SAnews.gov.za (Tshwane)

6 March 2014

Africa: We Must Make Africa a Better Place, Pres Zuma Tells Ambassadors

South Africa will continue to lend a hand to African institutions to ensure that the dream of a better Africa is realised, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

Speaking after receiving letters of credence from ambassadors and high commissioners designate at the Sefako M Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria, President Zuma said South Africa would continue to forge bilateral relations with their countries and others to ensure that Africa becomes a developed continent.

This, he said, would advance the African agenda of peace and political stability.

The President said this after welcoming ambassadors and high commissioners from Sudan, Palestine, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Ethiopia, Thailand, Oman, Pakistan, Haiti and Lesotho to South Africa.

Ambassadors and high commissioners designate presented their letters of credentials to the President before he addressed them on Thursday morning.

President Zuma said after South Africa's May 7 elections, government had plans to participate in all relevant institutions to make Africa a better place to live in.

"In the next five years, we will continue to promote the quest for African solutions for African problems.

"We will continue to strengthen African Union institutions so that the AU can better serve the interests of Africa's people and to promote democracy and good governance.

"We will contribute to the African agenda for industrialisation and regional integration for sustainable and inclusive development," he said.

He also said South Africa will continue to cooperate with African countries to explore economic opportunities, and added that 40 SA companies are currently investors in the continent - up from 10 in 1994.

"We are committed to multilateral relations and cooperation, from matters related to world security to issues of climate change and solidarity with progressive movements and countries.

"We will continue to promote the reform of the UN Security Council so that it becomes more accountable, democratic and representative...

"We will continue to advocate for the reform of other global governance institutions, such as the financial institutions such as the financial institutions so that their decisions promote equity and fairness.

"There is a lot that we will be working on with our respective countries to take forward these and many other international cooperation objectives," he said.

After welcoming his guests, President Zuma said while the ambassadors and high commissioners should enjoy Pretoria - the "Jacaranda city" - and also explore the beautiful country, they should take note that South Africa was now a better place to live in after 20 years of democracy.

He said millions of South Africans who were previously oppressed by the apartheid regime now enjoyed the benefits of decent housing, electricity and water, among other social security services.

He said that on the international front, South Africa has, over the past 20 years, advanced the African agenda while contributing to South-South cooperation.

These include SA's involvement in the implementation of the Nepad (New Partnership for Africa's Development) and the African Peer Review Mechanism, and the building of a security architecture that can respond rapidly to a crisis.

"Beyond the elections, work must continue to strengthen bilateral relations with your respective countries and governments.

"We will be continuing with the good work we have done on international relations since the dawn of freedom," President Zuma said.

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