Keynote Address by Deputy Minister Alvin Botes at the Symposium focusing on the role South Africa plays in fostering multilateralism in Africa and the rest of the world on Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Keynote Address by Deputy Minister Alvin Botes at the Symposium focusing on the role South Africa plays in fostering multilateralism in Africa and the rest of the world on Wednesday, 12 May 2021


Professor Sibongile Muthwa, Vice Chancellor of Nelson Mandela University,

Professor Thandi MGWEBI, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research, Innovation and Internationalisation,

Professor Mkize, Discussion facilitator,

Professor MASEKO, Dean of Humanities,

Dr Sithembile MBETE,

Dr Philani MTHEMBU,

Student Respondents, Mr. Buntu Mnyaka & Mr. Mischeck MUGABE (SA Union of Students)


“The cardinal responsibility of leadership is to identify the dominant contradiction at each point of the historical process and to work out a central line to resolve it.” Mao Zedong.


The global environment at the time was still grappling with the end of the Cold War, the emergence of a unipolar world and a sudden rise in the neo-liberal agenda under the umbrella of the Washington Consensus. This international relations space, traditionally a state-centric forte, was also experiencing a sudden rise in the number of non-state actors. This multiplicity of actors had to be taken into account in our foreign policy approach, considering their competing interests in a power-driven environment.


Today, this globalised world has become even more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, South Africa therefore execute its foreign policy being conscious of this VUCA World (leadership theories of Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus). The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) therefore develop strategies that will effectively counter – balance Volatility with Vision, Uncertainty with Understanding, Complexity with Clarity and Ambiguity with Agility.


It is also confronted with cross-cutting and border-blind challenges, including global warming, terrorism, global pandemics, and cyber security.


The global governance architecture is at a crossroads, as it struggles to manage these stateless challenges afflicting humankind, while governing relations between states, as well as those between states and non-state actors.


It is in this environment that sovereign states promote and protect their interests, which are called the National Interest. Some interests are inherent in every nation state, while others are derived from a states’ domestic political and economic mandates, values, and historical experience. The National Interest components can be divided into economic, security/defence, ideological and world order. States pursue these interests internationally through their foreign policy and use methods/instruments such as diplomacy, alliance-building, public diplomacy, and coercion.


South Africa’s National Interest displays a people-centred, progressive and developmental outlook evidenced in its foreign policy, particularly as this has been expressed in the post-liberation canon of promoting pan-Africanism, South-South solidarity and cooperation, North-South cooperation, and multilateral cooperation.


Whilst executing four foreign policy priorities, we are cognizance of the domestic grievances relating to unemployment, poverty and inequality.


The contemporary global system has seen several shifts in the 21st century, which the COVID-19 pandemic can be seen revealing, exacerbating, and accelerating.


The rise of China and the Asian economies in general, the reassertion of Russian power projection, the acute unilateralism of the United States, the continued global influence of Europe (notwithstanding the complications post Brexit), the protracted and precarious security situation in the Middle East, and the emergence of Africa as a significant economy, while still grappling with long standing post-colonial challenges, are some of these new and evolving trends that are reconfiguring the global landscape.


Generally, the age of broad notions of bi-polarity and unipolarity in an apparent “global order” has given way to more complexity, an absence of global leadership and challenges to collective multilateralism. This has fostered a need to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the world and South Africa’s position and aspirations in it.


The implications for South Africa of this evolving landscape of global relations must be considered and approaches should be developed to advance South Africa’s strategic foreign policy objectives.


Centrality of Global Governance, to deepen multilateralism and negate unilateral realism: UN as the Primary Custodian of an Equitable World, the premier organ!


General Debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA75) are scheduled to take place from 21 September to 2 October 2020.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the session convened virtually under the theme: “The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism.”


The overarching issues that has been and are dominant and of relevance to South Africa during UNGA75 include: (a) the COVID-19 pandemic; (b) reflections on the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations; (c) peace and security matters; (d) the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and (e) the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.


South Africa’s membership as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, speaks diametrically to bulletin (c) peace and security matters.


South Africa’s second Presidency during its term as an elected member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period in 2019-2020, which took place in December 2020, the final month of South Africa’s two-year term on the UNSC.


South Africa served as part of a collective of A3, which were Côte d’Ivoire and Equatorial Guinea in 2019, and Niger, and Tunisia in 2020. Kenya replaced SA, therefore the current A3 consist of Tunisia, Niger and Kenya, min 2021. The three African non-permanent members of the UNSC, the so-called A3, are elected for a two-year term upon endorsement by the AU Assembly. Usually they represent three of the five regions of the continent, according to the principle of regional rotation in the AU.  Yet the A3 do not serve on the UNSC on behalf of the AU or the Peace and Security Council (PSC), but as individual members. Thus, they are not legally bound to support PSC positions – one of the tricky issues that often stand in the way of greater synergy.


