FORMER PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA, MR THABO MBEKI, ANALYZES PRESENT & FUTURE OF AFRICA

 

Yesterday afternoon, at midday in Madrid, the ex-president of South Africa, his Excellency Mr. Thabo Mbeki; the Ambassador of South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Lulama Smuts Ngonyama, and the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Mr. José María Viñals, participated in a round table dealing with the question “Where next for Africa?” The event was organized by Lupicinio International Law Firm and the Honorary Consulate of Zimbabwe, with collaboration from the Hispano-South African Chamber of Commerce, and involved discussions about the future of the African content from both a social and political perspective.

Mr. Thabo Mbeki’s speech was characterized by its frankness and honesty when addressing the controversial topics that have affected South Africa. Whilst discussing the political history of the country, he dealt with issues of past corruption. He described that period of South Africa’s history and the state corruption that it entailed as a form of “States’ capture”, in which powerful and wealthy families dictated policy which, in a lawful state should be decided on a democratic basis. This situation led to a reaction from the people of South Africa and a progressive movement towards rule of law, which is now diffusing further across the continent. The desire for regional African integration are behind negotiations for a free trade zone which will include a commitment to the rule of law. This zone would encourage employment in African countries as well as social and economic development. Mr. Mbeki indicated that sustainable globalization is the overarching objective of these negotiations, aiming to increase the scale of economic activity in African states.

Mr. Ngonyama praised the organization of events in which synergies and opportunities could be explored, and where the sharing of interests and concerns constantly generates interaction and dynamism. He emphasized the important contribution of the Hispano-South African Association for Business and Culture, under the charge of Mr. André van Der Mescht, thanking it for its programmes and encouraging those present to participate with the Association.

Lupicinio Rodríguez, founding partner of the firm emphasized the need to encourage sustainable globalization. He highlighted the work done by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation to promote education as a driver of change, stating that the Foundation has been “a catalyst for the African Renaissance”.

Mr. Viñals, in his capacity as Honorary Consul of the Republic of Zimbabwe, underlined that the development of South Africa and Zimbabwe will inevitably strengthen the region, not only from an economic and social perspective, but also in light of the common battle against what Mr. Mbeki has termed “global apartheid”. Like Mr. Rodríguez, he emphasized the great work of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation which, focusing as it does on improving the economic participation of the African youth, aims to trigger an African Renaissance. The Thabo Mbeki Foundation has already had great success and its holistic approach to the continent displays the unity and togetherness that will surely be necessary to encourage development in the region.

The round table was attended by thirty people, with great interest shown from various sectors. In particular, there were representatives from various important businesses in the infrastructure and commodity sectors.

 

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