Statement By DR GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCON, GCFR President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria AT THE 3RD AFRICA-SOUTH AMERICA SUMMIT MALABO, 20-23 FEBRUARY 2013
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me first of all express, on behalf of the Government and People of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, how delighted we are to be in Malabo for the 3rd Summit of Heads of State and Government of our two regions of Africa and South America.ÔÇő
May I, on behalf of the African Group, welcome you all, particularly our South American brothers and sisters, for participating at this Summit, the third since the establishment of our common partnership.
I also want to thank the Government and People of Equatorial Guinea, especially, His Excellency President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, for volunteering to host this Summit, at a time when the prospects of our meeting faced challenges arising from the crisis that confronted one of our member states. It is evident that no effort has been spared to make our arrival and stay in this beautiful city of Malabo, with this excellent conference facilities now appropriately named “The City of the African Union”, comfortable. This country and its capital city are truly emerging as a major conference and tourist destination, to the pride of our Continent.
The theme of this Summit, “Strategies and Mechanisms to Strengthen South-South Cooperation”, is a welcome reminder of the objectives which our two regions have set for ourselves in establishing this partnership. I am delighted that we are on good track as our officials have made concrete proposals and taken some measures based on the cherished ideals identified by us all at the two previous Summits.
Your Excellencies, Africa and South America are two regions of immense possibilities imbued with both human and natural resources. The combined population of over one billion people, and the vast natural and mineral resources available in the two regions, should place our regions at an advantageous position in the wider context of global multi-lateral engagements. Therefore, our objective should be to take advantage of the conducive setting in order to give further impetus and practical expression to South-South cooperation that our two regions have long been engaged in, under similar multi-lateral fora, such as the South America-Arab Countries (ASPA),
Africa–Asia summit and the Africa-China cooperation.
There is, however, the imperative need for this Summit to deepen the emerging partnership between Africa and South America as a mechanism to promote and enhance the political and socio-economic conditions of our countries. It is against this background that the eight (8) thematic areas of cooperation were carefully selected, namely, agriculture and environment (including food security and water resources); educational and cultural issues; institutional strengthening, governance and public administration; peace and security issues and related matter; social issues and sports (including health, gender and youth issues); science and technology and ICT; trade and investment and tourism; infrastructure, transport and energy (including mining). In this regard, we should be able to commit ourselves to the basic objectives of strengthening the existing links and understanding through the creation of the necessary environment and effective framework for constructive dialogue on socio-economic, political, cultural and other developmental issues.
Of course, this collaboration we must develop on the basis of certain shared and core values, including the strengthening of representative and participatory democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, good governance, the fostering of political pluralism, international peace and security, political stability and trust among nations.
We also have to exert our best efforts to complete the construction and consolidation of the institutions that would drive the collaboration. It is not enough to have the Strategic Presidential Committee play the role of an interim Secretariat when we have already agreed to establish a Permanent Secretariat at our previous Summit. Therefore, I urge that the Secretariat be established without further delay. We must also advert our minds to the creation of the ASA Trust Fund as well as the modalities for the deposit of funds into it. Here, I suggest that we do not limit ourselves to the traditional ways of funding the activities of international organizations and partnerships such as assessed contributions from regular budgets. Given the objectives we have set for ourselves, it is important that we consider innovative mechanisms for funding our activities.
It is imperative that the proposed Steering Committee to operationalise the Trust Fund be set up without further delay. The Steering Committee should be set up on the basis of the proposed formula of regional representation as well as the representation of both the African Union and UNASUR. The Steering Committee could, in the meantime, report to the proposed Ministerial Coordinating Group.
At this juncture, I would like to seize this opportunity to commend the officials who have worked tirelessly to elaborate the various documents now before us for consideration and adoption. I would also like to urge leaders of the two regions to implement the priority projects agreed upon to the benefits of our peoples. I strongly urge all Member States of the two regions to take a more holistic approach to concretize the partnership as a cohesive bloc. I believe that we should use this platform to strengthen our partnership in such a way as to encourage businessmen from both sides to develop a long lasting relationship that would stand the test of time. Our aim should be to build not only a partnership between government but one between governments as well as between peoples. Our respective populations do not expect anything less from us.
Excellencies, I would like to recognize the efforts of our international partners whose presence among us this morning is a further demonstration of their friendship and genuine desire to support our development agenda. Equally, let me pay tribute to our two Elder Statesmen who founded this Organisation, Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ignatio Da Silva, who were supposed to be here today.
Indeed, the outcome of this Summit will be the litmus test of our collective capacity and ability to accelerate the process of cooperation and collaboration between our two regions as well as between our two regions and the rest of the world.
I wish us all fruitful and successful deliberations.
I thank you all.