By Cecilia Ologunagba
New York, Sept. 19, 2023
South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa has called for diplomacy to address military takeovers on the continent of Africa.
Ramaphosa made the call in his statement to the General Debate of the 78th Session of the General Assembly at the UN headquarters on Tuesday in New York.
Ramaphosa, who was the first African leader to address the gathering, drew the attention of the global community to the recent military takeovers in some African countries.
“As the global community, we must ensure the essential qualities that define our humanity are evident in the institutions that manage the conduct of international relations.
“We require institutions that are inclusive, representative, democratic and advance the interests of all nations.
“We require a renewed commitment to multilateralism, based on clear rules and supported by effective institutions.
“This is the moment to proceed with the reform of the UN Security Council, to give meaning to the principle of the sovereign equality of nations and to enable the Council to respond more effectively to current geopolitical realities,’’ he said.
He said that his country was pleased that the Common African Position on the reform of the Security Council was increasingly enjoying wide support.
He said this process should move to text-based negotiations, creating an opportunity for convergence between Member States.
“We must ensure that the voice of the African continent and the global South is strengthened in the United Nations and broader multilateral system.
“All the peoples represented here in this United Nations had their origins in Africa.
“In Africa, they developed the tools and capabilities to spread across the world and achieve remarkable feats of development and progress.
“In spite of its history, in spite of the legacy of exploitation and subjugation, in spite of the ongoing challenge of conflict and instability, Africa is determined to regain its position as a site of human progress,” Ramaphosa said.
The South African President said that the African Continental Free Trade Area was creating a wider seamless trading area of low tariffs and accelerated interconnectivity.
Through it, he said, African countries were mobilising their collective means and resources to achieve shared prosperity.
“Through the African Continental Free Trade Area, African countries are establishing the foundation for a massive increase in trade, accelerated infrastructure development, regional integration and sustainable industrialisation.
“As the global community, we have the means and we have the desire to confront and overcome the enormous challenges that face humanity today.
“As the nations gathered here in this General Assembly, let us demonstrate that we have both the will and the resolve to secure a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future for our world and for the generations that will follow,’’ he said.
Ramaphosa further said Africa was warming faster than the rest of the world, noting that of the 20 climate hotspots in the world, 17 were in Africa.
“Centuries after the end of the slave trade, decades after the end of the colonial exploitation of Africa’s resources, the people of our continent are once again bearing the cost of the industrialisation and development of the wealthy nations of the world.
“This is a price that the people of Africa are no longer prepared to pay. We urge global leaders to accelerate global decarbonisation, while pursuing equality and shared prosperity.
“We need to advance all three pillars of the Paris Agreement – mitigation, adaptation and support – with equal ambition and urgency.
“African countries, alongside other developing economy countries, need increased financial support to both implement the 2030 Agenda and achieve their climate change goals in a comprehensive and integrated manner,’’ he said.
The South African President said that they needed to operationalise the Loss and Damage Fund for vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters, as agreed at COP27.
“Africa has embraced this challenge. Africa is determined to deploy smart, digital and efficient green technologies to expand industrial production, boost agricultural yields, drive growth and create sustained employment for Africa’s people,” he stressed.