Speech by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad on Regional Integration - Opportunities And Challenges, Africa Day, 25 May 2007, Johannesburg

This year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the independence of Ghana, an event that was to have a profound impact on millions of people throughout our continent.

It is also the 5th anniversary of the founding of the AU. As we meet today to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Africa Day, I am reminded of the pain, conflict, the shame of poverty and human degradation, the optimism and confidence of millions in our continent, as so poignantly proclaimed by President Mbeki in his inauguration speech to the SA Parliament. I quote :

" 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 experience is a pain I also bear.
The dismal shame of poverty, suffering and human degradation of my continent is a blight that we share.
The 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.
This 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 stops 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 say today: Nothing can stop us now! "
President Mbeki [Africa the time has come]

As we seek to meet these challenges we have to look critically at a number of important factors including:

  • The dominance of one major power and the absence of a balance of power in the global system;
  • The continuing move to unilateralism and the weakening of the multilateral system;
  • The stark failure of attempts at UN reforms;
  • Failure to challenge the hegemony of neo-liberalism
  • The failure to develop a response to globalization, which will ensure that it benefits all.
  • Uneven development between and within countries
  • Increasing marginalisation and increasing poverisation of many countries
  • Failure of development round of WTO talks
  • Unprecedented international division of labour
  • No amount of measures will stop the tide of Africans, desperate to escape poverty and underdevelopment, from seeking to find better pastures in Europe. Europe can't be an island of prosperity in a sea of poverty
  • Failure of reform of Bretton Woods Institutions

Our dream of making the 21st century the African century.

"We must recognise that global poverty constitutes the deepest and most dangerous structural fault in the contemporary world economy and global societies. It constitutes the most challenging structural fault. Logically, this means that the correction of this fault has to be at the centre of the politics, policies and programmes of progressive thinking."
[President Mbeki]

We hope to achieve this in conditions of the accelerated pace of globalisation.

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.

In 2000 the historic Millennium Summit Declaration proclaimed that "we believe that the central challenge we face today is to ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for all the world's people. For, while globalization offers great opportunities, at present its benefits are very unevenly shared, while its costs are unevenly distributed. We recognize that developing countries and countries with economies in transition face special difficulties in responding to this central challenge. Thus, only through broad and sustained efforts to create a shared future, based upon our common humanity in all its diversity, can globalization be made fully inclusive and equitable."

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.

By the same date, to have reduces maternal mortality by three quarters, and under-five child mortality by two-thirds, of their current rates.

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.


Despite recent 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.

[Kofi Annan] "With the number of chronically hungry people on the rise around the globe and living standards in some countries diminishing instead of improving, the world is falling a long way short in its drive to achieve the Millennium Development Goals."

What is Africa's reality?

  • Over 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 in Africa.
  • 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 services.
  • Africa with almost one-sixth the world's population accounts for only one-fiftieth of global trade- and its share is diminishing.
  • The 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.

Despite the recent commitments to increase ODA to Africa, in absolute terms, bilateral ODA flows to African economies have dropped in the last decade and is well short of the estimated $ 50 billion a year requires to reach the Millennium Development Goals.

  • Capital flights continue
  • Brain drain continues


Clearly the vast majority of Sub-Saharan African countries will not meet the MDG's.

What is to be done?

The consolidation of the African Agenda serves as a pillar upon which we seek to achieve our developmental goals. 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).

The 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 Assembly
  • The Executive and Permanent Representative Committee
  • Pan-African Parliament (SA has 5 representatives). We are hosting the Headquarters of PAP


Work is progressing on operationalising the other institutions, viz,

  • Economic Social and Cultural Civil Society
  • Court of Justice
  • African Central Bank
  • African Monetary Fund
  • African Investment Bank


Sub-regional structures are the building blocks of NEPAD.

Today I will speak about integration in SADC. I am sure that in many ways it reflects what is happening in all our RECs.

SADC is the primary vehicle for South African policy and action to achieve regional integration and development within all priority development sectors. SADC is recognised as a building block of the AU and serves as a key NEPAD implementing agent. It is an objective of the South African government to seek to enhance the capacity of SADC in order for it to provide a framework within which each member state would have the opportunity to reach its full potential in terms of peace, security, stability and economic and social development, as well as civil society participation and gender equity.

SADC's Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) is the regional expression of NEPAD priorities and objectives, which will ensure that the SADC's development agenda works in tandem with the AU. RISDP is also brought into relation to the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation is concerned with regional defence and security matters, including issues such as drug trafficking, conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction.

