Establishment of the African Renaissance and International Co-Operation Fund

The African Renaissance and International Co-operation Fund Act (Act No 51 of 2000) [.pdf document] was promulgated on 22 January 2001. The Act provides for the establishment of the African Renaissance and International Co-operation Fund for the purpose of enhancing international co-operation with and on the African Continent and to confirm the Republic of South Africa's commitment to Africa.

The Act also repealed the existing Economic Co-operation Promotion Loan Fund Act, 1968 (Act No. 68 of 1968), as amended by the Economic Co-operation Promotion Loan Fund Amendment Act, 1986 (Act No. 29 of 1986) and the Economic Co-operation Promotion Loan Fund Amendment Act, 1998 (Act No. 16 of 1998).

The establishment of the African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund will enable the South African government to identify and fund, in a proactive way:
· Co-operation between South Africa and other countries, particularly African countries;
· The promotion of democracy, good governance;
· The prevention and resolution of conflict;
· Socio-economic development and integration;
· Humanitarian assistance, and;
· Human resource development.

Apart from the transfer of the unexpended money currently in the Economic Co-operation Promotion Loan Fund, the new Fund will also appropriate funds from Parliament. Furthermore, it will comprise money received from the repayment of any loan made from the new Fund; interest received on any loan made from the new Fund, including interest derived from any investment of money standing to the credit of the new Fund; and/or money accruing to the new Fund from any other source, such as donor funds.

The principal financial implication of the Act will be the repeal and dis-establishment of the Economic Co-operation Promotion Loan Fund, once that Fund's debit balance has been cleared by either retrieving outstanding loans, changing outstanding loans into grants or writing-off of outstanding debt. The total amount owing in terms of loans under the previous Fund is R80.355 million.

The introduction of the African Renaissance and International Co-operation Fund Act is historic for three reasons:
· For the first time the concept of "African Renaissance", is encapsulated in legislation in South Africa, and, for that matter, by a legislature on the African Continent;
· Secondly, the Act introduces, for the first time, a framework and basis for the South African government to identify and fund, in a proactive way, projects and programmes aimed at the six regulatory framework principles mentioned above, by the granting of loans or rendering of other financial assistance within the African Renaissance framework.
· Thirdly, the Act introduces, also for the first time as far as the South African government is concerned, a mechanism through which donor (third party) funds could be channeled to recipients and/or joint tripartite projects.

The African Renaissance and International Co-operation Fund will be multilaterally oriented, and will provide for proactive involvement in projects and programmes involving organisations and parties other than the governments of countries (although not excluding the governments of countries).

By comparison, the previous Fund was a bilaterally oriented fund used reactively, after receipt of formal government requests. It is envisaged that the type of projects for which the new Fund will be used will be imaginative, proactive and multilaterally inclined, and be designed in such a way that its benefits will be sustainable and will have a multiplier effect on other sectors.

The new Fund shall be under the control of the Director-General: Foreign Affairs, who, as the accounting officer, will keep records and accounts of all payments into and out of the Fund. An Advisory Committee will be established to make recommendations to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Finance on the disbursement of funds, as spelt out in the Act. The Committee will comprise the Director-General: Foreign Affairs, three members to be nominated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and two members to be nominated by the Minister of Finance.
Funds which are provided for the promotion of democracy and good governance and/or the prevention and resolution of conflict shall be made available upon the recommendation of the Advisory Committee and approval by the Minister of Foreign Affairs after consultation with Minister of Finance.

Loans or other financial assistance, excluding the promotion of democracy and good governance and/or the prevention or resolution of conflict, shall be granted or rendered in accordance with an agreement entered into between the parties and a project proposal, upon the recommendation of the Advisory Committee, for approval by the Minister of Foreign Affairs after consultation with the Minister of Finance.

It should finally be noted that it is not the intention to create the impression that unlimited resources will be available once the Fund is established. In addition, only the broad outlines of how the Fund is to be utilised exist. Detailed terms of reference will have to be developed, including a policy and regulatory framework for the utilisation of the Fund, selection criteria for projects and evaluation and monitoring criteria.

Furthermore, framework mechanisms for disbursing funds, for accounting and monitoring purposes and for the receipt of funds will have to be developed. In short, not all deserving projects can be accommodated, but serious consideration will be given to initiatives that would "make a difference" in the Southern African region and on the Continent.

Overview of the African Renaissance Vision

The rebirth, revival and renewal of Africa are encapsulated in the vision of an African Renaissance and in the belief that this will truly be the African Century. The African Renaissance vision is an all-embracing concept that draws its inspiration from the rich and diverse history and cultures of Africa. It acknowledges Africa as the cradle of humanity, whilst providing a framework for the modern Africa to re-emerge as a significant partner in the New World Order. This framework touches on all areas of human endeavour; political, economic, social, technological, environmental and cultural.

At its core, African Renaissance is an economic and social development agenda for Africa. It is a comprehensive and far-reaching global plan of action to tackle poverty and the developmental needs of Africa. This package of measures is also designed to address the intricate challenges posed by globalisation.

In order to achieve the social and economic regeneration and development of the Continent, the pre-eminent issue of poverty alleviation, through sustained people-centred development, must be vigorously pursued, so as to provide an improved quality of life for all Africa and her people. The engine for poverty alleviation and people-centred development is the economy. However, there are two further pre-requisites for the success of social and economic regeneration. These are security and stability. There can be little sustainable development and growth in conditions of instability and conflict.

Lastly, a number of crosscutting priorities in support of the above four areas exists. These are the cooperation priorities. It is vital that Africa and the South develop a common agenda and then, in a co-ordinated fashion, secure the support of the developed world for the achievement of the goals of this agenda.

Quick Links:

Disclaimer | Contact Us | HomeLast Updated: 13 February, 2004 9:22 AM
This site is best viewed using 800 x 600 resolution with Internet Explorer 5.0, Netscape Communicator 4.5 or higher.
2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa