NEW YORK, 16 SEPTEMBER 2002
STATEMENT BY HE AMBASSADOR ANTÓNIO MARTINS DA CRUZ, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND OF THE PORTUGUESE COMMUNITIES, TO THE HIGH-LEVEL PLENARY MEETING OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (to consider how to support the New Partnership for
Africa’s Development - NEPAD)
1. Today, more than ever, people ask their leaders for the possibility to make their dreams come true, with confidence and optimism for a better future.
Africa, more than any other continent, has been lacking this for too long. Poverty, starvation, disease, war, debt, and corruption – all these ills have been growing and are widespread. Due to them, Africahas become the “forgotten continent”.
But as we say in
: “where there is life, there should be hope”. I believe that it was with a similar mindset that the leaders of the continent conceived a far-reaching initiative, by Africans and for Africans, powered by a global vision, and by global values. Portugal
2. The New Partnership for
Africa’s Development can be considered a stepping-stone, the first single policy that aims at changing an entire continent. Its endorsement, by the states of the African Union, emphasizes its African leadership and ownership of the development process. At the same time it is calling for a new partnership based on shared responsibility and mutual interest.
Its vision, however, does not take away its realism. Shaped by a heritage of poverty and suffering, it recognizes the enormous potential of the African peoples, and underlines the need to reinforce peace, democracy, good governance, human rights, and sound economic management.
3. As any partnership, it is a two-way street. Its obligations are reciprocal.
As far as we, non-Africans, are concerned, it will mean efforts to make our development assistance more effective. As well as ensuring that our markets are open to business with
Africa. That is the only way to allow capital flows to have a real impact in reducing poverty and increasing opportunity for African investments.
On the part of the African partners, it will mean, basically, adding substance to the initiative:
– through good governance,
– through the strengthening of the democratic process,
– through sound economic policies,
– through the development of policies in the fields of health, education, agriculture, and the management of water resources,
– and through the improvement of regional trade.
The bottom line for the success of this initiative is that it must be embraced by all Africans. All levels of African societies need to be active participants. As the NEPAD’s opening declaration states, “The New Partnership will be successful only if it is owned by the African peoples united in their diversity.” The key is having Africans work together for the good of
4. Both the Western world and several countries in
Africahave to share the blame for the fact that large parts of the continent are far poorer than they would need to be. Despite our promises, Europeans have not dedicated enough of their resources and an adequate cooperation policy to the fight against the problems of Africa. At the same time, some African leaders have resisted implementing measures to promote an equitable distribution of income, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.
It is time to change this.
Much of the Portuguese foreign policy is focused - has been over the last decades and indeed still is – on issues of special concern and interest to
- our involvement in a peaceful solution to the civil wars that destroyed so much of
, Angola and Mozambique , namely through participating in peacekeeping operations. Guinea-Bissau
- our negotiations of debt payments, with a clear view to finding a solution that will not impact negatively in the development of the countries involved.
- our pressure, within the European Union, to address the economic causes of armed conflicts, to finance the eradication of antipersonnel mines, to recognize the role of women in society; as well as to implement significant development programmes for African countries and regions.
5. The challenges facing the African continent are serious and complex. Unfortunately we have daily reminders of them. Some African countries are still involved in international conflicts, in civil wars, or suffer violent social unrest. Some African countries have still to make a full transition to democracy. One African out of two continues to live in absolute poverty, a situation only aggravated by the spreading of diseases, such as AIDS and malaria.
But all coins have two sides. And the reality is also that
Africais breeding a new generation of leaders, actively promoting a vast and unstoppable movement towards democracy, peace, and economic and social progress. The last decades have seen the majority of African nations make enormous progress in establishing political, economic and social structures, ending age-old conflicts, launching regional cooperation and integration.
6. What I would like to reiterate is that
is more than ever committed to its relationship with Portugal Africa. We cannot miss this opportunity, to make sure that Africamoves from declarations to concrete deeds, from statements to specific results.
Within the European Union, we have reiterated our support for the NEPAD from the very beginning.
shall remain an active defender of the initiative. The EU is in the process of preparing a platform on further developing relations between the EU and Portugal Africato be discussed at the EU/Africa Ministerial to be held in late November in . The next Europe-Africa summit, to be hosted by Ouagadougou in April 2003, will also constitute a good opportunity to give new impetus to our common priorities. We believe that the agendas of the EU-Africa dialogue and of NEPAD could converge in all possible issues. And find a common approach to common solutions. Portugal
A word also for the role of the United Nations, which will continue to be central in assuring that
Africaremains on the global agenda.
7. NEPAD will not be achieved overnight. The situation in
Africais the result of generations of decline. This path will call for the commitment of all parties involved. The resources required to finance development in Africawill not come from aid alone: they must come also from increased productivity, from investment and trade, based on mutual responsibility and benefits.
It is an historic journey of renewal. Its length is unknown, but we are certain of where we wish to arrive.
It is a journey that we will all make together. As equals. In solidarity.
Committed to the renewal of the great African continent, to the progress of its peoples, to transform Africa from the “forgotten continent” it has been for far too long, and bring it back to the shared light of the community of nations.