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RAWLINGS: World Has Opportunity To Exercise Moral Mandate
 
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31-Oct-2011  
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Rawlings addresses China-Africa Think Tank Forum
 
 
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Ghana’s Former President, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings says the world has a grand opportunity with certain world leaders in place, to exercise her moral mandate provided corrupters and warmongers can contained.

In an address delivered at the first meeting of the China-Africa Think Tank Forums in Hangzhou, China, President Rawlings said the world previously missed an opportunity because of "the historical misalignment" of the presidency of Carter and Gorbachev.

He said the political intrigues of international diplomacy mean China has to compete with major international interests on the African continent and counselled China to thread carefully in order to win the trust of a continent that hasfallen victim to sweet promises of developmental cooperation in the past.

President Rawlings praised China for its contribution towards the peace and humanitarian processes in Somalia and urged China to “maintain a strong position on Africa at the United Nations Security Council, lobby its members to confront African peace initiatives in a non-confrontational manner and seek economic support to stem the tide of under-development that ignites many of the conflicts on the continent.”

The China-Africa Think Tanks Forum is a platform for exchange and dialogue between Chinese and African think tanks so that such bodies can play a more active role in promoting Sino-African relations.

Below is the full text of President Rawlings’ address.


ADDRESS BY H.E. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS, FORMER PRESIDENT OF GHANA AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE FIRST MEETING OF THE CHINA-AFRICA THINK TANKS FORUM – HANGZHOU, OCTOBER 27, 2011
 





Rawlings interacts with an African delegate at China-Africa Think Tank Forum
Ambassador Liu Guijin, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on African Affairs, Vice-Minister Zhai Jun, Deputy Governor of Zhejiang Province, GongZheng, President Wu Fengmin of the Zhejiang Normal University, Excellences,Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen:

Thank you for offering me the opportunity to also address the opening ceremony of the maiden China-Africa Think Tanks Forum here in the beautiful city of Hangzhou.

It is heartwarming to see China take its increasingly diverse relationship with Africa very serious. This conference is aimed at creating a platform for exchange and dialogue between China and Africa, and the array of experts and representatives from the various regions and organizations of Africa here, is a strong indication of the huge capacities that would be built from the Forum.

Ladies and gentlemen, my ten-minute contribution will focus on Africa’s security and Sino-African cooperation in the field of peace and security, even though I am equally pleased that this conference will also discuss finance and investment environment as well as “People-to-People and cultural exchanges.

Africa has some major issues in the area of peace and security and as I told students of the Zheijiang Normal University a few days ago, a significant chunk of these security problems, is directly created by the effects of neocolonialism.

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been widely stated that the best mode of seeking peace and security especially with the Sino-Africa situation is by supporting ourcontinent economically. That is why it is significant to note that between 1998 and 2008 China’s trade value with Africa grew from $6 billion to $107 billion[1]. Sound economic growth is a panacea to conflict. I will thus encourage China to explore and define increasing developmental partnership with Africa on a mutually beneficial basis.

The political intrigues of international diplomacy mean China has to compete with major international interests on the African continent and this is one areathat I counsel that China threads carefully in order to win the trust of a continent that has fallen victim to sweet promises of developmental cooperation in the past.

Africa is saddled with some complex conflicts, many of which are seen as created by the intransigence of our indigenous people even though at a second glance one can recognize the long arms of international interest groups.

Under-development means we have little capacity to confront the economic and sometimes military might of these interests groups. The competing interests of these groups mean some of our conflicts have lasted for long periods.

China has shown considerable goodwill as far as seeking a more conciliatory resolution of conflicts on the continent is concerned and must be complimented on its stance at the UN Security Council on many tough decisions taken on Africa.

China had previously supported Africa’s quest to have permanent representation on the Security Council and in places such as Somalia, China has called on United Nations member states to support the peace process in Somalia while impressing upon Somali stakeholders to promote the peace process by showing commitment to the Kampala accord and recently agreed transitional road map that promises to see an end to the political transition in Somalia. China also called on theUnited Nations to assist in terms of better equipping the African Union Mission in Somalia.

Ladies and gentlemen, the search for peace in Somalia is a tough task that calls for the assistance of the entire international community. A recent famine in the Horn of Africa has seen an outpouring of support from the rest of the world. China earlier this month donated $16 million dollars towards relief aid to Somalia.

Earlier this year also, China donated $4 million dollars towards equipment and materials for the AMISOM. I urge the Chinese government to explore ways of offering much support and thank the government for having a naval presence in the Gulf of Aden, where piracy has become a scourge to sea transport.

I would also urge China to maintain a strong position on Africa at the United Nations Security Council, lobby its members to confront African peace initiatives in a non-confrontational manner and seek economic support to stem the tide of under-development that ignites many of the conflicts on the continent.

China also has to support the development of political systems that reflect the socio-cultural backgrounds of individual countries on the continent.

The lack of peace and security on the African continent has cost the continent and in the 15-year period between 1990 and 2005 Africa lost $300 billion through conflict[2]. The figures must have doubled by now.

Sino-Africa relations as far as peace and security is concerned will continue to grow if China continues to show increasing commitment and respect for the sovereignty of individual African states.

While Africa recognizes China as a partner for the medium and long term, we pray that China will also endeavor to embark on investments that directly benefit thecontinent and not end up repatriating all profits when there are opportunities for more investment that will be mutually beneficial.

China's highly skilled manpower, patience and discipline has finally paid off. China is today an impressive world leader and is seeking ways to bring along other members of the developing community through meetings of this nature. If thefree market economy is here to stay, then lets practice it without violence. BUT CAN WE?

The amazing success of China and survival of Cuba is a vindication of the strong and non-destructive pluralistic voices within the dynamics of their democracy. These democratic expressions are an integral part of our own traditional ways that is being denied expression in a bipolar and a unipolar led world

The world missed an opportunity in my opinion, because of "the historical misalignment" of the presidency of Carter and Gorbachev. China however, thankfully survived the attempt to cause her disintegration though this brought about some necessary reforms.

I believe the world today has another fine opportunity with certain world leaders in place provided corruptors and warmongers can be contained. Humanity is seeking and deserves the right to exercise her moral mandate.

Finally to the citizenry of China I can only caution against the intoxicating effects of wealth and power. You have come a long way, the hard way. Let us not lose the values that have brought this success.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I applaud Zhejiang Normal University, the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the People’s Government of the Zhejiang Province, China Development Bank and the ChinesePeople’s Institute of Foreign Affairs for collaborating to establish this Think Tank Forum. I wish you fruitful deliberations in the interest of excellent Sino-Africa relations.

Thank you.
 
 
Source: http://jjrawlings.wordpress.com
 
 

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