Getting the Best out of Africa-South America Relations
Africans have reasons to be proud of achievements enabled by the sacrifices made by the great sons and daughters of Africa, but also by contributions from those who stood with us during the struggle against colonialism and apartheid to whom we shall forever be grateful. We want to complete the emancipation of our people through a total recovery of our African identity and dignity and reach greater achievements in our quest for peace, stability and prosperity, in order to bear with proud and humility our responsibilities in the international arena.
We cannot ignore the common heritage shared by our two regions forged by historical ties as well as by circumstances of which we have not always been the masters. Indeed, we have no choice but to take responsibility over our respective destinies in a collective approach as this is dictated by our past and present as well as by the need for us to successfully fight for a bright future.
We should, therefore, bear in mind that we, as a generation, have an historical opportunity to establish a common front to address issues that hinder our move towards achieving socio-economic development and social justice.
History teaches us that our forbearers in both regions, did their part of the work in the past when together they fought hand in hand not only for our freedom and emancipation against slavery, colonialism and apartheid, but also for more justice in the World economic order.
Sustainable development cannot be achieved in the absence of peace and security, which are the core values to build on if social progress is to be made. We should strengthen the capacity of the already existing Regional Peace and Security Institutions and bring them to work together for the improvement of peace and stability in the world.
The issue of peace and security cannot effectively be handled at national or only regional level. As we face global threats, there is need for holistic approaches which have the potential for tracing a threat wherever it occurs and taking relevant actions accordingly.
It is clear that the trend toward greater diffusion of authority and power that has been occurring for a couple of decades is likely to accelerate because of the emergence of new global players, the worsening institutional deficit, potential expansion of regional blocs, and enhanced strength of non-state actors and networks.
It is in this context of complexity that South- South Cooperation gained momentum in the last 1990s, marking the beginning of a new era in world politics. Africa-South America Cooperation Forum can be seen as a concrete way to reinforce the contribution and the role of both the African Union (AU) and the Union of the South American Nations (UNASUR) in the consolidation of our Strategic Partnership.
At a global level, it should be seen as a platform from where the two Regions can defend their common interests in various International fora. It should primarily aim at enhancing the basis for a useful South-South cooperation within a rapid changing globalized world beset by various crises, which calls for more solidarity.
This solidarity should take place through the implementation of projects of mutual benefits. Our two regions, in building a strong political and economic bloc, and because of our growing geopolitical and economic strength, will have a high degree of freedom to customize our political and economic policies to our conditions for the benefit of our countries and peoples.
The 3rd Africa-South America (ASA) Summit, a follow-up to the 2nd Summit that was held in Isla de Margarita, Venezuela, affords a good opportunity for both continents to reach a clear understanding about the thrust of our cooperation, access the implementation of those outcomes and come up with strategies of how to enhance our collaboration to foster a stronger strategic partnership.
Our partnership should offer viable opportunities for our countries to collectively pursue programmes and activities that would propel us to sustained economic growth and sustainable development, which include the strengthening of cooperation and trade, sharing of best practices for the development of education, health, science and technology, trade and industry, culture and tourism, agriculture and rural development, Youth training, employment creation and gender mainstreaming in various fields of development.
Our Partnership holds enormous potentials to balance growth and equity on a global scale. Africa and South America have great assets for combating the harmful effects of climate change and for promoting poverty eradication. We need to strengthen our relations on the basis of solidarity, shared prosperity and promotion of our respective potentialities and human capabilities.We all need to rededicate ourselves to the aspirations and objectives of our cooperation, with a view to deriving maximum benefits from our partnership.
The African Union Commission reiterates its commitment to ensuring the full realization of the objectives of the ASA Implementation Plan in order to achieve concrete, specific and viable projects and programs for the benefit of the peoples of the two sides.
By H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
Chairperson of The African Union.
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