Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1999 12:21:49 -0500 (CDT)
From: Michael Eisenscher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Africa: MBEKI @ UAU
Africa must embrace globalisation - Mbeki
By Stephen Laufer, Business Day <http://www.bday.co.za/> (Johannesburg), 14 July 1999
ALGIERS - Africa had little choice but to embrace globalisation, but it should do so in pursuit of an ethical economy capable of creating equity, security and sustainable development, President Thabo Mbeki said yesterday. Leading the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit meeting discussion on globalisation, Mbeki said African leaders had to act in an informed manner and "not as King Canute wishing the waves away". Neither protectionism nor command economies offered a viable alternative to participation in global economic developments.
Pursuing a theme he raised in the Nonaligned Movement forum last year, Mbeki said it was important for Africa to develop a "sovereign continental capacity" to participate in processes that established the rules and institutions of global economic governance.
He echoed earlier warnings from Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and United Nations (UN) secretary-general Kofi Annan that it was high time Africa got its house in order, politically and economically.
The time for passing the buck was over. Politicians who did not "strive to understand economics are not worthy of exercising the duty they (have) as politicians. Those who are elected to lead must lead."
A revitalised African economic community had to pursue higher growth rates, sustained increases in the standard of living, sustained higher rates of investment and economic modernisation. The "beneficial integration of the African economy into the global economy" was crucial to Africa's future.
This would be possible only if Africa mobilised its intellectuals "to become partners in the struggle to interact with the process of globalisation".
In an aside directed at Africa's authoritarian rulers, Mbeki made it clear that the continent's intellectual capacity could be mobilised only in an environment free of fear and repression.
It would be possible to draw on intellectuals only if care was taken not "to alienate them, for example by seeking to suppress independent opinion". Mbeki warned that without a strong framework of rules and institutions, governing individuals and companies, there was a danger of global conflict in the next century. "Trade wars promoting national corporate interests, uncontrolled financial volatility setting off civil conflicts and untamed global crime" could result if a rules-based international system was not entrenched.
As Africa's oversight mechanisms, the OAU secretariat, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank had to be reformed.
Copyright (c) 1999 Business Day. Distributed via Africa News Online (www.africanews.org). For information about the content or for permission to redistribute, publish or use for broadcast, contact the publisher.