Opening Remarks by Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, HE Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim, on the occasion of a Debate with the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on the Global African Diaspora Summit, Parliament, Cape Town, Tuesday, 22 May 2012.

Honourable Chairperson;
Honourable Members of the NCOP;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and gentlemen;

Please allow me to take this opportunity to thank you for the kind invitation to form part of this special Africa Day Debate ahead of the historic Global African Diaspora Summit which will take place in Johannesburg this Friday, 25 May 2012.

This landmark event will be attended by delegations from member states of the African Union and her Diaspora, including the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the MERCOSUR (The Southern Common Market), the Community of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Arab League. In going about their important work this week, African leaders will draw on the outcomes of the Africa Diaspora Ministerial conference co-organised by South Africa, the AU and the CARRICOM in Jamaica in 2005, as well as the important contribution of Conferences of Intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora held in Senegal in 2004 and in Brazil in 2006.

This Summit will be preceded by the Ministerial Meeting which takes place tomorrow in Pretoria. In the past week, our Department also had an opportunity to host a number of Pre-Summit Consultation Meetings with the various stakeholders.

Honourable Chairperson;

The continent values the significant role the African Diaspora played in the struggles against colonialism and apartheid. We continue to perceive the Diaspora as vital in the pursuit for a peaceful and prosperous Africa.

The theme of the Summit is: “Towards the Realisation of a United and Prosperous Africa and its Diaspora”.

The specific aims of the Summit are:

  • create sustainable partnerships between the African Diaspora and the African Continent through a realisable    Programme-of-Action;
  • create sustainable dialogue, partnerships and strengthen Pan-African Solidarity, for a better Africa and her Diaspora; and
  • promote South-South cooperation.

South Africa’s hosting of this Global African Diaspora Summit goes to the very core of our foreign policy objectives, which include our determination to consolidate the African Agenda and strengthen Pan-African solidarity.

Honourable Members
 
The Summit is expected to endorse certain programmatic activities and projects which will be undertaken after the Summit. These include, amongst others,

  • The AU Diaspora Volunteer Programme that would associate the Diaspora directly and urgently with the development efforts on the Continent and give concrete meaning to the concept of one African family;
  • An African Diaspora Development Fund; a legacy project to lower the cost of and leverage Remittances for development; and the creation of new innovative Diaspora-related Financial Instruments.
  • The development of a Skills Database of Diaspora Professionals;
  • The adoption and promotion of the Development Market Place and Youth Development Project to encourage entrepreneurs, particularly youth, in the Diaspora to participate in developing their countries.  

Honourable Chairperson;

Tomorrow, African Foreign Ministers will be meeting to deliberate on the outcomes of the Diaspora Summit, amongst others:

  • The Draft Declaration of the Global African Diaspora Summit;
  • The African Diaspora Programme of Action;
  • The Implementation Plan; and
  • The proposed Legacy Projects.

We must ensure that all these outcomes of the Summit create meaningful, beneficial and sustained partnerships between the African Diaspora and the African continent.  

Honourable Chairperson;

The theme of the Summit “Towards the Realisation of a United and Integrated Africa and its Diaspora”speaks to issues that we should collectively focus on if we are to realize the African Renaissance. It is important to note that this is an on-going process that will require our combined energies if we are to ensure that the values and objectives of Pan-Africanism and the dreams of the stalwarts of the African Diaspora are realised in our lifetime.  I thank you for hosting this debate and look forward to hearing your important contributions in the run up to the Summit later this week.

I thank you

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