Address by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad to the Spanish Foreign
Ministry Seminar on Sub-Saharan Africa, Thursday, 12 May 2005, Tenerife, Canary
Your Excellency, Mr. Secretary of State,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors,
of the Government of the Canaries
Let me congratulate
the government of the Canaries and the Foreign Ministry of Spain for hosting this
timely seminar. The important theme of the conference must be interpreted as the
need for Europe as a whole and for significant countries within Europe such as
Spain, to prioritise the special needs of Africa which must be recognized by all
of us, as the most urgent global priority confronting humanity in this century.
We have gathered here today, on the Island of Tenerife situated in the
Atlantic Ocean, that connects four Continents of the world to talk about the Continent
closest to this island, called Africa and of the close relationship between Europe
Being as close as we are to the continent of Africa we can
not speak about its present challenges without being mindful of the impact of
its history of slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism and the Cold War.
am reminded of the words of William Cowper, an anti slavery activist who wrote,
I own I am shock'd at the purchase of slaves,
And fear those
who buy them and sell them are knaves;
What I hear of their hardships, their
tortures, and groans,
Is almost enough to draw pity from stones.
them greatly, but I must be mum,
For how could we do without sugar and rum?
sugar, so needful we see,
What? give up our desserts, our coffee and tea!"
conference must make the bold assertion that it refuses to be mum and that we
are prepared to give up our "desserts, our coffee and tea" and will
speak to each other as equal partners as we collectively confront the historic
challenge of the day.
For my part as an African, and a citizen of the world,
I assert that all of us must agree that despite the fact that we are on this island
surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean, we all live in a globalised community
and interdependent world. A world in which globalisation has set in motion far
reaching change and challenges affecting everyone and in all spheres of life.
In this sense, no country or people can claim to be islands onto themselves, no
matter how rich or poor, strong or weak they may be.
Increasingly as a
result of rampant economic globalisation, the world has been cast into two contrasting
villages, one in which the rich of the world are getting richer and more powerful
and another in which the poor of the world are getting poorer and more marginalized.
This ever-increasing gap between the have and the have-nots is occurring between
and within countries and regions.
Consequently the international global,
financial and political order favours the wealthy and the powerful of the world.
In addition, the international trade institutions have not worked towards the
equality of the world's people.
The international system is beset by global
issues of insecurity, such as terrorism, organized crime, drugs, migration, human
trafficking, the proliferation of WMDs, and small arms. Across the world entire
communities are also experiencing insecurity through conflicts, internal displacement,
racism, intolerance, poverty, deadly infectious diseases, and environmental degradation.
All of these threats are interconnected and affect all of us, whether rich or
poor one-way or the other.
All of these truths that I assert has ensured
that poverty and underdevelopment in Africa, stand in stark contrast to the prosperity
and development of the rich countries of the North.
Time and time again
world knowledge has repeatedly affirmed that:
- Out of the world population
of six billion, almost halve have incomes of less than US$2 a day;
recent decades the poorest 5% of the world's population has lost more than a quarter
of its purchasing power, while the richest increased its real income by 12%. The
national per capita income of the twenty richest countries is 37 times larger
than that of the twenty poorest, a gap which has doubled in size over the last
- When we look at the African continent the realities are
more stark. We see that Africa's share of the world trade has plummeted, accounting
for less than 2%. Despite pledges and commitments made, and not withstanding many
African countries pursuing sound economic policies of good governance, FDI flows
into Africa remains negligible. In absolute terms, bilateral ODA flows to Africa
have dropped in the last decade, from US$25 billion to US$16 billion well short
of the estimated US$64 billion a year required to reach the Millennium Development
- Debt continues to impact negatively on Africa's developmental
- In Sub-Saharan Africa more than 40% of its people live below
the international poverty line of US$1 a day. More than 140 million young Africans
are illiterate. The mortality rate of children under 5 years of age is 140 per
1000, and life expectancy at birth is only 54 years. Only 58 per cent of the population
have access to safe water, on average 1 in 19 mothers will die in her lifetime
from pregnancy-related causes, 1 in 10 children dies before his or her first birthday
and 1 in 8 children suffers from malnutrition.
These shocking statistics
that speak to the conditions of human life on the African continent underlies
the correctness of the assertion made earlier that the special needs of Africa
is the most urgent global priority confronting humanity in this century.
conference must therefore out of necessity address the comments made by President
Mbeki at the United Nations (UN) Millennium Summit:
"The poor of the
world stand at the gates of the comfortable mansions occupied by every King and
Queen, President, Prime Minister and Minister privileged to attend this unique
meeting. The question these billions ask is - what are you doing
to end the
deliberate and savage violence against us that, everyday, sentences many of us
to a degrading and unnecessary death!
