Southern African News Features                                           SANF 09 No 28, October 2009
Africa, South America determined to boost cooperation

Africa and South America have made a commitment to strengthen South-South cooperation in various areas of the economy to promote development in the two regions.

Leaders from both continents made the pledge at the second Africa South America (ASA) Summit held in Venezuela in late September.

ASA said it is pleasing to note that a lot of work is being done to consolidate the process of cooperation and strategic partnership agreed in 2006.

At the inaugural ASA Summit in Abuja, Nigeria in 2006 the leaders adopted a number of resolutions that call for wider cooperation in sectors such as energy, infrastructure, health, and information technology.

Some of the approved plans include the establishment of a joint Energy Commission whose task will be to coordinate developments in the industry as well as the setting up of an African-South American Bank to finance development in respective continents.

To ensure the projects and programmes are implemented on time, ASA leaders reinforced the follow-up committee, which is responsible for proposing new initiatives and undertaking actions on previously approved plans.

The reinforcements will allow various working groups to meet at least once a year to encourage full implementation of programmes while Ministers of Foreign Affairs will meet next year on a similar task.

The Summit urged the African Union (AU) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), important pillars of cooperation between the two regions, to continue working closely to monitor progress and exchange experiences.

The Summit also called for a number of reforms that include the United Nations (UN) Security Council to ensure it represents the interest of all.

The leaders said there should be fair trade, adding that developed countries must fulfil their funding commitments undertaken at the High-Level Conference on World Food Security held last year

"We reject the distorting policies adopted by developed countries, due to the negative impact they have on agricultural production and investment in developing countries and on the exercise of the right to food," ASA leaders said in the Nueva Esparta Declaration.

With regard to infrastructure, the Summit made a commitment to identifying joint initiatives on the basis of the needs of each continent for funding and developing projects.

In energy development the two regions agreed to promote the uptake of clean, renewable and alternative energy sources, with a view to extending their sustainable diffusion and utilization, as well as achieving maximum efficiency in their usage, in accordance with the relevant economic, social and environmental aspects, thus contributing to the economic and social transformation of the countries of Africa and South America.

The Summit pledged to support the candidacy of Brazil to host the 2014 Soccer World Cup as well as provide all the necessary support to ensure the success of the Africa Cup of Nations, to be held in Angola in January-February next year and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Under science, information, communication and technology, the two regions said they will jointly embark on initiatives to promote the smooth transfer of information between both continents.

ASA will also ensure that "our history and current reality is known, as well as our cultural diversity and common issues and problems, through the exchange of radio and television broadcast contents, which enable the initiation of cooperation in the areas of communication and information, and contribute to progressively establishing bi-regional television and radio stations."

Libya will host the next summit in 2010. ASA meetings rotate between the two continents and are held every two years.

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