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Towards a united, integrated Africa

         Date: 2012-05-22

           Tag: Africa, integrated Africa

Summary: Today, 18 years after our first democratic elections, we remain fully committed to the vision of creating a safer, prosperous and stable Africa.

This summit takes place at a poignant period of a month, on a day dedicated to celebrating the continent – Africa Day. The meeting is by all accounts one of the greatest milestones yet achieved in the history of the AU, and indeed the continent.

Despite bringing together people of African descent in one country, under the same roof, to discuss issues of common interest and mutual benefit, it coincides with two important historical events in the history of Africa, and in particular the struggle for liberation in SA. This year marks the centenary of the oldest liberation movement in Africa, the ANC, and we also celebrate the 10th anniversary of the AU.

Today, 18 years after our first democratic elections, we remain fully committed to the vision of creating a safer, prosperous and stable Africa.

We are firm in our determination to find solutions to the challenges we face in Africa. Our engagements are informed by our foreign policy programmes and activities.

These programmes and activities continue to rest on a number of key focal areas such as the prioritisation of the African agenda; strengthening regional integration through the Southern African Development Community; strengthening south-south co-operation; enhancing relations with formations of the north; and participating in global systems of governance.

These key foreign policy principles are a clear indication that our struggle for a better life in SA is intertwined with our pursuit of a better Africa in a better world.

Africa’s destiny is inextricably linked to that of the southern African region.

Regional and continental integration is the foundation for Africa’s socio-economic development and political unity, and essential for our own prosperity and security. Consequently, Africa is at the centre of SA’s foreign policy.

Our country therefore continues to support regional and continental processes to respond to and resolve crises, strengthen regional integration, significantly increase intra-African trade and champion sustainable development and opportunities in Africa.

The strengthening of the AU and its structures is a strategic priority in deepening the continental integration process.

SA continues with efforts aimed at revitalising the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) as a strategy for economic development on the continent.

Also as a priority of contribution to socio-economic development on the African continent, we have sought to utilise one of the key vehicles for the disbursement of development funding, the African Renaissance and International Co-operation Fund.

In December 2010, SA joined the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India and China) formation.

Our membership of Brics underlines our country’s growing international role, including its future significance for potential investors in the expanding African market.

As the only African country in Brics, we are expected to push for Africa’s integration in trade and policies with the other four Brics members.

Clearly, this is not the first time we have committed ourselves to the renewal of this continent – our commitment to strengthening our links with the diaspora equals our vision of a renewed Africa.

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