Daily Archives: April 25, 2017

Deputy Minister Buti Manamela: Africa – China Youth Festival welcome dinner

Address by the Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Mr Buti Manamela at the welcome dinner of the Africa � China Youth Festival Emperor’s Palace, Gauteng

Programme Directors

Vice President of the Chinese Peoples Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries � Madam Lin Yi

Dean of the African Diplomatic Corp in South Africa and the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa � Mr Bene M’Poko

Chairperson of the NYDA Transitional Accounting Authority � Dr Ntsiki Tshayingca-Mashiya

Respective artists from China and South Africa

Distinguished guests

I am pleased to welcome you to the first Africa-China Youth Festival held on South African soil. As a country, and indeed as the youth of South Africa, we are delighted to welcome and engage with our brothers and sisters representing various African countries represented here today.

We are also elated that we can engage and dialogue with our Chinese brothers and sisters through this Festival.

South Africa has a special relationship with the People’s Republic of China. This special relationship is anchored through the historical relations between our two countries.

The relationship is further affixed by the Five to Ten Year Strategic Programme for Cooperation between the Republic of South Africa and the People’s Republic of China 2015-2024 as adopted by President Jacob Zuma and President Xi Jinping on the occasion of the state visit paid by President Zuma to China in December 2014.

The two Presidents held bilateral talks and reiterated that the two countries would continue to regard bilateral relations as a strategic focus and priority in their respective foreign policies.

The cooperation agreement implores the guidelines of equality and mutual trust, comprehensive cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win results and common development.

Under this strategic programme, both countries have agreed to encourage exchange of trade missions, participation in trade fairs hosted by the other side and promotion of competitive products to each other in order to expand trade volume, improve trade structure, promote balanced and sustainable development of the bilateral trade and strive to double the bilateral trade volume.

China has agreed to give favourable consideration to expanding its import of value-added products.

Whilst trade opens up engagement between countries and its citizens, other mechanisms are needed to promote intercultural understanding and engagement, friendship and cooperation and peace and stability.

This morning, the Republic of South Africa and the People’s Republic of China launched the High Level People to People Exchange Mechanism commonly known as the PPEM. The PPEM is a mechanism to enhance further cooperation between the people of South Africa and China.

The PPEM will build on the strong historic ties between South Africa and China. It will create opportunities for non-government entities across academia, business and civil society to interact more frequently through organised structures.

It will allow for enhanced cooperation in areas such as culture; education; communications; health; science and technology; sports; tourism; women affairs and youth. It will allow both nations to benefit through the sharing of social, cultural and economic capital.

South Africa and China also share a common developmental agenda. Both nations have advocated for reform of the United Nations to better reflect the realities of the world. Both nations agree that developing countries must enjoy a greater share of voice and influence in institutions of global governance.

As part of BRICS, South Africa and China are committed to deepening cooperation, strengthening global governance, carrying out people-to-people exchanges, making institutional improvements and building broader partnerships.

The future of the People to People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM) lies in the hands of our young people. They will be responsible for driving the breadth and depth of people to people cooperation. Therefore, the dialogues that took place today are very important.

Both China and the African continent have burgeoning youth populations. Youth development is therefore a priority not only for South Africa and the African continent but for China as well.

We must explore how we can learn from each other in this respect. How do we create opportunities that benefit large numbers of youth in the shortest possible time? What investments do we make for youth development to succeed? What policy instruments do we develop and apply to tackle the challenges that our youth face in this 21st century ever evolving world.

South Africa has recognised the possibilities that entrepreneurship offers for youth economic engagement, lifting people out of poverty and fostering economic growth. There is much that we can learn from China in terms of boosting our manufacturing capacity.

What are the investments and the policy instruments that our Chinese counterparts have made to boost large numbers of youth into manufacturing and entrepreneurship? Are there relevant lessons to be learnt for South Africa and the African continent?

We recognise that China stands out amongst emerging economies as a most significant and successful example where strategic investments in R&D have transformed the country from a low-cost, labour intensive manufacturer to an economy driven by an indigenous, self-sustaining process of technological change.

Today China is a key global player in R&D both in terms of absolute size as well as growth rates, with its Gross Expenditure in R&D reaching levels comparable to that of the United States and Japan.

The changes that have accompanied this quantum leap included the creation of a sophisticated R&D ecosystem coupled with long-term planning instruments and a highly educated workforce.

The South Africa � China educational cooperation must benefit from the R&D ecosystem that China has developed. In South Africa there is renewed impetus for increased investments in R&D with Government recognising that high-technology R&D-based innovation is crucial both as a factor of competitiveness and for technological advancement.

At the same time Government recognises that as a middle-income country, South Africa needs to use R&D not only to address the challenges in areas such as energy security, food security and industrial development but also to resolve the national challenges of health and education and the legacies of poverty and unemployment.

The South Africa � China higher education cooperation must advance both our educational offerings. The envisaged exchanges between students, researchers and university teaching faculty will advance this cooperation for mutual benefit.

As I mentioned earlier in my address, South Africa and China share a common developmental agenda. The fight for developing countries to have an equal stake at the table and to have a stronger voice and influence in institutions of global governance, is indeed a long fight.

The BRICS nations working together with other developing countries need common allies in this fight.

Through the exchange mechanism, our young diplomats need to engage each other to develop common perspectives, positions and strategies that will take the fight into the next decades. As you engage with each other, you must also recognise that you carry the hopes and aspirations of millions of youth from your countries and the developing world.

These youths may not have access to the international fora and platforms that you have. But they rely on you to be their voice for a better and just world.

Don’t let them down.

Let me conclude by reminding you of your responsibility to ensure that the PPEM succeeds. Our governments have signed the necessary agreements and indeed more will be signed in the near future. It is the ordinary South African and Chinese citizens that will be the greatest beneficiary of the PPEM.