This dichotomy serves as a lodestar for the necessity of Africa and the world to implement the Sirte declaration and the Ezulwini Consensus, which promoted inclusivity of a permanent footprint on the UNSC. In particular the transformation of the UNSC from having 15 members, P10 members rotating and non-permanent members. It therefore seeks to change the status quo of the P5 ‘permanent custodians’ of world peace, with veto rights, being China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


During this time, the Security Council considered various issues including: (i) the mandate renewal of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission (MONSUCO); (iii) the situation in Sudan and the withdrawal of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID); (iii) the authorisation for action on addressing piracy off the coast of Somalia; and, (iv) the situations in Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Israel/Palestine.


Additionally, there were meetings on the Interim Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals and Iran’s compliance with its obligations in terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear-deal). The Security Council also adopted a decision which brought to a close the Security Council’s consideration of the matter of Burundi on its agenda.


Three additional debates were held at the initiative of South Africa. These were a debate on “Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations (AU)”, held at Summit (Presidential) level; and, a debate on “Sustaining Peace: Security Sector Reform (SSR)”, held at Ministerial level. A third debate was held at Ambassadorial level focusing on the relationship between the Security Council and the International Court of Justice.


For South Africa, 2020 was the convergence of the country simultaneously holding key leadership positions in the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).  South Africa assumed the Presidency of the Security Council and the country was the Chair of the AU.  December 2020 was also the final month of the AU’s ambition to silence the guns on the Continent by 2020.  In this context, South Africa also hosted an Extraordinary Summit of the AU Assembly on Silencing the Guns in December 2020, where a decision was taken to extend the Silencing the Guns initiative by ten years.


Since a majority of the agenda items of the UNSC are African conflicts, the key focus of South Africa’s term on the Security Council had been to continue to play a meaningful role in strengthening the relationship between the AU and the UN, in particular, the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) and the UNSC.


South Africa also used the opportunity to continue to emphasise the importance of the rule of law and maintenance of international peace and security; peaceful settlement of conflicts; post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD), peacebuilding and sustaining peace; the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda (Resolution 1325 of 2000); and championing the cause of children and the youth in armed conflict situations.


In keeping with its focus on promoting the African Agenda, South Africa utilised its Presidency to highlight the strengthening of the AU-UN partnership and to focus on conflict prevention and resolution on the African Continent. South Africa further advanced PCRD and peacebuilding priorities by focusing on security sector governance and reform as well as the maintenance of the rule of law by encouraging the enhancement of the relationship between the UNSC and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).


While the programme of work of the UNSC included mandated reporting cycles and predetermined meetings of the Council, two high-level debates were held at the initiative of South Africa. These were a debate on “Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations (AU)”, held at Summit (Presidential) level; and, a debate on “Sustaining Peace: Security Sector Reform (SSR)”, held at Ministerial level. A third debate was held at Ambassadorial level focusing on the relationship between the UNSC and the ICJ.


The High-Level Debate on “Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations (AU)” in the context of international peace and security took place virtually. The debate was hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa, with briefings provided by the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG), António Guterres, and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa FakiMahamat. The meeting also included high-level representation from a number of Council members.


In his statement to the Council in his national capacity, President Ramaphosa welcomed the cooperation between the UN and the AU in international peace and security, with Africa taking ownership of the challenges on the continent and addressing these challenges with African solutions with the support of the UN.


The President underlined the need for predictable and sustainable financing of AU-led peace support operations authorised by the Security Council from UN assessed contributions. The President also emphasised the importance of acknowledging the nexus between peace, security and development and the synergy between the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the UN’s Agenda 2030 development approach. While bringing to the fore the gains made, the challenges were also acknowledged particularly with regard to the humanitarian situation on the continent and the exacerbating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Finally, SA highlighted the convening of the AU’s Extraordinary Summit on Silencing the Guns in Africa which would consider the gains made since this flagship programme was adopted in 2013 and drawing to a close in 2020.


During the debate, Council members were unanimous in acknowledging the gains made in African peace and security, particularly the effective role of the UN-AU partnership in addressing African conflicts. Most Council members also acknowledged the essential role played by the AU in this regard, and thus called for the consideration of the provision of adequate, predictable and sustainable funding to AU-led peace operations authorised by the UNSC from UN assessed contributions. While gains were lauded in Sudan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia and Libya; concern was expressed at the emerging threats to peace and security on the continent. In this regard, climate change, pandemics, terrorism, transnational organised crime, displacement of people and the exploitation of natural resources were highlighted as key threats.


