Zuma arrives in Angola for summit

Luanda, Angola, where the 5th Ordinary Summit of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region is taking place.
(Image: www.africanarguments.org)

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Lucille Davie

President Jacob Zuma is in Luanda, the Angolan capital, for the Fifth Ordinary Summit of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which takes place on Wednesday, 15 January.

Member states of the ICGLR – Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia – are gathering to discuss peace, stability and development in the region. The meetings will have a special focus on the trouble in the DRC, CAR and South Sudan, all of which are suffering internal conflict and skirmishes. Angola is chairing the summit.

On 4 November 2013, South Africa hosted a Joint Summit of the Southern African Development Community and the ICGLR to discuss, among others things, the implementation of the Framework for Peace, Security and Co-operation for the DRC and the region. The framework was signed by all the member states, including South Africa, in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on 24 February.

The Angola meeting was preceded by the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee Meeting on 14 January, and it will be followed by an African Union summit in Addis Ababa next week. Zuma is accompanied by Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, his minister of international relations and co-operation.

“South Africa remains committed to working with the United Nations, the African Union [AU], the Southern African Development Community [SADC] and the ICGLR in addressing national reconciliation; post-conflict reconstruction and development; security sector reform; disarmament; demobilisation and re-integration; as well as institutional capacity-building and economic development in the region,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

According to SAnews.gov.za, the South African government news portal, the country has been leading peace efforts in the Great Lakes region and the continent, and remains committed to working with the UN, the AU, the SADC, and the ICGLR to end conflict and bring economic growth to the area.

The main objectives of SADC, which came about in 1980, are to achieve development, peace and security, economic growth, to alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa, and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration, based on democratic principles and equitable and sustainable development.

SADC members are Angola, Botswana, the DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The AU was formed in 1999, out of the disbanded Organisation of African Unity, in existence since 1963. The objective of the AU is to accelerate the integration of the continent to enable it to play a role in the global economy, at the same time addressing social, economic and political problems created by the negative effects of globalisation. It aims too to achieve greater unity and solidarity between African countries.

The main objectives of the OAU were to rid the continent of the remaining vestiges of colonisation and apartheid; to promote unity and solidarity among African states; to coordinate and intensify cooperation for development; to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states and to promote international cooperation within the framework of the UN.

African National Congress member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the chairperson of the AU. She was the former minister of home affairs.