Through this Africa-China Youth Festival, we want to see a deeper cooperation between China and the countries on the African continent.

We want to see stronger strong bonds of friendship between our people, an enlightened understanding of our cultures, and a commitment to work towards a more just and peaceful world.

I thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa

UN: Aid Funds to Stop Famine in Nigeria’s Northeast may Dry up by June

OSLO � Aid organizations working to stop the famine in Nigeria will run out of money by June if donors do not give the cash they pledged at a conference in February, worsening an already difficult situation, a U.N. official said on Monday.

The famine in the northeast of the West African country is one of four hot spots, together with South Sudan, Yemen and Somalia, that constitute the worst humanitarian crisis the world has faced since 1945, the U.N. said in March.

In Nigeria, 4.7 million people, many of them displaced by the conflict with Islamist insurgency Boko Haram, need rations to survive. Of these, an estimated 43,800 people already experience famine, the U.N. said.

Two months ago international donors pledged $457 million at a conference in Oslo to address the needs of Africa’s Lake Chad region � Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad � to go towards the $1.5 billion the U.N. says it needs this year.

For Nigeria, aid agencies working on the crisis have so far received only 19 percent of the money appealed for, according to Peter Lundberg, the U.N.’s deputy humanitarian coordinator for the country.

By comparison, aid agencies working on the crisis in Cameroon have received 23 percent of the money appealed for; those in Chad 4 percent and Niger 47 percent.

“At it stands right now we believe we are running out of money by June-July,” Lundberg said in an interview, adding that donors he had talked so far had cited bureaucratic reasons for the delay.

Lundberg was in Oslo as part of a tour of Nordic countries to encourage donors to make good on their commitments and will travel to the U.N. in New York later Monday to discuss the issue with other U.N. member-states.

Without funding now, he said, aid agencies cannot feed enough people, provide the seeds and tools local farmers need to plant crops, or prepare for the rainy season that starts in May, when deteriorating road conditions mean people will be harder to reach.

The most critical needs for funding are for the World Food Program, which provides rations to 1.3 million people a month, said Lundberg.

“They may have to cut rations instead of scaling up as they should ahead of the rainy season,” he said. And the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Agency, which helps farmers plant crops, has received only $12 million of the $60 million it needs, he added.

Earlier this month Reuters reported that WFP’s funds could run dry within weeks.

The U.N. is unable to reach an estimated 700,000 people, mostly in the remote parts of Nigeria’s Borno state, due to the presence of Boko Haram, roadside bombs and near-daily suicide bombings attempts in camps where displaced people live.

Source: Voice of America

Premier Supra Mahumapelo appoints team to focus on Ditsobotla protests

Premier Supra Mahumapelo has appointed a team comprising five MECs and two Mayors to investigate and unravel service delivery challenges which prompted this week’s public violent protests at Lichtenburg town and Blydeville township in Ditsobotla Local …

Race Against Time To Save Millions Of Lives In Yemen

AMMAN/SANA’A – The continuing violence in Yemen is fuelling one of the worst hunger crises in the world, with nearly 7 million people not knowing where their next meal will come from and in desperate need of food assistance. Nearly 2.2 million children are malnourished, including half a million who are severely malnourished and at imminent risk of death if they do not receive urgent care and specialized treatment.

Millions of children in Yemen are acutely malnourished and many are dying from diseases that are entirely preventable, said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. Without further action from parties to the conflict and the international community, Yemen is at a serious risk of plunging into famine � with even more children’s lives hanging in the balance. We are in a race against time.

When a country reaches a stage of famine, it means many lives have already been lost. We should never reach a point where we see children dying of starvation and bereaved mothers mourning their loss on television screens, said Muhannad Hadi, WFP Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and East Europe. If we act now, many lives could be saved in Yemen. We call on the international community to urgently provide us with sufficient funding and to help us avert famine across Yemen.

Violence and food insecurity are having a devastating toll on families’ incomes forcing them and their children to take extreme measures just to survive, including early marriage and joining the fighting. In the first three months of 2017, three times as many children were recruited and used by parties to the conflict compared with the last three months of 2016.

Violence has made large parts of the country inaccessible to humanitarian workers, cutting off vulnerable children and families from urgently needed aid. Despite these and other challenges, in February:

– UNICEF supported malnutrition screening for 132,000 children and treatment for severe acute malnutrition for over 5,000 children under the age of five,

– Vitamin A supplementation was given to nearly 5 million children under five as part of a UNICEF-supported polio vaccination campaign,

– WFP provided food assistance to a record number of 5.3 million people in 17 governorates.

Earlier this month, WFP announced that it is scaling up its emergency food operations in Yemen to support up to 9 million people who urgently need food assistance. WFP also aims to expand its nutritional support to prevent or treat acute malnutrition for 2.9 million children under five, and pregnant and nursing mothers, including from those families that are already assisted with food or commodity vouchers.

The needs of people in Yemen have rapidly outpaced available resources. WFP urgently requires US$1.2 billion to meet the basic requirements of 9 million food insecure people in Yemen over the coming 12 months. UNICEF has appealed for US$236 million to provide life-saving assistance to children affected by the conflict in Yemen in 2017. The efforts of both agencies are less than 20 per cent funded.

On behalf of children and vulnerable families, UNICEF and WFP are calling for an immediate political solution to end the war in Yemen. This would provide safety for millions of desperate families in Yemen and allow for a massive scale-up of food assistance, nutrition support and other humanitarian aid. Until that happens and as the conflict intensifies, the two agencies appeal to all parties to the conflict and those who have influence on them to allow unhindered humanitarian access to people in need and refrain from any action that could prevent the delivery of lifesaving humanitarian supplies.

Source: World Food Programme