Statement of the President of South
Africa, Thabo Mbeki, at the Opening of the NEPAD Stakeholders
Dialogue: Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, 22
Your Excellency, President Obasanjo, President of the
Republic of Nigeria and Chairperson of the African Union
and the NEPAD Implementation Committee,
Your Excellency, President Wade, President of the Republic
of Senegal and Vice-Chairperson of the Implementation
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Welcome to South Africa and welcome to this NEPAD Multi-Stakeholders
Dialogue. I hope this dialogue will help all of us to
play our part and help accelerate the implementation
of all NEPAD programmes.
As we all know, the African continent is currently
engaged in a deep and fundamental renewal process. The
over-arching objective of this process is to break the
vicious cycle of political instability, poverty, and
underdevelopment, as well as Africa's weak capacity
to defend and advance her interests in the global arena.
In this regard, the key building blocks of this renaissance
strategy are increased political unity and concerted
action through the African Union, and accelerated socio-economic
transformation through the AU programme, The New Partnership
for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
The establishment of the AU through the Constitutive
Act, with its profound vision and progressive principles,
has generated high expectations for rapid political,
social and economic progress.
It was therefore important that this profound vision
and progressive principles contained in the Constitutive
Act, were complemented by a holistic, comprehensive
and integrated strategic policy framework and programme
of action on development. This is what NEPAD does.
The Constitutive Act sets out the core values and principles
that are necessary if our continent is to achieve democracy
and economic development, while NEPAD seeks to implement
these values and principles in a concrete manner.
Many factors have an impact on the possibility for
development in Africa. Some of these factors that are
important for development are peace, security and stability.
Accordingly, the leadership of the African continent
saw the importance of breaking the vicious cycle of
wars, conflict and instability which contributes to
a very large degree, to the deep levels of poverty and
In this regard, the AU, is paying particular attention
to the important matters of peace and security. Already,
as we know, the Peace and Security Council has been
established and has started functioning.
Further, the establishment of the Pan African Parliament
ensures that the public representatives of our countries
have an opportunity to engage, in a structured way,
among others, with the challenges of NEPAD.
Indeed, in their sitting recently our continent's public
representatives deliberated on the NEPAD challenges
and the role they would play as African parliamentarians.
Clearly, through these parliamentarians, we would be
able to reach the mass of our people, as these public
representatives report back to their communities about
the many issues that they are discussing, including
NEPAD, and engaging their constituencies. This would
ensure that the mass of our people have the opportunity
to understand NEPAD and therefore be able to make whatever
contribution to the success of NEPAD.
The issues of democracy, good political, economic and
corporate governance, and regional integration are necessary
conditions for development. These necessary conditions,
coupled with other NEPAD priorities such as infrastructure
development; banking and financial standards; agriculture
and market access are creating positive conditions conducive
for better investment, reducing business costs and increasing
Africa's competitiveness in the world economy.
In addition, the AU adopted NEPAD with an express understanding
that this is new partnership for the development of
Africa, which is owned, managed and driven by Africans,
has a huge responsibility to end the centuries of poverty
and underdevelopment brought about by the brutal system
of slavery, colonial conquest of Africans and their
lands, exploitation of African resources and marginalisation
of African people.
Accordingly, it is also very important that we assess
the level of participation by Africans in the programmes
of NEPAD, particularly the involvement of the different
sectors of our African people - the women, youth, businesspeople,
workers, intelligentsia and others, as well as the many
Africans that are now in the Diaspora.
It is also important that we should use this Dialogue
to look at the overall progress that we have made with
regard to the achievements of the various programmes
Although NEPAD's programmes are work-in-progress, there
are many areas where we have made a lot of progress
and I am sure these would be discussed during this Dialogue.
For us to move forward, we need to examine the ground
that we have covered so as to build on the progress
that we have made.
We should also critically examine the areas where we
have not made the required progress and offer suggestions
as to how we can make improvements. One of these areas
is the lack of capacity at regional levels such that
even when we have mobilised the necessary resources,
we are held back by the fact that we cannot translate
some of the good and visionary ideas into concrete implementable
I think this multi-stakeholder dialogue should assist
in working solutions for us to draw on the available
human resource base of the partners that are represented
in this meeting.
Regional integration is very important because as we
all know, African economies are generally small, weak
and fragmented and the majority of countries have relatively
small populations. While there has been some progress
made in achieving regional integration in Africa, there
are still challenges that remain and they need to be
We need to Strengthen Regional Economic Communities
(RECs) including the rationalization of RECs and the
involvement of the private sector and civil society.
We also need to improve macroeconomic frameworks for
development and deeper integration.
We have to improve regional trade by, among others,
eliminating barriers to intra-regional trade.
And we should accelerate physical integration through
There is a need to clarify the relationship between
the RECs and the African Union, particularly as they
relate to mandates.
Clearly, the private sector has a key role to play
in the future development of the continent. We need
increased participation by the private sector in the
NEPAD programmes such as infrastructure development,
the diversification of production and in the drive to
add value to products.
In this regard, public-private partnerships are essential
if NEPAD is to succeed.
I am confident that by systematically working together
- government, business, civil society - we can as Africans,
begin to realise the goals of NEPAD. Further, we need
to strengthen South-South partnerships.
We also need to ensure enduring partnership with the
Your Excellencies, distinguished guest, I am confident
that we are on the right path, because if we look at
the recent history of the continent, at least since
the beginning of the 1990's, democracy and democratic
processes have been on the increase. There is no doubt
that the African people and leaders are committed to
stay this course because many of us fought against colonialism
and apartheid so as to bring democracy to our countries.
Clearly, through the democratic processes on the continent,
the work that the AU is doing through the Pan African
Parliament, the Peace and Security Council, NEPAD and
other processes, I think, we can say that, despite the
occasional setbacks, the renaissance of our continent
is on course.
Once again, on behalf of the government and people
of South Africa, you are welcome to South Africa.
I thank you.
Enquiries: Bheki Khumalo on 083 256 9133 or David Hlabane
082 561 9428.
Issued by The Presidency on October 22, 2004.