The fundamental challenge that
faces this Millennium Summit is that, credibly, we must demonstrate the will to
end poverty and underdevelopment."
The special developmental
needs of Africa, much of which is stuck within poverty traps, must be recognized
and requires, among others, specific poverty-scale interventions by all. Africa's
developmental challenges are much deeper than governance alone, and that it requires
a big push in public investments to overcome the regions high transport costs,
generally small markets, low-productivity agriculture, adverse agro climatic conditions,
high disease burden and slow diffusion of technology from abroad.
the same time, Chairperson, I also assert, that a new season of hope is rising
As our part and in the face of such desperation, we came together
to grapple with the challenges of deepening poverty and underdevelopment conscious
of the need to give birth to a season of hope for Africa's present and future
generations. To this end, we have worked hard over the past few years to transform
the OAU into the African Union (AU), a union of African peoples and countries
whose energies are directed towards using our collective strength to work for
peace and stability, to strengthen democracy, to ensure respect for peoples rights
and to embark on a far-reaching programme of the regeneration and development
of all our countries.
As Africans, we assert that there is no other formation
except the AU that is best placed to undertake a programme of such magnitude.
The historical mission of all of us, who desire to see a better Africa in a better
world, whether we are in government, business or civil society, remains the need
to strengthen the AU and all its structures. Significant progress has already
been achieved in the operationalisation of the AU organs and its structures.
this respect, interalia, we have inaugurated the Pan African Parliament and South
Africa has been honoured to host this important house of African voices. The establishment
of this key political organ of the AU is a crucial step towards Africa possessing
its own political future. We, like Europe, have established this parliament to
speak to the important issues of political stability, democratic governance, conflict
prevention and resolution.
Significant work has also been done in respect
of the other organs of the AU such as ECCOSOC, that seeks to integrate civil society
as an important partner in the affairs of government, the African Court of Justice
and the financial institutions such as the African Investment Bank, African Central
Bank and African Monetary Fund.
We also make the bold assertion that the
development of Africa is depended upon the emancipation and full participation
of women in the affairs of Africa. In this regard, I am encouraged to note that
yesterday you discussed the important issue of the role of women in the development
of the continent and trust that our women would be strengthened in their resolve
by the recent decision of the AU to ensure that all of its structures and that
of national government and non government institutions strive, to achieve gender
parity. As Africans, we are proud of the progress we have made to ensure adequate
and growing representation of African women in all of the AU and national structures.
to our believe that there can no sustainable development without peace and security,
we have established the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC). The launch
of the PSC was a historical moment giving us a framework for conflict prevention,
management and resolution and for peacekeeping and peace building. This new organ
which is already hard at work signifies to all and sundry the determination and
unwavering commitment of all African peoples to rid the continent of any form
of instability and to ensure that peace reigns on all corners of our continent.
We are conscious of the fact, that the renewal of the continent that leads all
Africans down that path to prosperity and sustainable development is dependent
upon the success of the PSC.
The architecture of the PSC is based upon the
formation of an African Standby Force, the development of a regional Early Warning
System and a Common African Defence Policy.
In all of these we shall seek
Spanish co-operation and partnerships.
As a member of the PSC, South Africa
will do all that it can to ensure that effective functioning of this important
instrument of African peace. As such, we shall continue to contribute to the various
conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction efforts that we are engaged
with on the continent.
As you discussed yesterday, the AU is hard at work
to bring permanent peace to the Cote d'Ivoire and in collaboration with the UN
to do the same in the Darfur region in Sudan. As part of entrenching and consolidating
democracy on the continent we have worked tirelessly with the people of Burundi
and the DRC, the result of which is that both countries will be holding democratic
elections this year, ushering in a new era away from decades of conflicts and
We are also happy to report that after 27 years of war the Sudanese
people have signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
For its part South
Africa has contributed thousands of its troops to Africa's peacekeeping and peace
making efforts on the African continent both within the UN and AU missions.
the reality that South Africa has the strongest economy in our continent, it is
our historical responsibility to be deeply involved in post conflict economic,
social and governance reconstruction efforts.
Africa's experience demands
that we answer the question: are the mandates and efforts of the UN and EU adequate,
effective, efficient and timeous in dealing with conflict situations on the African
continent. To this end the Brahimi and the Secretary General's Report raises the
important issue of how the UN approaches and organizes itself to deal with conflict
We do all that we do on the African continent because we remain
steadfast in our assertion that peace and sustainable development are the necessary
conditions that will give meaning and content to our desire to ensure a better
life for all Africans.
