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African Renaissance Conference 2017

                                                  

Prof Sihawukele Ngubane :

Vice Chairperson and Organising Committee Chair for The African Renaissance 

As we celebrate twenty years of democracy in South Africa, we are proud to be part of the celebration as African Renaissance in KwaZulu-Natal. As we are in the celebration mood we must pay our special tribute to the great visionaries who led struggles for the Unity of the Africans and those in the Diaspora, who operated under very difficult circumstances 

As those familiar with the African Renaissance history will know 1999 was a landmark year for the inception of the Movement in KwaZulu-Natal. African Renaissance Festival is the forum which for the first time in 1999, brought together civil rights activists and ordinary people of Africa to debate and formulate dialogue on Africa’s agenda. Discussions and sharing of ideas will lead to solutions to free the African Continent of colonial rule. 

It is in the context that I welcome you all to the 16th African Renaissance Conference. “Africa in Motion” is the theme of the African Renaissance Festival 2014. Africa is on the move and the primary focus of this year’s celebration is on the maritime, air transport, tourism, and media and communication sectors. By continuing to develop connectivity, a platform for doing business in Africa is created

 

Much of Africa’s socio-economic development depends on her Maritime industry. Thirty-eight (38) African countries are either coastal or island states while fifty-two (52) of its over one hundred port facilities handle containers and various forms of cargo. As such the AU 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime 
Strategy (2050 AIM-Strategy) is considered “a new frontline of Africa’s true and meaningful Renaissance.” 
 

Africa covers a vast area therefore aviation is key to regional integration and connectedness. Airlines are used for social and business relations, and are essential for the import and export of goods, driving the economic development currently underway in the region.Tourism plays a huge role in many African economies. The natural environment and biodiversity, made up of wildlife and scenery is 
one of Africa’s strategic competitive advantages as a destination, however, conservation and protection of these resources is vital. 

Modern tourism is closely linked to development as a successful tourism sector also relies on good safety and security, health, infrastructure, education and training.  By developing tourism in Africa these important goals may also be achieved. 

Communication is critical to Africa’s challenges and ongoing momentum. The media has an important role to inform, educate and entertain. Mobile phone technology together with Africa’s access to bandwidth is providing solutions to African communication constraints and has great potential as a facilitator around solving social issues such as health and education. In addition, the social 
media in Africa is a cost-effective highly-functional and user-friendly communication platform, which is currently growing in popularity in a phenomenal manner. Of significance, we cannot forget the people of Africa. On a daily basis, whether it is the day to day functioning of a port, flying an airplane, tracking the spoor of elephant or writing about a new business deal in Africa, committed men and women drive Africa’s momentum. It is necessary to continue to provide real opportunities to improve capacity to drive the sectors that connect Africa and promote socio-economic growth. As such, the Youth Conference plays an important part of the celebration of Africa’s future as here young people are given examples of 
success to aspire to, as well as lessons in achieving their dreams.

I would also like to thank the African Renaissance team who have worked tirelessly in making sure that this 2014 Festival meets your expectations. We remain committed to continue staging this event for many years to come as we celebrate and provoke Africa’s development trajectory. In his own words, the late Mwalimu Nyerere observed:
“Unity will not make us rich, but it can make it difficult for Africa and its people to be disregarded and humiliated. The current generation of leaders and peoples of Africa must pick up the flickering torch of African Freedom, refuel it with that enthusiasm and determination and carry it forward”.
In the area of socio-economic development and African integration, Africa will continue to witness momentous development. We need to position ourselves to make full use of any opportunity coming our way.Africa my land, Africa our land, we love you!!!!