Statement by H.E. Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, delivered at the Ministerial Session of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit, New Delhi, India, 27 October 2015
Your Excellency, Ms Sushma Swaraj, Minister of the Republic of India
Your Excellency, Mr Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission
Your Excellency, Mr Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Chairperson of the Executive Council of the African Union
Excellencies and members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the onset, let me congratulate the Government and the people of the Republic of India for the warm hospitality that we always receive whenever we visit this beautiful country. I would also like to thank you for hosting the Third India-Africa Forum Summit, which would clearly take us to a new level of political, socio- economic development.
Allow me to express that I personally enjoyed every moment of my stay here in India during my tenure as the High Commissioner of South Africa to India. India and Africa have very strong historical ties. Prior to the colonial era, our people have had very solid relations with each other, especially in the field of trade. We share the icons and heroes, the same past and it is only befitting that we should solidify these ties for the mutual benefit of our nationals.
The coming days will affirm that both India and Africa are ready to craft and drive the future we want. Our continents are unique in that both boast of having a youthful population and face the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
Globally, Africa and India have a good track record of mutually beneficial relations based on partnerships with South-South cooperation as the pillar of our relations. The former Prime Minister of this great democracy, the late Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the pioneers of South-South Co-operation.
Today, India is leading the way in the area of manufacturing, including beneficiation, Information Technology, pharmaceuticals and energy, amongst others. All these are issues that are covered under our continental development framework, Agenda 2063.
We in Africa aspire a continent where development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth. This aspiration calls for youth unemployment to be eliminated and Africa’s youth to be guaranteed full access to education, training, skills and technological development.
Chairperson, my delegation regards India as a partner who can support Africa to successfully implement the Technical, Vocational, Education and Training Strategy (TVET) that was adopted by the African Union. Successful implementation of this Strategy would result in practical skills transfer to our youth and women alike. We therefore have to ensure that the roll-out of this strategy is implemented soon because our Indian partners have vast experience in this regard.
My delegation would like commend the Government of India for playing an instrumental role in supporting the African Union’s flagship projects. This has not only opened and facilitated trade, but it has ensured that for the first time that Africans can trade among themselves. We need to speed up the implementation process of the flagship projects and ensure that we set up a monitoring mechanism that will address these concerns and ensure regular follow-up on both sides.
The Africa-India Framework for Strategic Co-operation has identified key areas of co-operation, which include trade and industry amongst others. In this regard, my delegation fully supports the promotion of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) with Indian business for skills development centres in Africa, in areas such as Information Communication Technology (ICT). The ultimate goal of these skills development units is to train African engineers, technicians, ICT managers and other workers.
The continent of Africa is endowed with a variety of natural resources, which should be beneficiated before they are exported. We have vast land with fertile soil, which could provide for food security in Africa and India. Partnering with India in the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) would promote agro-processing industries on the continent.
African and India continue to cooperate in fora such as the G77 and China, where they have made notable contributions over the years to the effective functioning of the multilateral system. In December at the UN Climate Conference in Paris, we hope to adopt a new legal agreement, which is currently being negotiated in terms of the agreements that were reached under the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. Of major importance in the outcome document is the inclusion of the Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) which recognises our different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respects our national policies and priorities.
We further need to put more emphasis on the development of the ocean economy. The ocean is vital to the health of the entire planet and the well-being of humanity: It is a major source of food for the people of Africa and India, it is imperative that we tap into the benefits of the blue economy not only for our survival but for our future generations.
I thank you.
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