political, economic and social systems in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-faith
- What conflict resolution mechanisms should we put
in place so that competing interests in our diverse societies do not lead to violent
conflict and instability?
- Given the long-standing continental decision
to respect the colonial boundaries we inherited, how should we manage the reality
that since these political boundaries divides families and entire communities,
so that they do not become a factor of conflict and instability?
should we design our political systems to obviate the possibility of resort to
undemocratic means to gain political power or resolve disputes, including the
use of violent means and resort to coups d'etat;
- What mechanisms
and procedures should we put in place to ensure that the AU is able to assist
all member states of the Union to honour their obligations as defined in the Constitutive
Act of the AU and the Conventions and Protocols approved by the Union?
What should we do to complete the anti-colonial revolution by eradicating all
vestiges of the legacy of colonialism, including the repudiation of neo-colonialism;
What are the appropriate socio-economic programmes we should adopt to ensure the
sustained and sustainable development of our societies within the context of NEPAD
and the process of globalisation; and
The uneven distribution of the benefits of globalisation, the imbalance of
power between North and South and lack of sustainable development in most of the
countries of the South, has challenged the developing countries to formulate strategies
that would help them to level the playing field.
In advancing the agenda
of Africa and the South, we must continue to actively engage and co-operate with
like -minded countries in regional and sub-regional groupings of the South, such
as NAM, G77+China, etc.
2. The second major challenge that Africa
is facing is:
Peace and Security; threats to international peace and
security and the restructuring of global exercise of power.
third major challenge we face is to restructuring of the global exercise of power
Growing influence of non-state actors in international relations e.g. trans-national
corporations, NGOs, think-tanks
In Conclusion, Your Excellencies,
The new world order that is emerging is unsustainable. In the interest
of humanity we must intensify our efforts to build an international movement to
fight for a world of peace, democracy, freedom from poverty, non-racism and non-sexism
We must address the concerns of the billions of people in the world who are
We must seek the path of hope and solidarity, pursuing effective
constructive dialogue amongst peoples of the world on mutual interests, benefits
and a shared responsibility to the common issues that confronts humanity. This
movement must indicate respect for international law and promote multilateralism
as means to seeking consensus in the affairs of the world".
just, equitable and peaceful world order demands that Africans must unite in our
efforts to attain the objectives, goals and programmes agreed to at the Millennium
Summit. The attainment of the Millennium Goals, the implementation of the programmes
that emerged out of the World Conference against Racism, Xenophobia and Related
Intolerance (WCAR), the World Food Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD),
which are all central to the challenge of the development of countries of the
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