The debate enjoyed significant support from Council members adopting a unified approach in support of the efforts of the AU and with regard to the cooperation between the UN and the AU. Overall the approach of the Security Council was positive, notwithstanding the highlighting of several remaining challenges such as the threat of COVID-19, and other emerging threats to peace and security on the continent. Council members adopted a Presidential Statement as an outcome to the debate.


The Security Council High-Level Debate on “The Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Security Sector Reform” took place virtually on 3 December and was presided over by SA.


In her intervention, Minister Pandor indicated that South Africa, in its approach to sustaining peace takes a holistic view as it relates to conflict prevention, post-conflict reconstruction and development. South Africa took a conscious decision to advance the imperative of peacebuilding in post-conflict societies by convening the debate focused on Security Sector Governance and Reform (SSG&R).


Minister Pandor highlighted that at the core of SSR is the expectation that a state should be able to efficiently and effectively provide security and protection to its population and that political will and buy-in from all segments of society, as well as a strong legislative and transformative policy framework is important. South Africa’s own successful security sector reform processes followed these same principles. Minister Pandor also informed the Council that through its bilateral engagements, South Africa has provided policy, institutional and structural advice on reforming the security sector as well as the training of personnel in several countries particularly on the African Continent.  Minister Pandor underscored that the support provided by the international community must be well coordinated and conform to national priorities of the host state. She added that this would be consistent with the principles of full national ownership and leadership that must guide an effective SSG&R process. Minister Pandor also stressed that the UN should strengthen its collaboration with regional organisations such as the AU.


Council members highlighted that SSG&R is important for peacebuilding and sustaining peace. They also highlighted that the security sector reform process must be nationally owned, inclusive and must take into consideration the views of women, youth and civil society. Council members also highlighted that through local, regional and international cooperation and partnerships, such as with the AU, the European Union (EU) and the UN, SSR can be more effective. Further to this, Council members indicated that accountability, rule of law and respect for human rights in SSR is also important for restoring trust and national reconciliation among populations and the government. Many Council members highlighted that SSR initiatives need to be context-specific and no “one-size-fits-all” approach can be applied. Council members also highlighted that members of the UN Security Council must ensure that the UN and its peacekeeping operations, as well as its special political missions, have clear mandates to address security sector reform issues. Council members also highlighted the importance of addressing security sector reform gaps and challenges across the UN system and where the UN is present, in non-peace operations contexts, including in the work of Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams. Several Council members also welcomed the security sector reform policy of the AU and the AU’s Agenda 2063 objectives and stressed the importance of security sector reform in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


The meeting was well attended at high level with many member states reiterating their support for SSR. Following the meeting, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2553 (2020) on SSR proposed by South Africa. This resolution is a recognition by the Security Council that emphasis must be placed on conflict prevention, peacebuilding and sustaining peace, primarily to avert relapses into conflict. The resolution was co-sponsored by the following countries, Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic, eSwatini, Fiji, the Gambia, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Palau, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Slovakia, South Africa, Tunisia and the United Republic of Tanzania.


An additional meeting was proposed by South Africa on the promotion and strengthening of the rule of law focusing on cooperation between the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice. The meeting was briefed by the President of the ICJ, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf. In his briefing, he reminded the Council of the complementarity of both organs in the maintenance of international peace and security and encouraged the Council to seek legal advice on conflict matters aimed at the prevention and resolution of conflicts. This meeting recognised the importance of cooperation between the two organs in settling disputes and highlighted that there are existing gaps such as lack of formal interactions on conflict matters, which should be addressed going forward. A Presidential Statement was adopted as an outcome of the meeting reinforcing the need for the UNSC and the ICJ to strengthen cooperation on conflict issues.


Other issues considered by the Security Council during the month of December included predetermined meetings on its agenda. These included (i) the mandate renewal of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission (MONSUCO); (iii) the situation in Sudan and the withdrawal of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID); (iii) the authorisation for action on addressing piracy off the coast of Somalia; and, (iv) the situations in Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Israel/Palestine. Additionally, there were meetings on the Interim Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals and Iran’s compliance with its obligations in terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear-deal).


The Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement which brought to a close the Security Council’s consideration of the matter of Burundi on its agenda and a resolution extending the mandate of MONUSCO for an additional twelve months and retaining the presence of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB).