The Extraordinary SADC Summit held in Midrand on 23 October 2006 was convened for the specific purpose of reviewing the status of regional economic integration in Southern Africa, and to propose measures to accelerate the implementation of the SADC economic integration agenda The Summit reaffirmed its commitment to regional economic development and underlined the need to mobilise resources in order to address issues of infrastructure, food security and other supply side challenges within the Southern African region.

The Summit noted that it is through the development of supportive infrastructure that the regional trade potential can be harnessed to the benefit of the people of the region. The Summit recognised the need for complementary instruments and policies to support the regional economic integration process, in order to achieve high and sustainable economic growth and development in order to eradicate poverty. To this end, the Summit urged all member states to formulate policies to forge convergence of SADC economies. The Summit reaffirmed the need to ensure that the process of deepening integration in SADC must always observe the principle of member states' equity, balanced development and mutual benefit.

The Summit also noted that SADC's trade patterns consisted mainly of commodities, to which end there was a need to diversify the economies of SADC member states and increase intra-regional trade and growth. In addition, the Summit noted that the establishment of the SADC Free Trade Area within SADC must take cognisance of developmental integration elements such as infrastructure, poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Of particular significance, the Summit concluded that the SADC Free Trade Area programme was on course and that it will be launched, as planned, by 2008.

The Summit underscored the need for SADC to scale-up the implementation of its regional integration agenda. The Summit reiterated that RISDP and SIPO are the main instruments for scaling-up regional integration in SADC.

President Mbeki articulated the priority areas within SADC as follows:

  • Promotion of macro-economic convergence around agreed indicators;
  • Progress in terms of infrastructure development cooperation programmes, Spatial Development Initiatives and sectoral programmes;
  • Achievement of some level of harmonisation of industrial development strategies and competition policies, as called for in the SADC Trade Protocol; and,
  • Elaboration of a detailed and realistic Activity Matrix necessary to create the SADC Free Trade Area, to include processes to achieve balanced, mutually beneficial regional economic integration.

    SADC has adopted a time frame for its integration process.
  • The formation of a Free Trade Area by 2008
  • The completion of negotiations of the SADC Customs Union by 2010
  • The 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
    o Increase in intra-regional trade to at least 35% by 2008;
  • Increase in manufacturing as a % of GDP to 25% by 2015


The Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan is indicative benchmarks and not prescriptive.

As such, the target dates could be aspired to, and should not be cast in stone. We must use our political will to effectively and efficiently to provide the momentum-driver in the area of trade/economic liberalisation and development, which will provide for the free movement of goods, services and factors of production, and intra-regional investment and foreign direct investment.

We are concerned at the lack of momentum-drivers regarding the development of efficient infrastructure and services to facilitate the free movement of people, goods and services across the region. This falls primarily within the ambit of member states' sovereignty, which states are unwilling to compromise despite the necessity to accrue regional benefits through integration.

In all SADC member states, and in particular South Africa (because of its centrality in the regional development and integration process), there is an urgent need to focus the implementation of RISDP towards spatial development initiatives (development corridors, growth triangles, growth centres and transfrontier conservation areas).

There is an urgent need for a closer alignment and mutual reinforcement of South Africa's multilateral and bilateral priorities within Southern Africa. The aim of this approach should be to give actual effect to South Africa's stated intention that its efforts in Southern Africa should be aimed at '… the maximisation of the potential of each SADC member state in terms of security and stability; economic and social development and civil society interaction…'; in support of the revitalisation of the SADC development and integration agenda, in particular the effective operationalisation of RISDP, SIPO (Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ) and NEPAD'.

It is imperative that attention be given to the implementation of all SADC Protocols. This implies an aggressive action plan that will examine the extent to which South Africa has achieved implementation. Furthermore, this must be a priority in multilateral and bilateral engagements with SADC countries.


The objectives of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development through efficient productive systems, deeper integration and cooperation, good governance, and durable peace and security, in order for Southern Africa to emerge as a competitive and effective player in international relations and the world economy. To this end, SADC pursues a development integration approach, recognising the political and economic diversities of the constituent member states, including their diverse production structures, trade patterns, resource endowments, development priorities, institutional affiliations, and resource allocation mechanisms.

