Address by President Nelson Mandela at a lunch hosted by Kadin (Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry) - Jakarta - Indonesia

15 July 1997

President of Kadin;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen,

I feel very honoured to meet with so many distinguished leaders of Indonesian business. Your economy is one of those to which South Africa looks for inspiration and example. You and your neighbours in Soth-East Asia have triumphed in a most remarkable way over the colonial legacy of underdevelopment and poverty.

So today brings us a double bonus - an opportunity to share ideas with those from whom South Africa has much to learn as we follow a similar path; and a chance to discuss how two countries with a shared history of resistance and struggle can now build an effective partnership for growth and development.

Almost fifty years after Indonesia proclaimed her independence, the people of South Africa freed themselves. Our victory was also the victory of all those who supported us, amongst them the government and people of Indonesia.

Our people have wasted no time in using our new-found freedom. Our programme of reconstruction and development is transforming our society.

In just three short years we have laid the foundation for a better life for all.

Democracy and a culture of human rights are being entrenched. Programmes to improve living conditions have already touched the lives of millions through electrification; health care; access to water; housing and education.

The political stability this has brought and these socio-economic programmes combine with our economic policies to create a climate for growth.

An economy that stagnated for years is in its fourth successive year of growth in the region of three per cent. The balance of payment is being reduced.

Underlying these positive economic indicators, and beyond the short-term fluctuations that are inevitable in a turbulent global economy, there are signs of deep structural change. The growth we have enjoyed has been driven by an increasing level of fixed investment by the private sector, and our increased exports have featured strong performance in manufactured goods.

We have taken advantage of our economy's underlying strength to raise our targets for the year 2000 to six per cent growth and 400,000 new jobs a year.

And in order to maintain the positive trend, we have put in place a series of measures.

Tax incentives and training programmes are encouraging investment in areas of strength and boosting competitiveness. Lower tariffs, in some cases even beyond levels required by the World Trade Organisation, are part of the opening up of our economy. A new one-stop investment agency, Investment South Africa, is assisting potential foreign investors.

Fundamental to our approach is the spirit and practice of partnership. This is the principal reason for our achievements so far. It is what gives us confidence in the future - our experience has shown us that negotiated solutions can be found to even the most difficult problems.

Whether it concerns a strategy for growth and development; action to bring down levels of crime; or programmes to improve living conditions; all sectors of society are working together within a broad national consensus. Naturally there are differences of emphasis and approach amongst social forces such as government, business and labour. But what matters is the shared commitment to resolve differences when they do arise, and the firm intention of government to maintain the policies which have brought us success thus far.

Partnership extends to the all-important area of infrastructural development. That includes transport and communications infrastructure as well as the municipal infrastructure needed to provide services to our people. It includes also the far-reaching development of regional infrastructure that is central to the building of the Southern African Development Community into a thriving market of 150 million people.

Ladies and gentlemen;

What is happening in South and Southern Africa holds many opportunities for the business sector in Indonesia and for ASEAN - just as your own economy offers many openings for our business people.

In just three years from 1993 to 1996 trade between Indonesia and South Africa grew grown four-fold. All of us, I believe, would acknowledge that this rapid expansion was simply the result of the great potential and immense goodwill that exists, rather than the product of any well-planned or concerted effort by our two governments.

Our visit to your country, and this meeting, allow us to work towards a more conscious and structured approach to realising that potential, whether it is through trade, investment; technical co-operation; or strategic partnerships in areas in which we have complementary strengths.

The agreement signed today for the avoidance of double taxation, and further agreements under discussion, show that our two governments are in earnest about creating an environment for the flourishing of our economic relationship.

Our Embassy here in Indonesia will be working hard to make sure that you have all the information you need to make your decisions.

I am confident that the business sectors of our two countries will rise to the challenge.

Let us join hands in a partnership for prosperity as we enter the new millenium!

I thank you!

Issued by: Office of the President

Source: South African Government Information Website