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African Renaissance Conference 2017

                                                  

     

    CONNECTING AFRICA:


     

    OVERVIEW OF THE 15TH ANNUAL AFRICAN RENAISSANCE CONFERENCE 2013.

    The 15th annual African Renaissance Conference was held on the 23rd and 24th May 2013 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban. The African Renaissance Conference allows a diverse group of people to come together to share experiences, learn and collaborate further.
     

    The programme featured prominent speakers including Minister in the South African Presidency, Mr Trevor Manuel; Minister of Correctional Services, Sibusiso Ndebele; Minister of Rural Development 

    and Land Reform, Mr Gugile Nkwinti; Senior Economist of KPMG, Ms Lullu Krugel; CEO of Nashua Communications, Mr Andy Openshaw and Group CEO of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd, 
    Mr Stephen Saad, amongst others.The topics under discussion included the Implementation of the National Development Plan and its impact on public/private partnerships; Drivers of growth for 
    African cities and lessons learnt; Maritime trade in Africa; ITC development on the African continent; Promotion of Tourism into Africa and SA Government’s strategy on economic growth through infrastructure development. Of note a number of presentations included an emphasis on empowering the people of Africa to achieve socio economic growth through the creation of better infrastructure, 
    regional integration, skills development as well as the development of leaders. 

     

    Intrinsic to the Africa Renaissance movement is the likes of leaders such as Nelson Mandela that connected South Africa to the world and the rest of Africa. Through the support of African leaders the foundation has been set for the rise of Africa. The important role of effective leadership was stressed by MEC Mr Mabuyakhulu who stated that Africa was defined as the Dark Continent in 1898. In 2013 Africa is defined as continent of opportunity. He stated, “We need leaders to take the challenges of the regions and convert them into packaged solutions.”Minister Sibusiso Ndebele  commented that, “Connecting Africa through infrastructure is key to sustainable economic and social growth on the continent, as it allows for movement of goods and people. It is this infrastructure network which connects firms, villages, towns and cities and leads to global markets and destinations.Connecting Africa is also

    about empowering the people of Africa tohave better control over their lives throughaccess to resources such as technology, public transport, health facilities and education, which will improve their living
    standards. Empowerment creates positive people who are the cornerstone for the advancement of the development agenda for Africa.” The importance of people was emphasised by Dr Zweli Mkhize who said that this event, “Is about drawing upon all of our resources to find a people-centred approach to the challenges facing KwaZulu-Natal and the continent of Africa. It’s about investing, as a people, in our province and about encouraging our brothers and sisters, who were born and raised in KwaZulu-
    Natal, to devote some of their time and resources to helping us build a better life for all in our province.”
     

    The need for empowerment was stressed by Deputy President Mr Kgalema Motlanthe  who stated that there is a need to develop an African way and break with the view that  we must take from the rest of the world how things need to work. The ultimate goal is to  create a fair world where Africa has a place as an equal.
     

    The emphasis on human development, leadership and the need for human action is evident in the National Development Plan (NDP), which has six key pillars that have been highlighted for the implementation process: Mobilisation of all South Africans; Active engagement of citizens in their own 
    development; Expansion of the economy and making growth inclusive; Building of key capabilities (human, physical & institutional); Building a capable and developmental state; Fostering of strong 
    leadership throughout society. Mr Trevor Manuel stressed that the long term goal is to raise the living standards of all the people. The NDP focuses on education and the empowering of communities. The same Constitution and laws govern the services in the “leafy suburbs” and so we do not want 
    to perpetuate the inequalities of the past.The NDP addresses the early educational years and also health matters to provide foundations for the future generations. The scale of the NDP implementation over the next 17 years is immense and therefore requires the commitment of all sectors of 
    society, government and the private sector.Mr Khulekani Mathe, Snr Policy Analyst, Presidency said, “In the words of JF Kennedy, people is the best resource we have. We need to mobilise the people to 
    implement the NDP. We need the young people to be engaged in the process to ensure the implementation meets their long term needs. We need to increase public support for the NDP.”
    Mr Bhekokuhle Sibiya –CEO, Chamber of Mines South Africa spoke on the impact of the National Development Plan on business. He emphasised the role of people and that in order to be successful the NDP needed: ӹ Thorough introspection and the inter-  nalisation thereof;