SADC strives for the achievement of balanced and equitable regional integration as a fundamental condition for:

  • The sustained and sustainable development of the Southern African region;
  • The shared success in freeing the ordinary working people of the region from the scourges of unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment;
  • Creating a firm basis for the region successfully to respond to the challenges of globalisation, including strengthening South-South relations of equitable and mutually beneficial cooperation;
  • The creation of the possibility for Southern Africa to make its necessary contribution as a region to the vitally important project of African integration and unity; and
  • The region's related capacity to contribute to the emergence of a new world order that would fully restore Africa and the African Diaspora to their rightful place among the world community of nations.


SADC therefore serves as the primary vehicle for South African foreign policy and action to achieve regional development and integration within Southern Africa.

In November 2006, President Thabo Mbeki remarked:

'……, we must make the point that this integration is not an end in itself. It is an important part of the objective shared by SADC member states, as rapidly as possible to reduce poverty and underdevelopment, improve the lives of all our people and achieve balanced and shared growth and development for the countries of our region. It therefore follows that the steps we must take along the path to integration cannot be measured just against technical indicators but by the extent to which they contribute to our shared developmental goals'.

In May 2006, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Report 'Assessing Regional Integration in Africa'. ECA stated that Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa lacked dynamism because of the actions (and inactions) of their member states. According to ECA, a deeper understanding of the situation in the RECs was feasible only after exploring how regional integration processes are viewed and implemented at the national level. ECA found that agreed integration objectives were not adequately internalised, and that delays in ratifying protocols were inclined to hamper the timely implementation of decisions. Broad-based support for integration was lacking, relegating civil society and the private sector to the role of being spectators to the process. To this end, it was ECA's conclusion that African governments should review their organisational structures in order to implement their regional agreements.

ECA also found that, in the majority of African countries, regional cooperation did not proceed beyond signing treaties and protocols. Specifically, there was no inclination by member states to integrate the objectives of the treaties within the required timeframes, or with the requisite commitment in national development plans, or in the sectoral programmes of appropriate line-function ministries and departments. ECA found that the inability to translate REC goals into budgets and national plans could also be attributed to lack of commitment to integration. Where political commitment existed, it was easier for a country to draw up its national development plans, strategies, and programmes with regional considerations and with the regional market as the point of reference.

Despite 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 and accountability.

The regional process of economic integration must be viewed within the context of the continental efforts towards economic and political integration. It will be recalled that the AU Heads of State and Government at their meeting held in Sirte, Libya in July 2005, reaffirmed that the ultimate goal of the African Union is to realise a full political and economic integration leading to the United States of Africa. The Union Government was envisaged to have identifiable goals based on a set of clear, shared values and common interests. In order to effectively drive the African integration agenda, South Africa must ensure that the regional and continental processes are complementary and mutually supportive.

The 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.

An African Foreign Ministers meeting was held in Durban from 8 - 10 May 2007, to prepare for the "Grand Debate" Summit to be held in Ghana at the end of June 2007.

This effort of African leaders to wrestle Africa out of its present conditions of underdevelopment 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.

Chairperson


Kofi Annan: "We will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights."

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.

Chairperson

According to the latest Amnesty International report

"Our world is as polarised as it was at the height of the Cold War and in many ways far more dangerous….

The politics of fear is fuelling a downward spiral of human rights abuses in which no rights are sacrosanct. ….The USA administration is treating the word as one giant battlefield for its war on terror."

We must interrogate this report to determine whether it is correct and what the consequences will be on our developmental agenda.
International paradigm today :

  • End of the Cold War
  • Emergence of a hegemonic super-power
  • No peace dividends in the post Cold war period
  • Sept 11, 2001 yet another decisive moment
  • Ascendancy of Neo-Conservatives
  • National Security Strategy Document (Nov 2001)



We are now confronted with concepts such as :

  • " Axis of Evil"
  • "Rogue States"
  • "Failed States"



Any country that falls within any one of these categories will be vulnerable to unilateral preventative action and regime change.

To justify such actions, which are in violation of the UN Charter and International law, concepts have been introduced such as:

  • "Clash of Civilisations"
  • "Religious crusades"
  • Islamo- Fascism"



.What then is the reality that we have to confront presently?

  • No common vision of global security
  • Disregard for the UN Charter and international Law
  • Environmental degradation, energy security, HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases
  • The transformation of the very nature of war as witnessed in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Space war" is also becoming a reality.
  • Globalisation of crime and drug syndicates
  • Unprecedented growth of Anti-Americanism and the consequent Unprecedented spread of terrorism and their potential links with weapons of mass destruction



It is in this context that we must look at African conflicts

1.1 African Conflicts

  • Burundi
  • Sudan
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Somalia
  • Western Sahara
  • Zimbabwe
  • DRC


Organisational Structure

  • Peace and Security Council
  • African Standby Force
  • Committee of the Wise
  • Early Warning


Chairperson


Can we have a "better South Africa, a better Africa, a better world" if we do not fundamentally restructure the global political and economic governance.

