SA minister gives briefing on Global African Diaspora Summit and AU Summit

African Update – 15/05/12

Remarks by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, during a press briefing on international relations matters, OR Tambo Building, 15 May 2012

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media

In this briefing today, we will focus on South Africa’s hosting of the Global African Diaspora Summit, which is scheduled for 23-25 May 2012. We will also comment on the forthcoming African Union Summit, which will take place in Malawi later this year.

1. Global African Diaspora Summit

The South African Government is pleased that the African Union will host the historic Global African Diaspora Summit in our country.

The event takes place in a year that is historically significant to Africa. This year, we are celebrating the 10 th anniversary of the launch of the African Union. This year, we are also celebrating the centenary of the oldest liberation movement on the continent, the African National Congress.

South Africa’s hosting of the Global African Diaspora Summit is in line with our foreign policy objectives, which include our determination to consolidate the African Agenda and strengthen Pan-African solidarity.

The theme of the Summit is: “Towards the Realisation of a United and Prosperous Africa and its Diaspora”.

The specific aims of the Summit are:

· To create sustainable partnerships between the African Diaspora and the African Continent through a realisable Programme-of-Action;

· To create sustainable dialogue, partnerships and strengthen Pan-African Solidarity, for a better Africa and her Diaspora; and

· To promote South-South cooperation.

The Global African Diaspora Summit is expected to endorse certain programmatic activities which will be undertaken after the Summit. These include, amongst other things:

· The AU Diaspora Volunteer Programme that would associate the Diaspora directly and urgently with the development efforts on the Continent and give concrete meaning to concept of one African family;

· An African Diaspora Development Fund and Remittances and Financial instruments;

· The development of a Skills Database of Diaspora Professionals;

· The adoption and promotion of the Development Market Place for an African Diaspora model as a framework to facilitate innovation and  develop entrepreneurship to empower the youth of the Continent and her Diaspora; as well as

· Transport infrastructure and agriculture, land and rural development.

The continent values the significant role the African Diaspora played in the struggles against colonialism and apartheid. We continue to perceive the Diaspora as vital in the pursuit for a peaceful and prosperous Africa.

The Summit will be attended by delegations from member states of the African Union and her diaspora, including the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the MERCOSUR (The Southern Common Market), the Community of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Arab League.

As the host government, we are satisfied with the level of preparation for the event, and we are looking forward to a successful Summit. 

2. AU Commission candidature

Yesterday, 14 May 2012, His Excellency President Jacob Zuma attended the meeting of the Ad-Hoc Committee on the election of members of the African Union Commission.

The Committee is convened by the Chairperson of the AU, His Excellency President Boni Yayi on Benin.

The Committee was established at the January 2012 Summit in Addis Ababa, Eithiopia, following the inconclusive election of AU Commission candidates. 

As we all know, SADC has nominated the South African Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, as the regional candidate for the position of AU Commission chairperson.

Amongst other things, the meeting in Cotonou yesterday considered a report on consultations undertaken between the two countries that are presenting candidates – South Africa and Gabon.

The Committee will present a report of its deliberations for consideration and decision by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government at its next Summit in Malawi.

Certain convergences emerged out of the meeting yesterday, particularly in relation to the principle of rotation. The principle of rotation and regional representation is entrenched in the internal democratic processes of the AU. 

Since the formation of the OAU, which is now the AU, the Southern and Northern regions never had an opportunity to lead the AU at the level of Chairperson of the AU Commission.

The SADC is united behind its candidate, and the region continues to consult widely across all regions on the continent regarding the candidature of Dr Dlamini Zuma.

If elected, Dr Dlamini Zuma will serve all AU Member States as a loyal servant of Africa.  She will be guided in her work by the statutes of our Union, our programmes, as well as decisions of AU Policy Organs, especially the Assembly and Executive Council.

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

OR Tambo Building460 Soutpansberg RoadRietondale Pretoria

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