Africa needs progressive forces to forge integration - Mbeki

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa warned here Thursday that the renaissance and integration of Africa would be hard to attain without the mobilisation of progressive forces to bring about change on the continent.
  "Issues such as women's emancipation and improving life in the rural world do not appeal to conservatives," the South African leader noted during a panel discussion at the first conference of intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora, underway in the Senegalese capital.
  Other speakers at the roundtable on Africa's integration and renaissance included host President Abdoulaye Wade and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.
"Democracy, peace and stability are central to African integration," Mbeki stressed, taking some 500 intellectuals at the forum to task over their contribution to the continental drive for development and progress.
Recalling Karl Marx's contention that philosophers did no more than interpret the world whereas changing it was of greater essence, Mbeki urged Africa's intelligentsia and their brethren in the Diaspora to come up with ideas and strategies that would change the continent for the better.
"What do we do to advance democracy and stability in Africa?" he asked, noting for instance, that a major challenge facing the continent's intellectuals is to find formulas for containing the racial and ethnic animosities fuelling conflicts in several States.
Stating that over 350 years Apartheid bred racial prejudice in South Africa, he said African intellectuals could take up the challenge of figuring out how to cultivate non-racial ethos in the country.
Mbeki also cited Burundi, which is in the process of drafting a new constitution, saying African intellectuals could probe constitutional processes with a view to forestalling differences and controversies that could fuel another tragedy, 10 years after the genocide in neighbouring Rwanda.
He said African intellectuals should identify the very nature of the troubles in Darfur (Sudan), Cote d'Ivoire, south-eastern Nigeria and DR Congo so as to determine the most appropriate approach to their resolution.
On the continent's economic difficulties, Mbeki said it would be illusive to expect Africa to break the shackles of poverty and underdevelopment without the infusion of a large amount of capital resources similar to what was provided depressed Germany by the West.
"Ironically, Africa instead, suffers huge capital outflows in debt servicing," he lamented.

07 october 2004 15:05:00

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