At the 32nd Ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) held in Addis Ababa in February 2019, South Africa was elected to be the Chair of the Union in 2020. South Africa took over the responsibility from Egypt. President Ramaphosa took over the Chairship of the AU under the AU theme for 2020, entitled: “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.”


During his inauguration President Ramaphosa identified the following key priorities for South Africa’s Chairship of the Union namely, (i) Promote Peace and Security and advance the effort to Silencing the Guns; (ii) Support integration, economic development, trade and investment on the Continent; (iii) Infrastructure Development as a catalyst for the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); (iv) Advance women empowerment and entrepreneurship; (v) Support the good governance and democracy agenda; and (vi) Strengthen Cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations.


The above priorities that South Africa had earmarked during its Chairship were adversely affected by the disruption caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In this regard, the African Union (AU) has been at the forefront coordinating responses at the continental level. The Bureau of the AU Heads of State and Government chaired by HE Cyril Ramaphosa, the Chairperson of the AU, appointed Special Envoys to support the continent in the mobilization of financial resources, maintain economic activities and revive African economies.


The AU has also conducted several meetings with the Committee of Fifteen Ministers of Finance (F15) and the AU Special Envoys to reflect and provide a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic including mobilising emergency resources, opening borders and eliminating export restrictions on food and essential medical supplies, and a harmonised approach in mobilising resources to support and sustain all sectors of African economies.


The instrumentality of the development of the Africa Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) a non-profit initiative launched by the AU as an immediate, integrated and practical response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform was developed under the leadership of Mr Strive Masiyiwa AU Special Envoy. The platform was developed to assist the AU Member States to tackle issues on the supply side of continent’s response to COVID-19 and access to medical supplies and equipment.


At the moment the system of financing research and development (R&D) in the health sector is structured around the institutions of the market and regulated by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which ironically enforces patents, which are not an instrument of the free market but rather an instrument to secure monopolies for private investment in R&D. Developing countries that are debtors as opposed to creditors, users of technology as opposed to developers, need a greater voice in the institutions that write these rules. There also needs to be more cooperation with the private sector. More broadly, there is a need for new kinds of multilateralism and decision-making processes that favour the voice of the poorer countries while allowing for consensus and buy-in from corporations.


It was a moment that motivated legislative change and certain kinds of movements in international trade agreements about how the TRIPS Agreement and flexibilities should be interpreted and implemented. As a result, some of the essential medicines became much more accessible. But there hasn’t been enough of a systemic change. Provisions made for a particular disease or medicine are not enough. Today we are again discussing who will be setting the prices of the vaccines when they are developed. Who will pay for the development of the vaccines? Even though it involves taxpayer money, as a number of governments are pledging to fund the development of vaccines, it is still unclear if there are provisions in the agreements to ensure vaccines will be priced at an accessible level for low-income people and countries.


In line with President Ramaphosa’s responsibilities as Chair of the African Union to combat the COVID-19 pandemic on the Continent, the President subsequently convened and presided over a teleconferences to discuss Africa’s strategy for financing COVID-19 vaccines.


In 2017, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) considered a multilateral swap facility that would be open and unconditional to all countries. This was rejected by a minority of creditor shareholders that have a disproportionate share of voting rights at the IMF. To fend for themselves, the poorer countries of the world were essentially told that they should go to the IMF for loan packages. At the time of this writing, over 80 countries were discussing programs with the IMF.


Last week, we put forward a proposal for a major issuance of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) as a key tool to attack the worldwide spread of the financial fallout. In essence, we proposed that IMF members agree to an allocation of the equivalent of at least $500 billion as part of the global response to the crisis generated by the coronavirus pandemic.


The proposal has been echoed by other experts. It is also supported by the G-24, and following an emergency G-20 ministerial call on Monday, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva stated that the IMF was exploring with the membership the proposal made by several low- and middle-income countries for a new SDR allocation—“as we did during the Global Financial Crisis.


But some analysts, including Mark Sobel and Ousmène Mandeng, argue that an SDR allocation should not be part of the toolkit to combat the COVID-19 and subsequent financial crisis.


A new SDR allocation would require an 85 per cent vote, which means positive U.S. and European votes. We should remember, however, that the U.S. was not only a great supporter of the creation of SDRs in the 1960s, but also of later allocations, and notably that of 2009. There is no reason why they should see this as antagonistic to their role in the global monetary system, which will continue to be dominated by U.S. dollar assets. Indeed, voting for an issuance will dampen demand for swap lines from the Fed.


A multilateral swap facility at the IMF is also sorely needed, and versions have been proposed by Ted Truman, the G-20 Eminent Persons Group, and the IMF staff, among others. We also support the creation of such a facility in the IMF, which could be funded by an SDR allocation, again with countries not using their allocations making the funds available to the IMF to finance such a facility. As noted, this proposal was rejected by a minority of creditor countries at the IMF in 2017.