George Monbiot in his latest book, The Age of Consent: a manifesto for a new global order, correctly points out that up until now:

"Everything has been globalised except our consent.

A handful of men in the richest nations use the global powers they have assumed to tell the rest of the world how to live."

He tells us that this "Age of Coercion" needs to be replaced by an "Age of Consent" and that we need "to discover the means of introducing a new world order, in which the world's institutions are run by and for their people."

We seek to transform the global exercise of power in a world order that is characterised, inter alia, by:

  • Unilateralism vs. rules based global system (erosion of multilateralism)
  • Networks and alliances based on specific issues (e.g. "coalition of the willing")
  • Narrow national interests and the tendency to make the fight against terrorism the overarching framework for dealing with the complex problem humanity faces, often supersede adherence to international law and has a major negative impact on Africa's stability, security and developmental agenda.


A major study, "The rule of Power or the rule of Law by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and the Committee for Nuclear Policy concluded that the "USA has violated, compromised or acted to undermine in some crucial way every treaty that we have studied in detail, including the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. According to the report, the USA is "devising a way from regarding treaties as an essential element in global security to a more opportunistic standoff abiding by treaties only when it is convenient".

  • Unequal world trading and financial systems


Kofi Annan (Sept 2006)
"We face a world whose divisions threaten the very notion of an international community upon which the UN stands for.

The events of last 10 years have not resolved but sharpened the challenges of our unjust world economy, world disorder and contempt for human rights and the rule of law".

Why?

President Mbeki: Perhaps the mistake we made was to assure that contemporary distribution of power in human society would permit this outcome seen that regardless of this fundamental consideration, it would be possible for the concerns of the poor to take precedence on the global agenda and the global programme of action. However, "because of the space the powerful occupy, relative to the power equation, what they decide will necessary constitute the global decision of what constitute the central, principal and most urgent threat and challenge to human society, necessitating various changes in the global system of governance. What they will decide will translate into a set of obligatory injunctions issues by the UN, which all member states will have to accept and implement".

We comforted or perhaps deluded ourselves with the thought that this organisation is the most universal and most representative organisation in the world. Afraid to ask the question is it?

The challenge facing Africans is how do we make the UN the "most universal and representative organisation" so that the fundamental challenges we have identified can be successfully dealt with.

The challenge, inter alia, demands urgent reforms to make the UN more relevant to current realities. There is a need to transform all the organs of the UN to enable it to become more streamlined, efficient, effective, transparent and representative.

o We therefore firmly support the restructuring of the UN and all its related institution- the GA, the Security Council, the Bretton Woods Institutions- ECOSOCC, WHO, and the WTO.

o Africa must also intensify all efforts for the transformation of other multilateral institutions- the Non-Aligned Movement, the Commonwealth, The Socialist International, G77+ China

Conclusion

The new world order that is emerging is unsustainable. In the interest of humanity we must address the concerns of the billions of people in the world who are marginalised.

The Millennium Declaration identified fundamental values that were essential to international relations in the twenty-first century, these included:

  • Freedom. The right to live in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression or injustice.
  • Equality. All must have the opportunity to benefit from development.
  • Solidarity. Distribution of costs and burdens fairly in accordance with basic principles of equity and social justice.
  • Tolerance. Respect for diversity of belief, culture and language. Differences should be cherished as an asset of humanity. Promote a culture of peace and dialogue among all nations.
  • Respect for nature. Prudent management of all living species and natural resources, in accordance with the precepts of sustainable development. Only in this way can the immeasurable riches provided to us by nature be preserved and passed on to our descendants. The current unsustainable patterns of production and consumption must be changed in the interest of our future welfare and that of our descendants.
  • Shared responsibility. Responsibility for managing worldwide economic and social development, as well as threats to international peace and security, must be shared among the nations of the world and should be exercised multilaterally. The United Nations must play the central role.


"..all Africa has this single aim; our goal is a united Africa in which the standards of life and liberty are constantly expanding; in which the ancient legacy of illiteracy and disease is swept aside; in which the dignity of man is rescued from beneath the heels of colonialism which have trampled it." [Albert Luthuli accepting the Nobel Peace Prize 1961]

46 years later what has been achieved? What remains to be done?

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

25 May 2007

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