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Date: Thu, 15 Jul 1999 12:21:49 -0500 (CDT)
From: Michael Eisenscher <meisenscher@igc.org>
Subject: Africa: MBEKI @ UAU
Organization: ?
Article: 69843
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.18017.19990716121611@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

South Africa's Mbeki Urges African Leaders to Get Wise to Economics

By Susan Linnee, Reuters
Updated 7.19 p.m. ET (2319 GMT) July 13, 1999

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and General Secretary of the OAU Tanzanian Salim Ahmed Salim welcome Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi in Algiers Speaking at a closed-door session, Mbeki criticized as "fundamentally flawed" a proposed paragraph on globalization to be included in the declaration to be issued at the end of the three-day summit.

"Mere moral appeals from the have-nots to the haves are not likely to take us very far," said the former South African businessman who encouraged his colleagues "to gain a profound understanding of economics, so that we intervene in an informed manner."

The text of Mbeki's speech was made available to reporters by his office, not a customary practice at Organization of African Unity summits, where most of the proceedings are not recorded.

After ticking off a litany of Africa's economic ills outlined in a U.N. Development Program report, Mbeki said Africa must make a "conscious and deliberate intervention in the process of globalization." The U.N.'s 1999 Human Development Report said the challenge of globalization in the 21st century is not "to stop the expansion of global markets," but "to ensure that globalization works for people - not just profits." Mbeki expressed impatience with those leaders who simply complain that globalization is passing Africa by and reminded them that little has been done to implement the 1991 Treaty of Abuja that established an African Economic Community.

The second day of the three-day 35th OAU summit was to be devoted to economic issues, but as in past gatherings the continent's conflicts and bilateral talks on security issues took up most of the African leaders' time. Sadako Ogata, head of the U.N. refugee agency, used the summit to remind African leaders at informal meetings that peace and development were the only long-term solutions for returning more than 4 million refugees and displaced people back home.

Repeating his appeal for an African renaissance, Mbeki called for the establishment of a framework of rules, institutions and established practices in African governments and markets that would "set limits and give incentives for the behavior of individuals, organizations and firms." He said a concerted African response to issues of global cooperation is needed on, among other things:

  • the issue of Africa's $220 billion debt; - the issue of gold sales by the International Monetary Fund and central banks of developed countries;
  • the possibility of a world investment trust as a device for attracting vital capital from developed countries.