|H.E Anatolio Ndong|
Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Equatorial Guinea to the UN
Anatolio Ndong Mba, the new Permanent Representative of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations, today presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Ndong Mba was a consultant with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), serving as the agency’s representative in Djibouti from November 2008 to February 2009. Between 2004 and 2008, he served as FAO representative in Angola and Sao Tome and Principe, resident in Luanda, serving also as Acting United Nations Resident Coordinator from March 2007 to July 2008, when he retired from the agency. From 2001 to 2004, Mr. Ndong Mba was Deputy Regional Representative of FAO for Africa and Representative in Ghana, having previously served as Representative in Guinea-Bissau between 1997 and 2001.
|Africa Solutions to African Problems: Education, Health, Culture, Economy, Culture, Peace & Security||04/ 16/ 2014|
Africa’s Growing Influence on the Global Stage
Mr. Chairman, Colleagues, Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, Let me at the outset express my sincere thanks and appreciation on behalf of my Government, our Permanent Mission and myself, for inviting me to this very important event of Ambassadors Series: “African Solutions, African Problems”, as an honorary Speaker. Africa is indeed the birthplace of humanity and the cradle of civilization. As such, Africa has had a significant impact on the development and evolution of mankind.
Historically, long before the advent of colonialism, Africa had established astronomy, mathematics and architectural science as evidenced in the magnificent pyramids of Egypt. Additionally, during the pre-colonial era the continent had well established local economies, a judicial and social order based on various traditional chiefdoms and kingdoms, one example of this is the Ashanti kingdom ‘in Ghana. These African advancements have influenced other regions of the world with lasting impact. Africa’s influence on the world can also be seen in its culture especially in terms of her art and music. Renowned European artists like Pablo Picasso painted in a style which was strongly influenced by African sculpture now regarded as Picasso’s African Period. Africa’s musical influence continues to be felt around the world from American pop and jazz to Cuban rumba, Africa’s culture permeates the world. Even during the colonial period, Africa’s impact on Western Europe and the New World was undeniable. As the “scramble” for Africa by Western powers intensified, much of Africa’s wealth in terms of her raw materials was transferred from Africa to the West and African skilled labor was later employed through the infamous Trans-Atlantic slave trade to work in the fields as well as build infrastructure in the New World such as roads and buildings. Against this introductory background, I will now focus on post-colonial and contemporary Africa, her political and economic resurgence and end with the new Africa paradigm.
AFRICA’S POLITICAL INFLUENCE
In recent years many African nations celebrated an important milestone of 50 years of independence. At the same time, this milestone also marks a continent that has come of age and is determined to chart its own independent course. From a political perspective, Africa has made significant progress. There are more democratically elected governments and multi-party states today than at any time since independence. Political pluralism has taken root in almost the entire Continent and is strongly supported by the African Union. Governance has also improved and there have been many successful reforms with many more are underway. In Equatorial Guinea for example, H.E. President OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO signed and officially promulgated Fundamental Law Reform on February 16 2012. This reform stipulates that Equatorial Guinea rests on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights (also known as the Banjul Charter) with the goal of promoting and protecting human rights and basic freedoms on the African continent.
Furthermore, the Law reform in Equatorial Guinea also requires equal rights and protection under the law as well as gender equality. Several other African countries have either implemented or are implementing similar reforms that advance the rule of law and improve governance.
The Africa Union is growing in stature in the continent as it plays an even greater role in promoting regional peace and security. Internationally, African countries are also playing a greater role as international partners by contributing to UN peacekeeping efforts around the world.
AFRICA’S ECONOMIC INFLUENCE
Africa’s impact on the world’s economy through its natural resources is ever present; whether in the form of fine jewelry manufactured from precious minerals mined in South Africa or Botswana or oil drilled from Nigeria or Equatorial Guinea, or steel manufactured from iron ore mines in Guinea and Sierra Leone to delectable chocolate manufactured from cocoa beans grown in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, and coltan used in the manufacture of electronic devices we use in our daily lives mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa remains an integral part of the world economy with a strong influence on global commodity markets. Africa is by far the richest confinement in terms of endowment in natural resources; its manufacturing base however, remains a small fraction of her true potential. Botswana, the world’s largest producer of diamonds for example has taken steps to have that country realize more economic benefits from its vast deposits of diamonds for her people by insisting that De Beers, a leading producer of uncut diamonds move their trading and sorting operations from London to Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. This relocation which occurred in 2013, signals the transfers of about US$6.5 billion a year business to the people of Botswana. It is also important to note that Africa’s economic growth rate has been remarkable. According to The Economist, Six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa and many African countries have enjoyed growth in income per person of more than 5% a year since 2007. Africa’s rise on the global stage is palpable. The continent’s emerging middle class with increasing disposable income is slowly being recognized. According to the Ernst & Young’s attractiveness survey Africa 2013, the size of the African economy has more than tripled since 2000 moreover, a number of African economies are predicted to remain among the fastest growing in the world. To site another source, McKinsey Global Institute analysis indicated that four sectors in Africa namely — Consumer products and services, Infrastructure, Agriculture and Natural Resources will together be worth $2.6 Trillion in annual revenue by 2020. As such, the continent’s economic impact on the rest of the world is unmistakable. To sustain this growth trajectory, many countries on the continent are embarking on policies of diversification and infrastructural development to attract investors and build a solid foundation for development. In my country Equatorial Guinea, H.E. The President of the Republic set in motion Equatorial Guinea’s long—term development plan “Horizon 2020″ which was instituted in 2007. This strategic plan aims to invest in important sectors which will in turn strengthening economic growth ensure a transparent social climate, build important infrastructure to support a modern nation state and improve social welfare and reduce poverty. A billion dollars have been set aside to support this bold initiative.