Lastly, we refute the notion that the IMF’s current firepower of $1 trillion—parts of which are already committed—will be enough to support its membership through this crisis. We hope to be proven wrong, but we are facing a global crisis of unprecedented proportions. Eighty countries have already approached the IMF for support, and this number is likely to rise as the crisis deepens. The international community needs to extend support so that public responses to the health crisis are not imperilled by financial crises.


COVID-19 does not discriminate between rich and poor countries, and until the virus is eradicated it will imperil the health of the world’s people and the global economy alike. This is a time for bold thinking and action. All solutions have trade-offs and limitations, but we hold that a large SDR allocation is part of the solution.


About a quarter of the United Nations Member States (47 countries) are LDCs, accounting for 12 per cent of world population, against less than 2 per cent of global GDP and less than 1 per cent of global trade and foreign direct investment (FDI). These countries, penalised by geography and history, host about 40 per cent of the world’s poor. Almost all are climate change-affected nations, and a large number are fragile states. Only about 18 per cent of the population in LDCs have access to internet—the vast majority are victims of the digital divide. LDC governments on average spend less than 2 per cent of their country’s GDP on public healthcare.


Given multiple setbacks, including weak public health services and low resources to mitigate the spread of the virus, the repercussions of this pandemic could roll back the progress made in these countries in the first cycle (2015–2020) of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


However, by end of March 2020, the virus has spread like wildfire throughout 26 African, seven Asian, one Caribbean (Haiti) and one Pacific Island (Timor-Leste) LDC. Five small island developing States (SIDS) (Comoros, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands) and one landlocked developing country (LLDC) (Lesotho) have not yet reported any infections. Data shows that LDCs in conflict and post-conflict status, like Afghanistan, Burkina Faso and Niger have reported some of the highest confirmed cases. However, Bangladesh—the most populous LDC—has confirmed the highest number of cases (1,231) in the group so far.


On the other hand, 23 out of the 41 affected LDCs have reported deaths. Incidentally, LDCs may have a lower number of confirmed cases than other countries in Asia, Europe and North America, but the death rates in some affected LDCs are much higher. For instance, Sudan (15.63 per cent) and Mauritania (14.29 per cent) are experiencing higher death rates than some OECD countries.


Conflicts and internal displacement crises could aggravate the impacts of the virus. Some African LDCs have also suffered from localised epidemics and natural disasters recently. For instance, Democratic Republic of the Congo has just come out of its battle against Ebola and the United Republic of Tanzania was recently overwhelmed by flooding.


The good news for about half the LDCs is that debt service relief has been granted by the IMF for the coming six months under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT).


As one of the outcomes of the meeting, the President established the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), in support of the Africa Vaccine Strategy.


In advancing the programme of the AU, South Africa was instrumental in ensuring that the statutory meetings of the AU are held virtually such as the 37th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council and the 2nd Mid-Year Coordination Meeting between the AU, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Mechanisms (RMs) and Member States. One of the major priorities achieved through South Africa’s Chairship of the AU was the hosting of the 13th Extraordinary Summit of the Assembly of the AU on AfCFTA. The Extraordinary Summit was held on 5 December 2020. The meeting was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the major outcomes of the Assembly meeting was the historic adoption of the Johannesburg Decision and Johannesburg Declaration on trading under the AfCFTA on 1 January 2020. The adoption of the Decision and the Declaration on AfCFTA provides technical and legal basis for the operationalisation and the commencement of trading under AfCFTA on 1 January 2021.


South Africa has also been seized with the issue of the Trilateral Negotiations on the GERD. Since June 2020, South Africa as the Chairperson of the AU has convened three Extra-Ordinary Summits on the GERD. The Heads of State and Government of the AU Bureau have the meetings to encourage Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to pursue a peaceful resolution of the GERD matter in an amicable manner and towards a win-win outcome.


Amilcar Cabral stated: the biggest struggle is against our own weaknesses. In Africa, our biggest weakness is being a proponents of conflict; both interstate and intrastate conflict. We must therefore continue to examine the role that African states can play to negate from this trajectory; and the contribution (positive) which non-state actors could make.


I wish to conclude by stating that objectively Nationalism has vanquished Internationalism and unilateralism has overwhelmed multilateralism. The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however is for us to change it. It is important that working together with South African non-state actors, such as the academia, we recalibrate of foreign policy strategies and re-mould its execution.


Nelson Mandela said and I quote that ‘to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.’




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