G8 summit Africa's defining moment, says Mbeki

The G8 conference in Kananaskis, Canada this week signified the end of the epoch of colonialism and neo-colonialism, President Thabo Mbeki said on Friday.

The conference would go down in history as a defining moment in the process both of the evolution of Africa and the birth of a more equitable system of international relations.

Writing in the African National Congress’ (ANC) on-line publication, ANC Today, Mbeki said unlike the 1885 Berlin Conference—when the European powers met to “share Africa among themselves”—it had convened to agree on the specific measures needed to eradicate the legacy bestowed on Africa.

“It convened to decide on the things that had to be done to give birth to a new partnership of equals between Africa and the developed world, based on the concept of human solidarity.

“In historical terms, it signified the end of the epoch of colonialism and neo-colonialism,” he said.

This was underlined by the fact that at the Kananaskis Conference, the decision of the developed world to enter into a new partnership with Africa was expressed in concrete form.

More than 100 specific projects or actions in an Africa Action Plan, described as the initial response of the developed world to the New Plan for Africa’s Development (Nepad), were identified.

The historic importance of the Kananaskis Conference derived not only from the redefinition of the relations between Africa and the developed world, Mbeki said.

“It also consists in the fact that Africa was able to enter into this new partnership because her peoples had, in the first instance, decided to enter into a new partnership among themselves.

“In drawing up Nepad, the peoples of Africa decided to rely on their combined resources to overcome the scourges of poverty and underdevelopment.

“Without the partnership among the Africans, the partnership between Africa and the rest of the world would have been impossible.

“Thus, at Kananaskis, the peoples of Africa reaffirmed their commitment to take their destiny into their own hands, practically.

“With regard to our engagement with the G8 and the EU, as well as the Nordic countries, the next step we must now take is to work together, as a matter of urgency, to translate the Africa Action Plan into specific, implementable projects covering all the areas mentioned in the plan,” Mbeki said. - Sapa

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