Address by Deputy President Jacob Zuma
to Members of the Polish Chamber of Commerce and of
the African Diplomatic Community, Warsaw, Poland, 13
The Chairperson of the Polish Chamber of Commerce,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
South African Ambassador to Poland, Ms Mji,
Members of the Polish Business Community,
Members of the African Diplomatic Group,
We are delighted to have this opportunity to interact
with you, on my very first visit to this beautiful country
as Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa.
We are heartened by the warmth and friendliness of
the Poles. It has made us feel at home indeed.
Allow me to begin by thanking the Polish Chamber of
Commerce for co-hosting this discussion with the business
leadership in Warsaw. We already have a good foundation
of sound economic relations between our two countries,
and we trust that our visit and interaction today will
assist to further consolidate and promote our bilateral
I must emphasise that we are encouraged by the volume
of trade between our two countries, which at the moment
accounts for over 100 million US dollars worth of goods
and services, and which is recording a steady increase.
We commend the several South African and Polish enterprises
that are already playing an important role in the promotion
of economic relations between the two countries, through
trade and investments.
South African companies have invested in Poland in
the beverage, pulp, paper and furniture manufacturing
industries. Polish companies on the other hand are involved
in South Africa in the hospitality industry, the production
of aircraft, heavy industrial equipment; mine rescue
systems, pharmaceuticals and glassware.
While welcoming the current economic activity, we believe
there is still a lot more that can be done to increase
trade and investments in a number of areas, for example
in science and technology.
Co-operation in the field of science and technology
between our two countries is excellent, on a government-to-government
level, and our respective business sectors could find
areas of engagement in this field.
I would like to also emphasise, ladies and gentlemen,
that the economic relations between our two countries
occur within the overall framework and vision of the
New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
In light of that, I would like to use this opportunity
to congratulate Poland on this country's accession to
the European Union on May 1st, this year.
We have noted that as a new member of the EU, Poland
has pledged readiness to become involved in the existing
mechanism of the EU co-operation with Africa. We appreciate
that commitment, given the challenges that the African
continent faces, of poverty and underdevelopment.
Africa is ready and committed to working with development
partners in Europe and elsewhere, to achieve sustainable
development through NEPAD.
The programme is designed to marshal the resources
of the continent, in partnership with both the developing
and developed world, to respond to the challenge of
poverty and underdevelopment in a manner that is holistic
The NEPAD programme seeks to achieve the implementation
of development projects in order for the continent to
meet internationally agreed targets in the following
fields to mention a few:
- Agriculture and food security;
- Health especially in dealing with diseases such
as malaria, TB, HIV and Aids, polio,
- Infrastructure - telecommunications, Information
and communications technology, rail, air and sea transport
- Market access for African products.
A number of projects are in the implementation phase
already in the various fields, and detailed information
would be available through our embassy.
In our partnership with the developed world, a number
of undertakings and initiatives have been made, which
need to be translated into concrete actions. These include
the EU/African Cairo Plan of Action, the Cotonou Agreement,
the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Copenhagen
Declaration, the Skagen Declaration, the G8 Okinawa
Declaration, the UN Millennium Declaration and the TICAD
There is within Africa a determination to make NEPAD
African leaders are also mindful of the need to create
the right political and social environment for NEPAD
to be implemented effectively and successfully. This
includes paying maximum attention to the important issues
of promoting democracy and human rights as well as the
eradication of conflicts.
As a result of external influences mainly, Africa has
experienced wars and conflicts, which have caused untold
human suffering, and have diverted Africa away from
the goal of development and prosperity for many decades.
Most importantly, pockets of conflicts have often created
a stereotype of an Africa that is at war with itself,
that it is a hopeless continent that will never prosper
Fortunately, we now have a political leadership on
the continent that has a clear and sound vision about
the direction the continent should take, and they are
changing the situation for the better.
A number of key developments have taken place already
this year, through the operationalisation of the African
Union, and these are setting Africa on the path that
would enable it to reverse these negative stereotypes.
Among these is the launch of the African Peace and
Security Council, and the adoption of the framework
for the establishment of the African Standby Force,
Early Warning Mechanism and the Panel of the Wise. These
have provided a framework for conflict prevention, management
and resolution and for peacekeeping and peace making.
You would be aware of the concerted efforts that are
being made to end the conflicts in countries such as
the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, the Comoros,
Liberia and Sudan, and we appreciate the assistance
of the international community in dealing with these
With regards to the promotion of good economic and
political governance, the African Union's innovative
programme, the African Peer Review Mechanism is gaining
ground, and the numbers of African states that are prepared
to subject themselves to the peer review process continues
Ladies and gentlemen, over the past ten years, since
the advent of freedom and democracy in our country,
South Africa's involvement in world affairs has been
premised on the view that the strength of our nation
depends on the strength of the African Continent.
We have therefore, since the liberation of our country
in 1994, sought to work with sister nations in the continent,
with the support of other development partners, to promote
democracy, sustainable development, peace and stability,
within the ambit of the Organisation for African Unity
earlier, and now of the African Union.
The common thread in all endeavours towards the African
Renaissance has always been unity, which we regard as
of critical importance in the African struggle to defeat
poverty and underdevelopment.
This unity of purpose and action is important for practical
reasons as well. Many of our countries have very small
populations and limited possibilities to develop on
their own, if they rely solely on their resources. Our
own experience also tells us that our development cannot
be sustainable if it occurs in isolation to that of
Having chosen this route of seeking comprehensive development
for the continent instead of focusing on one country
only, we are convinced that our decision is correct,
and that the continent is on the right track. There
is a clear-cut plan of action to place Africa on the
road to sustainable development, and to build an Africa
that is peaceful, stable and prosperous.
We invite you to partner us as we work to achieve this