Alert on risks associated with global changes
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