     

    • Thorough consultation: consultation is courtship, roses and compliments which do better than criticisms and fobbing off;
    • Thorough communication: often times  effective communication is done with our  mouths shut and our ears wide open;
    •  Deep commitment to the spirit of  partnership: the focus of Team South  Africa (government, political parties,  labour unions, organised business,  community based organisations);
    • Eliminating a ‘Holier than Thou’ attitude  the moderation of the ‘Me, Me, Me  culture’, “I want it all–I want it now”  approach;
    • Resilience, patience, persistence and  perseverance.

     

    Mr Molefe, CEO of Transnet confirmed that Transnet has the following focus areas in the development of infrastructure - ports, rail, pipelines and special projects. However, in order to capitilise on the opportunities in resources and markets in Africa, skills are required. He commented that, “We need 
    to ensure that maritime subjects are taught in schools. In addition, we need to create more maritime colleges to develop the skills for the future, even in remote areas of the country not near the sea.”

    New technologies and the improved access that the internet provides to education and information have also been shown to be important. The concern was raised around the access that young people have to 
    the development opportunities. Mr Openshaw, CEO Nashua Communications, stated that the youth can access the education and information opportunities via their mobile phones. New opportunities are arising around telecoms sales and support. The more technical aspects of using the gaps in TV analogue and digital signals to transfer data/information/content is being developed by people with high 
    technical skills. This does present new opportunities for the youth in direct business opportunities.
    Ms Lullu Krugel, Senior Economist, KPMG confirmed that capacity building would promote trade

    in Africa which includes the following aspects that: skills transfer takes place on projects; use technology processes to improve document flow; procedures need harmonisation; address infrastructure needs;
    and most importantly, political support especially around corruption reduction.
    The Youth Conference held on the 20 May was facilitated by Ignitesa.com, which is a value based organisation based on the empowerment of young people. This event emphasised that young people need to be engaged and the issues that they face need to be considered as part of a comprehensive solution. To create the dialogue to move South Africa forward the youth require an number of core values which have been articulated as: Leadership, Education, Personal
    and Career Development, Entrepreneurship, Media in Africa and Global Connectivity, Dialogue. The one day conference consisted of a number of presentations, which promoted youth development. Key threads included:
     

    • Leaders are accountable
    • No handouts
    •  Manage Brand You
    • Take the first step and implement your
    • plan
    • Continuous learning and gathering
    • information
    • Challenge convention and innovate
    • Invest in you and identify your True
    • Value
    • Find your Fire
    • Never Give Up

    Minister Sibusiso Ndebele who addressed the youth conference also emphasised the role of young people in promoting development in South Africa. He stated that the generation that attended the ANC
    conference in 1912 in Mangaung sacrificed a great deal. They travelled from far and wide, recognising that this was essential for the next generation to benefit. It is essential that the youth of today, living alongside the older generations, work to build our country. In his seminal speech entitled ‘Without
    Unity, There is No Future For Africa’, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere submitted that: “Unity will not make us rich, but it can make it difficult for Africa and African peoples to be disregarded and humiliated. And it will,
    therefore, increase the effectiveness of the decisions we make and try to implement for our development. My generation led Africa to political freedom. The current generation of leaders and peoples of Africa
    must pick up the flickering torch of African freedom, refuel it with their enthusiasm and determination, and carry it forward.” As stated by Prof Sihawukele Ngubane the African Renaissance is the celebration
    of the continent moving from the status of the Dark Continent to the Rising Africa status.