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African Renaissance Conference 2017

                                                  


 

WELCOME MESSAGE FROM DR SIBUSISO NDEBELE :

CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN RENAISSANCE,

NATIONAL MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

Welcome to the 16th African Renaissance Conference During this Africa month, South Africa also celebrates its fifth successful, democratic, free and fair national elections. We congratulate the African National

Congress (ANC) for its resounding victory, and salute the millions of South Africans who again have given the party a mandate to deepen democracy, to promote non-racialism, social cohesion and justice, to push back the frontiers of poverty and to bring dignity to all. The task is upon all leadership, from different political parties, business, youth formations, the religious community and civic organizations, to work together to build a prosperous South Africa which is at peace with itself and the world. On 2nd May 1993, at the burial of his friend and former president of the ANC Oliver Tambo, our founding President, the late Nelson Mandela, said: “I say that Oliver Tambo has not died, because the ideals for which he sacrificed his life can never die…I say that Oliver Tambo has not died because the ideals of freedom, human dignity and a colour-blind respect for every individual cannot perish. While the ANC lives, Oliver Tambo cannot die!”

The annual African Renaissance Festival continues to be an exciting, and worthwhile, opportunity to celebrate Africa’s progress and the renewal of our continent. The African Renaissance movement is raising a pan African consciousness of its people. Dr. Nkwame Nkrumah, first president of independent

Ghana, once remarked that we are Africans not because we are born in Africa, but because Africa is born in us. Africa has come a long way in furthering the objectives of the African Renaissance ideal. Dr. Pixley ka-Isaka Seme was correct to state in his famous 1906 speech at Columbia University, entitled “The Regeneration of Africa,” that “the day of great exploring expeditions of Africa are over”. We should again claim the 21st century as an African century, recalling President Mandela’s words, at the OAU Meeting of Heads of State and Government in Tunis in June 1994, that: “Where South Africa appears on the agenda again, let it be because we want to discuss what its contribution shall be to the making of the new African Renaissance. Let it be because we want to discuss what materials it will supply for the rebuilding of the African As a country and continent, we dare not fail the founding fathers of Africa’s independence from colonial tyranny and bondage. Today, it is encouraging to see Africans throughout the continent investing
huge resources, and energy, in promoting development through programmes focusing on democracy, water, energy, transport and communications. Africa was never a stagnant continent. Since the beginning of time, the continent was part of international trade and development. This year, our theme, Africa in Motion, captures the relentless, forward momentum of the African continent. The title of the
annual African Renaissance publication, iBuya, refers to the strong, indefatigable sea-tide as it recedes and flows back. There is more that connects us as Africans than that which seeks to divide us. As Africans, we need to recognise the strength of the strong tide of African unity which has been sweeping Africa for decades. Amidst the challenges of conflict in certain parts of the continent, the connections are stronger and the tide of change is powerful.


As South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy, we have learnt much and overcame many challenges. We are ready to move forward. The National Development Plan (NDP) has clearly set out a 2030 vision for the country. South Africa’s experience of democratic political change, and national reconciliation, continues to be applauded by many countries in Africa as well as the international community. Democracy, however, should ultimately translate to tangible, development results for the citizenry. Investments in infrastructure programmes are one major way to bring much needed development. The importance of Africa’s major resources of sea, air and land cannot be overemphasized. No country in the world can develop sustainably without providing the necessary infrastructure to catalyse economic growth. The building of ports, airports, railways and roads, as well as creating strategies to manage them effectively and efficiently, are an essential part of a development agenda. With development, Africa’s natural assets, its landscapes, flora and fauna, need to be protected in order for responsible tourism to flourish. Tourism is a major contributor to GDPs of countries, and a huge income generator in Africa. Development calls for the development of pioneers in science, engineering, transportation and logistics, necessary for innovation and technology-driven growth.We also require a battery of people with specialised skills to drive different parts of the economy, which are not only in short supply in South Africa but in the world. Our plans and strategies should always bear in mind the nature and character of economies of the 21st century. These economies are increasingly moving away from resource based economies to knowledge economies, where a lot of business occurs in the cloud through computing and the internet. These knowledge economies are dependent on Information Communication echnologies (ICTs), internet connectivity and content generation. Africa can only achieve the desired movement of products and services if it participates fully in exciting opportunities that have come up with the internet revolution and mobile telephony. These developments allow for better delivery of government services through e-government, and allow marginalized and rural communities to access needed services like e-medicine, e-commerce and e-learning. This new world order requires greater  ollaboration and innovation among entrepreneurs emerging from the African continent and the world.
Africa is in motion. Economic growth and development, which must benefit the people of our country, region and continent, must be the chief goal. We hope our deliberations at this conference will be productive, and bear fruit that will move the continent to the apex of civilization that Dr. Pixley Ka Isaka Seme spoke about in 1906. We should, therefore, remain steadfast in promoting peace, and in fighting
for the unity of African countries through regional, continental and international multilateral bodies. Working together, we can ensure that Africa’s motion continues to promote connectedness, growth and, above all, the dignity of all Africans - whose past history of motion meant the painful uprooting through centuries.