As you discussed yesterday, to respond to the critical
challenge of widespread poverty and underdevelopment facing many African countries,
Africans produced an AU developmental programme, the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (NEPAD). NEPAD is directed towards Africa's regeneration and renewal
and its success is dependent upon the collective ownership by all Africans on
the continent and in the Diaspora.
It is the first time in Africa's history
that we have the objective and subjective conditions to determine our own developmental
agenda. Significant progress is being made, through NEPAD. We have identified
numerous programmes around water, energy, telecommunication and transport infrastructure,
human resource development initiatives including work on expanding access to education,
especially for rural communities, access to ICT's improving the health infrastructure
on the continent and paying special attention to communicable diseases such as
TB, AIDS and Malaria and mobilizing for affordable drugs.
An important part
of NEPAD is the building of infrastructure, the provision of food security and
the improvement of the agricultural sector ensuring better capacity and efficiency
and improving investment in this sector. Related to this is the critical matter
of market access to the markets of the developed nations of the world. Further,
as we all know, Africa is a huge mining continent. Yet, the beneficiation of raw
materials has, for many years been done exclusively in Europe. Accordingly, a
process of building a strong value addition capacity in the mining industry has
started in Africa.
Nowhere more than in Africa has the need for the mobilization
of resources to address the developmental challenges has been so stark. Without
the necessary resources to address these developmental challenges, the issue of
conflict resolution, peace and stability will remain elusive. As Africans, we
are acutely aware that we must take our destiny in our own hands, and as such
we must be in the forefront of mobilizing, in addition to other resources, our
own resources to address the developmental challenges facing the continent.
are happy to note that despite the daunting challenges we face Africa is making
progress. In this regard the IMF in a recent report stated that economic growth
in Sub- Sahara Africa in the current year is expected to reach 4.5% which is at
its highest level in many decades. We welcome this, but know that given the challenges
this is not sufficient.
For us to even sustain this achievement, what is
needed now is the political will of the countries of the developed world to fulfil
their commitments to provide higher aid levels where-ever possible on grant terms,
improve market access, dismantle distorting trade subsidies and to initiate drastic
debt relief and cancellation measures.
To this end it is only reasonable
for Africa to expect Spain to play an instrumental role within the EU and WTO
to ensure that the developmental agenda of the Doha Round is successfully achieved.
is on the basis of both the AU and NEPAD that Africa continues to interact and
partner with itself and the developing world and with the developed world with
a view to pushing back the frontiers of poverty and under-development. In keeping
with the recent practice of the G-8 leaders to engage with African leaders on
NEPAD, we will once again pursue this important dialogue forum to pursue Africa's
access to financial and institutional support, for the implementation of NEPAD
as reflected in the G-8 Africa Action Plan.
We look forward to the deliberations
at the Gleneagles G-8 Summit and the forthcoming UN 60th Summit that shall review
the successes in achieving the MDGs. In all of these important summits we expect
on the part of the developed world decisive political will and action leading
to concrete implement able programme of actions. The time has come to turn pledges
into action and not more words.
We seek all of this because we must answer
President Mbeki's question "what are we doing to deal with the billions of
poor who stand at the gates of the comfortable" demanding of us to resolve
the fundamental challenge of ending poverty and underdevelopment.
strong in the belief that the momentum of democracy that has taken root in Africa
is irreversible and that the process of democratisation shall deepen.
have initiated the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). The purpose of the APRM
is to ensure the adoption of policies, standards and practices that lead to political
stability, good governance, high economic growth, sustainable development and
accelerated sub-regional and continental economic integration through the sharing
of experiences and the reinforcement of successful and best practices.
APRM includes the identification of deficiencies and weaknesses in our political,
economic and social systems and then offering proposals for improvement. It is
in reality a self-assessment mechanism available to those who are willing to seek
assistance for the benefit of their countries and peoples.
all that we do, we as Africans, reflect closely on the developments in other regions
of the world and in particular in Europe.
We are of the view that the evolution
of Europe as a region of the world at peace with itself over five decades has
been a remarkable success of the political will of nations and people ravaged
by war, over centuries, to seek peace and human development through political,
economic and social integration.
