Address by President Nelson Mandela at the opening of the Angola/South African Trade and Investment Conference, Luanda - Angola

29 April 1998

Your excellency, President dos Santos;
Honouable Ministers;
Distinguished guests,

I am truly honoured and privileged to be with you here at the opening of the Angolan/South African Trade and Investment Conference. This event has great significance for the future of relations between our countries, and indeed for the development of our region.

Winds of change have been sweeping over Southern Africa, bringing lasting peace and reconciliation. After years of colonisation and apartheid; oppression and destabilisation, our peoples can now breathe deeply of the fresh African air as we seize the opportunity to turn political advance into national reconstruction and sustainable regional economic revival.

Global trends enhance the urgency of economic matters. The success of nations today depends upon economic performance in highly competitive world markets. In an era defined both by the integration of the world economy and the formation of regional economic grouping, the countries of Southern Africa cannot afford to lag behind in bidding for international investment and an equitable share of.

Such is the interdependence of our economies that each Southern African county is compelled to consider its own trade and development needs within the context of the needs of the region as a whole. That is the objective reality which led to the foundation of the Southern African Development Community, and which sustains its growth into an instrument for the mutual benefit of all of us.

Economically stable and growing markets in neighbouring countries are essential for the achievement of our domestic priorities. As South Africa is affected by what happens in other countries, so they in turn are similarly affected by the success or failure of South Africa's plans for development.

While SADC provides a framework for integrated and balanced development, thereby strengthening the efforts of each of us to create a climate for sustained growth, the task of realising our potential cannot be left to government alone.

Governments - individually and collectively in SADC - are creating an environment for the flourishing of enterprise. Whether it is through the Trade Protocol which has opened the way to a single market or in other measures to promote economic integration, the opportunities are growing.

The scope for private sector participation in infrastructural development has been dramatically enlarged.

These opportunities create a challenge for business, a challenge to make business an integral part of the region's development, and in the same measure, to make development an integral part of business activities in the region.

Joining hands across sectors and across borders is the only way to achieve our common purpose of a better life for all.

Within South Africa the partnerships between government, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and organised labour have made a critical contribution to the building of our new nation, in the delivery of social services; in the entrenchment of democracy; in the building of our economy and in the development of our human resources.

The benefits of partnership are nowhere more visible than in the cross-border development initiatives, whereby infrastructure is put in place, information is available and red tape is reduced for the thorough exploitation of natural, technological and human resources.

The Maputo Corridor is under way. The Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative, a joint initiative of Swaziland, Mozambique and South Africa, is to be launched in a matter of days. South Africa is keen to share skills and resources in the other development corridors taking shape in the region.

Such partnerships, we are confident, will make an effective contribution to Angolan reconstruction and therefore to lasting peace. That is why conferences such as this are so important. They provide the building blocks of such partnerships between government and government and between government and business.

South African business is also keen to join hands in partnership with its Angolan counterparts in trade and investment. The large delegation accompanying me from the private sector and senior levels of government shows that we do mean business.

The business of literally rebuilding Angola has already begun with several South African construction companies involved. We know that there are many more opportunities in mining, fishing, agriculture, banking, oil and other industries. The abundance of your natural resources makes Angola an attractive location for trade and investment.

I wish you all success with your deliberations and may your conference bear much fruit in the reconstruction of Angola and South Africa.

I thank you.

Issued by: Office of the President

Source: South African Government Information Website