Another important goal of H.E. President OBIANG NGUEMA and his government is that of economic diversification which will reduce our reliance on oil revenues by converting revenues from oil into large public works projects. Equatorial Guinea has experienced significant growth and infrastructure development over the past few years and we continue to expand secondary and tertiary roads into rural areas and also pipe-borne water supply and electricity into villages and rural areas. Equatorial Guinea exemplifies the growth trajectory of Africa. But while the government continues to make significant gains and improvements, marked by its impressive development accomplishments, it is unfortunate to note that some former colonial powers with nostalgic and acquisitive interests, insist on playing the unwelcomed role of colonial master by auto-proclamation and that of a self-appointed care—taker determined to find ‘‘solutions” for the internal problems of Equatorial Guinea. What problems? Our country was left largely undeveloped at the time of our independence. Since then, significant progress has been achieved. We recognize our current challenges concerning sustainable development in the country. These challenges as I have previously stated are being addressed by the government through the implementation of the Horizon 2020 program and is working tirelessly toward solving current problems and challenges. Therefore, I would like to seize this opportunity to state that Equatorial Guinea is and has been an independent republic and a sovereign country since her independence in 12 October 1968 and is not a protectorate under the auspices of any country, we merely seek equal partnerships. Nowadays, there are problems and challenges everywhere and countries should first concentrate on solving their own political and economic problems before interfering in the internal affairs of others, ostensibly to “help” or “solve” manufactured “problems” when in many instances the real intention is one of destabilization in order to gain unfettered access to Africa’s natural resources.
It is important to note that as many Africa nations mark 50 years of post-colonial independence, the continent has indeed come of age. What this means in practical terms is that Africa, while welcoming of partnerships and international cooperation, at the same time, she is determined to chart her own independent course consistent with her values and interests.
THE NEW AFRICA PARADIGM
As Africa continues to make significant progress in the political, social and economic spheres, the continent demands an even greater role on the world stage. Africa welcomes partnerships but Africans must lead Africa’s development and African solutions must be applied to African problems. This leads me to the next phase in the continent’s evolution, which I refer to as the new Africa paradigm. There are several important factors that underpin this new paradigm.
First, it is important that Africa and its 54 countries be regarded as equal partners on the world stage. This equal partnership can begin to be realized by having Africa or its representative participate more fully in regional groups such as the G7. While at this time, countries in Africa do not equal the GDP of the existing members, it stands to reason nonetheless that because world affairs are being discussed and formally or informally decided, Africa should have a sit at the table representing a billion people. Additionally, greater collaboration with the European Union would be in the mutual interests of both parties.
Second, this new paradigm shift means that Africa will be exerting its influence for a more fair and equitable benefit from its natural resources as seen in the earlier example of Botswana. For far too long, the African continent has been relegated to being the supplier of raw materials to the rest of the world with little or no value addition being done in-country. This is especially problematic in light of the fact that many African countries are grappling with very high unemployment rates especially among the youths and women, a situation that could lead to social unrest in some countries. As such, Africa must capture greater value in the value chain of her minerals and agricultural products. Third, Africa seeks an even greater economic diversification; this means that while Africa extends the value it receives from her natural resources, at the same time, there is a movement to increase diversification into other sectors for greater national and continental resiliency, making the continent less susceptible to oil shocks and volatility in the world commodity markets.
From an agricultural perspective the continent will look to move away from a monoculture, the cultivation of a single crop in a given area. This was historically done to supply industries in the West and usually at the expense of Africans.
Fourth, Africa requires a greater say in the management and governance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In the past policies were simply imposed on the continent and in some cases without regard to the cultural and socio-economic impact, resulting in negative consequences. Although there has been some improvement in both institutions, Africa can still benefit from more consultations and in playing a greater role in the governance of both organizations.
Finally, I wish to conclude by saying that since Africa is becoming an important driver of future global economic growth, since Africa is home to a billion inhabitants and growing, since Africa is growing in its strategic importance to the rest of the world, it is time to validate Africa’s growing importance. It is now time that Africa occupies permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. Africa, with 54 members in the United Nations, is unfortunately the only continent without Permanent seats in an Organ where more that 70% of the agenda pertains to Africa. It is imperative that after 69 years since the founding of the United Nations, Africa be given this fundamental right in order to participate fully and effectively in the discussions and decisions for solution to its problems?
| .Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDlaVjjOVRo