Africa must invest in development: Zuma
30 June 2011
South African President Jacob Zuma, speaking ahead of the African Union Summit in Equatorial Guinea, has called on African nations to contribute resources to sustain continental development alongside its international partners.
Africa is moving in the right direction with a focus on its economic growth, but it needs funds to maintain the momentum, Zuma told delegates at the 10th anniversary meeting of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) in Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday.
The African Union (AU) opened a two-day summit outside Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea, on Thursday, with a key focus expected to be the crisis in oil-rich Libya and Muammar Gaddafi's embattled leadership
While praising Nepad's achievements over the last 10 years, Zuma expressed concern about the lack of financial commitment from Africa's leaders for infrastructure development.
He suggested strengthening public-private partnerships to aid projects.
"The involvement of the private sector is critical to achieving our infrastructure initiatives. We must embark upon mutually beneficial public-private partnerships in championing our projects."
Programmes of Nepad, which falls under the African Union, have been hampered by a lack of funding. They are intended to address escalating poverty and underdevelopment.
The AU has had to embark on cost-cutting measures, with two of its major funders – Egypt and Libya – in turmoil after political uprisings this year.
Economic growth rates for the continent for 2012 are predicted between 5.5 percent and 5.8 percent, Zuma said, adding that Africa was the third-fastest growing region in the world.
Friends of Africa
He said the continent had strengthened collaboration with friends of Africa and existing multilateral partnerships and the private sector.
Many African countries had recently signed agreements and trade partnerships with several investors with the world's leading economies like China and India.
"If we are indeed devoted to ensure Nepad continues to be a success, we must as Africans ensure that we commit financial resources to this programme individually and collectively," he said.
Zuma also called on the continent to unite in the war against poverty, hunger, homelessness and underdevelopment, by ensuring that these programmes were sustainable.
Meanwhile, speaking at a climate change conference held on the sidelines of the summit, Zuma called for African countries to speak in unity at the upcoming 17th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 17) taking place in Durban later this year.
The first objective, Zuma said, must be continued support for multilateral processes, the implementation of decisions made in Cancun in 2001, and the vigorous pursuit of the completion of work agreed to in Bali in 2007.
Secondly, as a vulnerable continent, Zuma said Africa had to prioritise an outcome that ensured that the global climate regime protected the environment for future generations.
"A determination must be made on the 2nd Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol, and also clarity on how to ensure a fair and comparable contribution by non-Kyoto Parties. All countries of the world have a common responsibility to reduce climate impacts."