Central to the success of the integration
project of Europe then and to its current expansion now has, been Europe's access
to resources whose provision is based on the principle of human solidarity and
which is used in the overall development of Europe as a whole.
much has been done, much still needs to be done. I am sure that all of us here
would agree that in order sustain and spread Africa's season hope we must assert:
time has arrived, in order to make a meaningful contribution to rolling-back poverty
and underdevelopment, to fast track the implementation of the MDGs with bold,
creative and decisive action by all in order to provide to the billions of the
world's poor who are trapped in the misery of poverty not only the means to live
a productive life but also the hope to live a better live.
- That achieving
the MDGs must be placed centrally in international efforts to end violent conflicts,
instability and terrorism and that investing in poverty alleviation and development
is fundamental to conflict prevention and to peace-making.
- The stability
and prosperity of the developed countries will continue to be threatened if Africa's
poverty and developmental issues are not tackled decisively.
- That essential
to empowering the poor of the world necessitates core investment in infrastructure
and human capital that empowers the poor to join the global economy. In this regard,
your own experience in the use of structural and cohesion funds is informative.
Central to achieving the above, is the commitment and willingness
of all of us, rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, based on the premise
that we all live interconnected lives, to share our common planet in a manner
that ensure its sustainability for the generations to come. It is also based on
the necessity to share our humanity based on real understanding of global solidarity
and on our willingness to share and abide by the rulebooks that we write as equal
nations of the world committed to multilateral cooperation in pursuit of mutual
We must choose the path to peace, hope and solidarity, committed
to addressing the social and economic injustices of the world. In so doing we
must be courageous to assert that we do not have any other option but to conduct
our international affairs in a manner that respects international law and promotes
multi-lateralism as a means of seeking consensus in the affairs of the world.
Consequently, in pursuit of the above, we must deepen the dialogue directed
towards the restructuring of the existing global power relations, particularly
through the reform of the global multilateral institutions such as the UN, Bretton
Woods institutions and the World Trade Organisations.
We welcome the Secretary
Generals Report and we are supportive of many, if not all of the recommendations
and proposals he has made. We are confident that the Common African Position,
especially the position I have just spoken to, can and must be accommodated within
the ongoing debate and negotiations occurring at the UN.
We endorse the
Secretary General's assertion that "we will not enjoy development without
security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy
either without respect for human rights" and commend him for shaping a common
understanding on the need for the world to develop a vision of collective security
based on a shared assessment of the current global threats and obligations needed
in addressing these threats.
Needless to say, as an African country we
have worked with other countries on the continent, to shape and determine the
Common African Position with regard to the UN reform. Consequently as an African
country we shall pursue Africa's goal to be fully represented in all decision-making
organs of the UN, particularly in the Security Council, which is the principal
decision-making organ of the UN in matters relating to international peace and
security. Consistent with the Ezulwini African Consensus, we shall engage with
global community to ensure that Africa has:
- Not less than two permanent
seats with all the prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership including
the right of veto;
- Even though Africa is opposed in principle to the
veto, it is of the view that so long as it exists, and as a matter of common justice,
it should be made available to all permanent members of the Security Council;
- Five non-permanent seats;
- That the AU should be responsible
for the selection of Africa's representatives in the Security Council;
that the question of criteria for the selection of African members of the Security
Council should be a matter for the AU to determine, taking into consideration
the representative nature and capacity of those chosen.
the AU Committee of Thirteen will be meeting in Addis Ababa to discuss the mandate
to advance the Common African Position and to take this important matter forward.
As a country committed to economic and social justice,
we are firm in the view that the current path of globalisation must change, that
the benefits of globalisation can be expanded and that the means and resources
needed to create a better world for all are at available. Consequently, we shall
continue actively to engage with the community of nations, particularly with the
fellow developing countries of the South to face the many challenges in realizing
our collective hope to create a better life for all of our peoples.
this end we have recently returned from the historic Asian African Summit in Jakarta,
Indonesia, attended by all the major leaders of both our continents. This Summit
adopted the New Asian African Strategic Partnership which we are confident will
decisively contribute to the Africa's developmental agenda.
adopted at this Summit will inform the approaches we take at the forthcoming G77
plus China Summit that will be held in Qatar.
we have said gives us the confidence to boldly state that indeed a season of hope
is rising over Africa.
It is in this context that Africa is indeed encouraged
by the constructive and positive approach towards the challenges facing Africa,
as enunciated by President Zapatero and the Spanish government. Spain's declared
intention to make Africa a priority and to ensure greater involvement as stated
this morning by Secretary of State Leon, is warmly welcomed.
commitment, in this season of hope, Africa stands ready to partner with Spain
to ensure that the 21st century is indeed an African century. Acutely conscious
that our destinies are inextricably interlinked together we must walk on the road
of the African Renaissance.
I thank you.