South African FM: Africa Deserves More Say in Economic Institutions | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 10.03.2009
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South African FM: Africa Deserves More Say in Economic Institutions

Germany and Africa see eye-to-eye on many issues, South Africa's Foreign Minister told Deutsche Welle. But she said the G20 needs to include African nations more in the debate on financial reforms.

Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma and Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Dlamini Zuma and Steinmeier discussed a wide range of issues in Berlin

Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma has been South Africa's Minister of Foreign Affairs since 1999. She met with her German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on Monday, March 9, as part of a four-nation European tour aimed at consolidating bilateral political, economic and trade relations between South Africa and European countries.

Deutsche Welle: What are the main common interests between Germany and South Africa?

Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma: We're here at the invitation of the Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to strengthen our bilateral relations, which are already good. But we want to be sure they remain so and grow: in economic cooperation, trade, science and technology and many other areas. We are very like-minded in many multi-lateral issues, so we share a lot of views in the UN and elsewhere.

Logo of the World Cup in South Africa

South Africa is hosting the World Cup in 2010

Of course, with Germany having hosted the FIFA World Cup, we're also making use of their experience for our own 2010 World Cup and Germany has been sharing its experiences with us.

Foreign Minister Steinmeier has started many initiatives concerning Africa, and there has really been an emphasis placed on African policy here in Germany. Have you noticed this?

Yes, we have noticed this growing interest and have been working very closely with Germany. In some instances, we work together in a third country in Africa to strengthen peace and in programs of reconstruction, like in southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. We are very happy that Germany is taking this particular interest because Africa does need this support and also Germany has been very supportive to the African Union itself.

The current economic crisis is challenging not only the African countries, but also the United States and European countries. What are you expecting the G20 to do?

I think the G20 should reflect on the fact that Africa will be very hard hit by this economic depression. As they look at packages to salvage their own economies, G20 countries must be thinking about the economies of developing countries, particularly in Africa. Also, regarding the Millennium Development Goals, which were already a big challenge, if Western countries do not continue giving development aid, those may be undermined and Africa may be left out in terms of reaching those goals.

A woman and a solar cooker in South Africa

Germany's development agency GTZ is supporting a solar cooker project in South Africa

We also think that this is an opportunity for the transformation and reform of the Bretton Woods institutions (eds. note: the Bretton Woods system established the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund). But we think that needs a broader discussion, not just within the G20.

We also think we need to look at opportunities that may arise from this depression. If we look at alternative sources of energy, this may be an area of growth that countries like Germany and others could invest in in developing countries. There may be opportunities that we should be able to jointly explore that come from this unfortunate economic depression.

You mention the reform of the Bretton Woods institutions. Do you think Africa should have more voice in those institutions?

Yes, I think so. I think that developing countries, particularly in Africa, should have a greater voice. I think there's a whole range of issues that would need to be looked at if we look at reforming the Bretton Woods institutions.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced a warrant of arrest against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir last week. South Africa and others in Africa said they regretted the court's decision because of the indictment's timing and because the warrant targets a sitting president. In what way is this ICC decision problematic to you?

If you look at Sudan, particularly Darfur, the African Union has been grappling with that situation to try and find a peaceful settlement of that conflict. Of course, the Sudanese government is crucial in the finding of that peaceful settlement. At this point in time, when we are busy with that, there's an indictment of a sitting president. It does create problems because it may undermine the peace efforts.

What are important for us are the millions of lives of those people in Darfur -- that they can get peace and begin rebuilding their lives. We thought that this was really the wrong time and we tried to say, let the court defer it, even for a year. It is provided for in the Rome Statutes (eds. note: the treaty that established the ICC). We thought if this was deferred for a year -- and to just give peace a chance -- that would have been better.

Do you think the ICC decision could provoke a new confrontation between international institutions like the ICC and Africa?

We just think it's a pity that they took this decision at this point in time, which is undermining the work that the African Union is trying to do.

Ute Schaeffer interviewed Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma

Editor: Sean Sinico

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