To make the African renaissance a reality poverty and under-development have to be eradicated‚ but in order to achieve this‚ the continent must rid itself of conflict‚ says former President Thabo Mbeki.
In an address to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria in Lagos‚ Mbeki said the “pernicious incidence of violent conflict” in and between countries was one of the biggest and most urgent challenges facing the continent.
“When we speak of an African renaissance we mean the birth of an Africa that would have overcome a centuries-long negative legacy we have inherited from the extended period covering the years of the violent export of Africans as slaves‚ the years of colonialism and neo-colonialism.
“One tragic consequence of this legacy is the reality we live with everyday – the reality of millions of Africans living in poverty and in conditions of underdevelopment.
“Accordingly‚ as a strategic objective in terms of achieving Africa’s renaissance‚ we have the urgent task to confront and defeat this painful reality‚ thus to eradicate this poverty and underdevelopment‚” Mbeki stated.
There were however other important and urgent challenges the continent was facing‚ he added‚ highlighting two of the challenges.
“One of these is the need to rid ourselves of the pernicious incidence of violent conflict in and between our countries contrary to the deep-seated wishes of the billion Africans for peace and stability throughout our continent.
“The other is the task to confront the continuing reality of the relative marginalisation of Africa in terms of the determination of global affairs‚ which includes the fact that there are others in the world who still have the arrogance to arrogate to themselves the right to determine our future.”
Poverty and under-development were directly related to these two issues‚ he said.
“Integral to the conflicts in some of our countries is the economic imbalance within these countries resulting in sections of the population feeling marginalised and disempowered‚ with no choice but to resort to arms to assert their rights‚ especially inclusion within the national process of equitable wealth sharing.
“Similarly‚ it is obvious that a developed Africa‚ liberated from the scourge of pervasive poverty‚ would be in a much better and stronger position to stand up for its inalienable right to determine its destiny‚” Mbeki said.
RDM News Wire.