East London - The people of Africa must reject any idea from outside the continent which would lead to regime change in an African state, President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.
“Through the AU (African Union), the peoples of Africa must reject any idea from outside the continent which seeks to foster an agenda of regime change,” Zuma said at the University of Fort Hare's East London campus.
In a speech prepared for delivery at the university's Organisation of African Unity (OAU) 50th anniversary lecture, the president said the replacement of democratically elected governments on the continent must be rejected.
“We must do everything we can to prevent Africa from being cheaply auctioned as a result of the ineptitude and lack of united action and resolve on the part of some of its leaders in safeguarding its vital territorial and sovereign interests,” Zuma said.
The mandate of the OAU had been to deliver African unity, freedom, independence, economic emancipation and development.
The achievement of these objectives still continued today under the banner of the AU.
The AU replaced the OAU on July 9, 2002. The OAU was founded on May 25, 1963.
Zuma said Africa was no longer a place devoid of hope as was believed in the past, with it now being one of the world's prime regions of economic growth.
“Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. It is no longer characterised as hopeless, but rather as a continent of hope and opportunity,” he said.
The economic emancipation of the continent, as envisaged by the OAU and AU, could be best attained through economic integration.
This would enable Africa to grow its markets, allow for more diversification, and encourage the optimisation of resources.
Integration would help lower transport costs, and ensure people, goods and services were able to move effectively and efficiently across the continent.
For integration to be achieved, providing the needed infrastructure was key.
“Roads, bridges, rail lines, pipelines, power plants, ICT connectivity, cables, ports, and water-ways are the underpinning arteries of growth,” Zuma said.
Africa’s people, including those who lived outside its borders, also had to recognise that they needed to contribute to its development.
“Beyond this, Africa cannot develop if the continent is not peaceful, and there cannot be peace without development as the two are indivisibly intertwined,” Zuma said.
“The peace and security efforts that the African Union is championing in the continent are important and should be supported by every member state.”
Zuma said Africans should continue to think globally, beyond the confines of the continent.
“We want to be part of the UN Security Council. We want to see an urgent transformation of global economic institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,” he said.