Unity holds the key to African Renaissance

Thursday, May 24, 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa says as the continent prepares to celebrate Africa Day on 25 May, it should look to its forebearers who championed African unity in their quest for the African Renaissance.  

“It was our forebearers, especially those who had early contacts with their diaspora counterparts studying overseas, who exchanged ideas on how to confront colonial oppression.

“In the interconnected world of today where we as Africans assert ourselves as equals – not subjects – in the global governance system and the globalised economy, we are able to sustain the thinking and work pioneered to Pixley ka Seme.

“Our current task is to shape the progressive and prosperous Africa we wish to bequeath to future generations,” said the President.

He made these remarks as he delivered the Nelson Mandela Africa Day Centenary Lecture at The Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban on Thursday morning.

This year’s Africa Day celebrations coincide with the centenaries of two notable Africans – Tata Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu.

The theme for Africa Month is ‘A Year of Nelson Mandela – Building a Better Africa and a Better World’.

President Ramaphosa said as the continent looks to fulfil the hopes and dreams of its forefathers, it must do so with the realisation that it is a collective effort.

“The realisation of Madiba’s dream rests on leaders from all sectors of our society – leaders in government, business, labour, communities and civil society at large across the continent.

“In our own instance as South Africa, we are taking steps to transform an economy that remains largely characterised by the structural flaws of a racist and patriarchal past,” he said.

The President highlighted that it is collective efforts such as the Volvo Group of Southern Africa’s involvement in Youth Employment Service that will see the country tackle unemployment and skills.

“Sensitive to the need for us to promote manual work in the midst of the unstoppable march of automation, Volvo continues to invest in providing skills to its energetic team of assembly workers,” said the President.

Economic growth initiatives

 In March this year, the AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, reached the historic milestone of an Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area.

“This agreement seeks to dissolve barriers to shared opportunity and prosperity by enabling the movement of people, goods, services and knowledge around our continent,” said President Ramaphosa.

In the case of South Africa, the President said the country looks to collectives such as the KZN Growth Coalition, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and the African Renaissance Trust to develop solutions and opportunities that will help overcome the lingering poverty, unemployment and inequality.

“We look to the collective leadership of this province to explore ways of giving effect to the new social compact around job creation that we are seeking to build among labour, business and communities nationally,” said the President.

In wrapping up the lecture, the President said greater regional integration, development of regional infrastructure, services and knowledge are key to the growth of the continent.

“Investors and innovators must feel at home in Africa. Our task is to create the conditions for this new generation to grow and thrive and to build a continent of hope and progress.

“It is then that we will achieve an African renaissance,” said the President. – SAnews.gov.za