African growth requires good governance - Lamola

Monday, October 31, 2022

Justice and Constitutional Development Minister, Ronald Lamola, says good governance is critical in ensuring the African continent begins to thrive in sectors such infrastructure development and innovation.

The Minister was delivering the keynote address at the opening of the first ordinary session of the sixth parliament of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand.

Lamola delivered the remarks on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He said with a population of about 1.4 billion and a median age of some 19 years old, the continent has untapped potential.

“We cannot continue to govern in the same way we have been governing in the past. Corruption and misgovernance should never define us. Instead Africa should be defined by digitisation, innovation, world class infrastructure and modernisation of the African continent.

“As our continent has always been a reservoir of innovation and dynamic leadership, we need a generation across the continent that will give rise to the ideas of the likes of Professor li Mazrui, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Jean Martine Cisse, Thomas Sankara, Nelson Mandela and Samora Machel,” he said.

Lamola emphasised that as an institution supporting the African Union, the PAP has a critical mandate to contribute to the “strengthening of the culture of democracy, good governance and the rule of law in the continent”.

“This includes through the implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance which provides a framework for election monitoring on our continent. Some of our countries have held elections this year, still more are expected to hold them in 2023.

“We need to interrogate the responsibility of the PAP as an institution in supporting the AU. The High-Level Parliamentary dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance that [PAP is] scheduled to have during this session as well as the roundtable on advancing democratic governance will contribute towards that effort,” he said.

Turning to unifying the continent through integration, the Minister highlighted that a key area of work is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“The [AfCFTA] is also one of the tools at our disposal to contribute to greater integration but it would require the finalisation of harmonisation of standards across the continent and the streamlining of our supply chains among others.

“Much depends on the progress that we make at the national level to adopt the relevant legislation that will allow the commencement of preferential trade for instance, on trade in goods,” Lamola said.

He said another key area is the engagement of Africans not only on the continent but also abroad.

“Another area that we can exploit to realise the aspirations of the African peoples is to work with the African Diaspora, who can help build the much needed skills for future careers in our continent as well as contribute to the transfer of technology which we sorely need.

“Citizen engagement is another area that could be strengthened and I would like to encourage you to consider standing platforms/mechanisms for youth engagement as well as civil society because of its research capacity the promotion of accountability, which is at the core of the work of Parliamentarians,” he said. –

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