Alert on risks as­so­ci­ated with global changes

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS -

AD­DIS ABABA: The out­go­ing chair­per­son of the AU Com­mis­sion, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said African lead­ers needed to do more to counter the neg­a­tive ef­fects of glob­al­i­sa­tion.

Open­ing the 30th Or­di­nary Coun­cil of the AU yes­ter­day, Dlamini Zuma said the neg­a­tive ef­fects of glob­al­i­sa­tion were be­com­ing more ev­i­dent, and African lead­ers needed to counter them through pur­su­ing the AU’s 2063 vi­sion, which seeks to cre­ate the “Africa we want”.

Agenda 2063 is the AU vi­sion of an in­te­grated, pros­per­ous and peace­ful Africa.

“Glob­ally, coun­tries are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing tu­mul­tuous po­lit­i­cal changes and in­sta­bil­ity. Cit­i­zens’ con­fi­dence in po­lit­i­cal sys­tems is at an all-time low.

“So­cial me­dia re­in­forces this trend, where users trust what they hear from other or­di­nary cit­i­zens more than from the me­dia or other of­fi­cial sources,” said Dlamini Zuma.

“It in­cludes the chal­lenges to the unity of the EU, with Brexit, the mo­bil­i­sa­tion and ad­vances of their ul­tra-right, buoyed by the elec­tions in the US, and as Europe ap­proaches a num­ber of crit­i­cal elec­tions this year.

“It man­i­fests it­self in global progress on gen­der is­sues on the one hand, but on the other hand, a neo-con­ser­va­tive push­back against women’s rights and lead­er­ship.”

The slump in many world economies had re­sulted in gov­ern­ments im­ple­ment­ing aus­ter­ity mea­sures that had re­duced the priv­i­leges of the mid­dle class and so­cial ser­vices, she added.

“The world feels more in­se­cure as vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism of all kinds, acts of ter­ror­ism and in­ter­na­tional crime im­pact on all our se­cu­rity, with no coun­try that is ex­empt. This is cou­pled with large move­ments of peo­ple across the world as con­flicts, eco­nomic in­se­cu­rity and cli­mate change take their toll.”

Dlamini Zuma said ex­pen­di­ture on ar­ma­ments was rock­et­ing, with a pro­lif­er­a­tion of arms in the hands of states and in­di­vid­u­als.

“This poses threats to global, na­tional and re­gional sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity alike, in ad­di­tion to si­phon­ing off money that should be used for de­vel­op­ment and peace.”

She said the agenda of re­ac­tion in the world was not with­out chal­lenge. The re­sponses in­cluded protests by youth, stu­dents, trade unions and other groups against the ex­cesses of glob­al­i­sa­tion.

“On the con­ti­nent, too, we see a grow­ing num­ber of protests around wages, costs of ed­u­ca­tion and ac­cess to re­sources,” said Dlamini Zuma, adding that gen­der equal­ity, sup­port for ed­u­ca­tion and the use of tech­nol­ogy could help to counter the ills of glob­al­i­sa­tion.

Global youth un­em­ploy­ment, which has been con­sis­tently at two to three times that of adult un­em­ploy­ment, con­tin­ued un­abated.

“We need to un­lock the po­ten­tial of cre­ativ­ity of young peo­ple.”

How­ever, she noted that the youth of to­day were bet­ter ed­u­cated than any other gen­er­a­tion be­fore them, but op­por­tu­ni­ties for them re­mained lim­ited.

“We are thus mak­ing progress, but there are still many chal­lenges,” said DlaminiZuma, who was ex­pected to re­lin­quish her po­si­tion as AU com­mis­sion chair­per­son dur­ing the sum­mit.

She also said re­viv­ing the African Peer Re­view mech­a­nism would also help in op­pos­ing the ills of glob­al­i­sa­tion.

Dlamini Zuma – who has been en­dorsed by the ANC Women’s League to stand for pres­i­dent of the ANC, which would also see her as pres­i­dent of the coun­try should she win – said African lead­ers needed to guard against di­vi­sive­ness, which could di­vert them from their agenda.

She said the con­ti­nent’s lead­ers “must do what needs to be done on the free move­ment of per­sons so that we un­lock op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­tra-Africa trade, stud­ies, busi­ness and tourism”.

Dlamini Zuma also urged them to “con­tinue on the path of gen­der equal­ity, us­ing all of Africa’s tal­ents by em­pow­er­ing women and girls”.

The 28th AU sum­mit be­gan on Mon­day and ends on Tues­day. – ANA

Cit­i­zens’ con­fi­dence in po­lit­i­cal sys­tems is at an all-time low

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