Infrastructure first - AU chair

2012-07-29 21:39

Pretoria - A lack of infrastructure development is the biggest challenge facing the African continent, newly elected African Union (AU) commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in Pretoria on Sunday.

Addressing a gathering of representatives of the Progessive Women's Movement of South Africa, Dlamini-Zuma said the African Union's vision of more integration could only be reached if infrastructure on the continent was drastically improved.

"How do we connect ourselves?," she asked, pointing out that transport and communication links gravitated outwards from the continent.

She said there could be no integration, as envisaged by the AU, unless there was proper infrastructure linking the African countries.

Dlamini-Zuma also said she thought integration would be further helped by the Pan African Parliament (PAP) becoming a legislative body which would "harmonise legislation" across the continent.

But integration could not be successfully achieved if peace was not achieved on the continent.

"How do you build a railway in the middle of a war [zone]?"

She said that while the continent had many challenges it also had many opportunities of which it needed to take advantage.

She said the continent had enormous agricultural potential, energy potential and human resource potential.

"The challenge, is how to use them for the benefit of Africa."

Speaking about her appointment, she said: "When I go there, I will be working as a servant of Africa and not South Africa."

She said the direction that the AU took would need to be determined with the involvement of its citizens and not its governments alone.

"If it's left to government, its not going to go anywhere fast."


  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-07-29 22:06

    NSS. Some AU members have had their independence for 40 years and today have less infrastructure. Sill can't build a road, bridge, railway, have traffic control let alone plumbing, water-purification or electricity. As we are experiencing, African countries now have to pay 2012 --> prices for work that should have been done 10 - 40 years ago. So again, the people will continue to suffer. Either way they will pay, but you politricksters never do. You cannot plan or implement a single plan. You're all excellent marketers, academics and theoreticians but there's a paucity of people who can actually DO something tangible, meaningful and - above all- enduring.

  • rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-07-29 23:12

    It would be interesting to investigate and quantify the state of infrastructure, country by country, over the past 50 years. I sense that a big part of the problem is the apparent African aversion to investing time and resources on maintaining existing infrastructure. My theory is that maintenance attracts lower financial and publicity benefits to governments and individuals, so they prefer to build and abandon and then later build new again.

      danny.mozzy.sugarlump.pinkie - 2012-07-30 09:04

      THe sad part is they DO NOT BUILD. They may under dures repair when an event like the soccer world cup come to town but otherthan that they do not build. Not 1 dam, powerstation, has been built since the free election in SA 18 years ago. We already needed them in the early 90's and yet not a thing has occured, so AFrica will will eventually self implode. Sad for all her people and then the 1st worlds will come back and plunder again to the detriment of Africa and her people again

  • rontheogre - 2012-07-29 23:17

    Her very last words as per the report, "If it's left to government, its not going to go anywhere fast." Now only does she dare speak these words aloud, now that she will work for the AU and not the SA government. The rest of the report is also pertinent to SA in particular, as we cannot go forward without infrastructure. It was also welcome to note that her speech was positively angled, and not rife with how colonialism and racism prevented Africa from getting off its collective a$$ and doing it for ourselves.

  • tommo.too - 2012-07-29 23:43

    Bring in the Chinese. They'll get it sorted no time. And they only use Chinese workers to do the job.

  • charlesmakgale.radingoane - 2012-07-30 02:30

    if African leaders can stop enriching themselves and focus on builting africa then they will achieve their goals.

  • Chumscrubber1 - 2012-07-30 07:14

    This is the thing. The African people as such are not lazy and incapable. Most of the actual physical effort of creating all African infrastructure is done by black African people. The problem is the lack of leadership. It seems unless anybody besides a black African person supervise's the project, nothing is achieved. Its not as if there are'nt black engineers etc etc, so the brain power is there. Everything seems to revolve around leadership, I don't know how, but somehow Africa always seems to end up putting the wrong people at the helm. It seems the self serving opportunists are the one's who dominate everything, this is why Africa seems to be a stagnant continent always relying on outside help to achieve anything constructive.

      rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-07-30 12:28

      Chum: I think it has to do with collectivist mentality. No accountability and leadership actitions only by group consent. I don't see how that can work, except for generating lots of dicsussion documents.

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