Keynote Address by H.E Luwellyn Landers, Deputy Minister of  International Relations and Cooperation to the South African Youth Consultative Conference on AU AGENDA 2063 Pretoria, South Africa

11 July 2014

Mr Tshepo Mashiane, Programme Director
Ms Maud Dlomo, Deputy Director General
Mr Saki Moshapo, Deputy Chairperson, NYDA
Ms Mandu Mallane, Executive Director, SALGA
Mr Thulani Tshefuta, President, SAYC
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates and participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to address this distinguished gathering.  I wish to thank you all for giving of your time to participate in this historic process to write a new African narrative for the next half century.

Last year the African Union turned fifty.  As part of its Golden Jubilee Celebrations, the Heads of State and Government of the African Union, during their 21st Ordinary Session in May 2013, adopted a very special Solemn Declaration.

In the Declaration, which the Government of South Africa played an important role in producing, the Assembly rededicated themselves to the continent’s accelerated development and technological progress. They implored the African people to pick up the gauntlet and work to define the next Fifty years. This, they unequivocally agreed, should be done in a manner that is people-centred and people-driven.

The Declaration, amongst other things, seeks to ensure that Africa occupies its rightful place within the family of nations, writes its own narrative and determines its own destiny.
 It is against this background that the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union identified eight key areas that constitute the basis of their commitment and declaration towards servicing the African Continent and her people:

  • African Identity and Renaissance
  • The struggle against colonialism and the right to self-determination of people still under colonial rule
  • The Integration Agenda
  • Agenda for social and economic development
  • Peace and security
  • Democratic Governance
  • Determining Africa’s Destiny
  • Africa’s place in the world

African leaders pledged to articulate and align these ideals and goals with their respective national development plans in the development of the Continental Agenda 2063. Through their declaration on the above key areas, the African Heads committed to use their authority and influence to act together with their Peoples and the African Diaspora to realise the vision of Pan Africanism and African Renaissance.

By this resolute commitment, Africa has set herself on a path to renewal and the creation of a better life for her peoples.  In the AU’s own words ‘Agenda 2063, is an approach to how the continent  should  effectively learn from lessons of the past, build on the progress currently underway and strategically exploit all possible opportunities available in the short, medium and long term so as to ensure positive socio-economic transformation within the next fifty years’. 

In line with their Declaration that Agenda 2063 should be people-centred and driven, the Heads of State and Government mandated the African Union Commission to conduct consultations across the continent with the purpose of ensuring that all stakeholders make inputs into the development and implementation of Agenda 2063, thus ensuring its ownership by the African people themselves.
It is within this context that this Conference is taking place today. Its purpose is to solicit inputs from the South African youth on what should constitute Agenda 2063.  Our objective is to draw out the key issues and proposals that the youth of our country perceive as critical for Agenda 2063 to succeed. 

We are fully cognisant that the young people of today are the main players and partners if we wish to move the process of development of the continent forward, and that the vision projected in Agenda 2063 can only be achieved through the active engagement and participation of the African youth who will actually be delivering to the younger generation 50 years hence.  It is only by harnessing the energy and dynamism of our young people that we will achieve our objective of an Africa that is flourishing and at peace with itself.
For these reasons, we seek a firm commitment from young people, both in our country and throughout the continent, to the vision of a prosperous and peaceful Africa by 2063.

Programme Director, there is no better way to emphasise the importance of your participation in the crafting and implementation of Agenda 2063 than the words expressed by the current Chairperson of the African union Commission, H.E Dr Dlamini Zuma, on African Youth Day on 1st November 2013.  She stated, and I quote, ‘A key component of our call, today, is for young people to take ownership of this vision of a prosperous and peaceful continent. As recommended by the framework of Agenda 2063, our invitation on this day is for young people to work with us at all levels for a common goal – a desire for accelerated progress on the continent. Ownership of this vision ensures that young people take their future, our collective futures, into their hands. It means that young people are active and engaged to meaningfully participate in the conception, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Agenda 2063’

Your input into this Agenda is highly sought and appreciated. Our government, under the leadership of President Zuma, fully supports the commitment taken by our African Leaders and calls upon African People both on the continent and in the Diaspora to give impetus to this continental move to put Africa on a new trajectory of development.  Agenda 2063, at its essence, should be about the improvement of the lives of the African People and an African continent that is self-reliant, self-sustaining and at peace with itself and the world around it.  A true story of an “Africa Rising”. 

We believe that the fundamentals to achieve these goals are already in place. Africa has seen unprecedented growth over the past decade.  However, for this growth to have lasting benefits, it should be anchored by accelerated and tangible economic development.  African citizens and society have a key role to play to make this a reality.

 This South African consultative process of today marks the start of preparations for the country’s input into the AU process. This consultation will be followed by other similar consultations with academia, business, women, civil-society and the cultural sector. These consultations are a signpost of the commitment of our country towards the process of the development of the continent and the global defense of the interests of Africa and all Africans.
It is our expectation that this meeting will deliberate in a very concrete way on the programme and schedule of the implementation of Agenda 2063 at both national and continental levels, its expected outcomes and the means for its sustenance. Our broad hope is that the outcomes of this process will, together with similar initiatives of other AU Members, strengthen and support the ongoing efforts of the Commission to implement this Agenda.

Finally, I must emphasize that the continent of Africa and its people have great expectations from this process and that each and every participant here must bear this in mind as they approach the deliberations today and others that will follow.

On this note, I am happy to conclude by wishing you all productive, focused and rewarding deliberations. I am confident that this will be one of a series of results-oriented “quality dialogues” that will promote the accomplishment of the objectives of Agenda 2063.

I thank you

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