Getting SA to buy Map

Posted On Friday, 10 August 2001 03:01 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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AN INTERDEPARTMENTAL team meets in Pretoria today to firm up the strategy of selling and implementing the Millennium Africa Recovery Programme (Map) to South Africans.

Thabo MbekiChoosing heads of state to join Mbeki in directing programme may be tricky

AN INTERDEPARTMENTAL team meets in Pretoria today to firm up the strategy of selling and implementing the Millennium Africa Recovery Programme (Map) to South Africans.

Given deep concern that foreigners' buy-in has been given priority over domestic African interest, this is arguably the hard part in the genesis of Map, President Thabo Mbeki's brainchild of forging a global partnership to help drive Africa's most ambitious economic rejuvenation programme to date.

Away from the glare of the international spotlight on the selling of Map to the Group of Eight (G-8) and the Davos elite by Map's co-authors chiefly Mbeki, Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo and Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika a low-key yet intense campaign has been launched in SA to explain Map to South Africans through their leaders.

Spearheading the campaign is the Rev Frank Chikane, the director-general in Mbeki's office, and Wiseman Nkuhlu, the president's economic adviser. Alongside the duo Tunji Olagunju, Nigeria's straight-talking high commissioner to SA, has been on the speaking circuit, discussing Map with the carefree "buppies" (black professionals).

After addressing a forum of black professionals organised by Enterprise magazine in Gauteng last month, Olagunju says the organisers were so pleased that they are thinking about similar gatherings for buppies in Cape Town and Durban.

So what is Map's unique selling point? Olagunju is selling it as a potentially lucrative business opportunity. "(I say to them): Take the New African Initiative (Map's other name) as an adventure and prove (to the world) that Africans can do it for themselves. Africa is there for you to capture.'"

He tells the young professionals that the generation gap should not prevent them from participating in Map.

In his native Nigeria a marketing strategy has been agreed upon, targeting the donors, the private sector and civil society. A pan-African seminar for the private sector is also envisaged.

Chikane says the decision to brief domestic stakeholders was agreed on in May. But preparations for the last summit of the Organisation for African Unity reshaped into the African Union (AU) held up the briefings, allowing only SA's North West province to be briefed.

Still, in recent weeks Chikane has been on a whirlwind tour of the provinces to brief stakeholders and provincial and local government authorities. It is envisaged that the stakeholders will then spread the word.

Four provinces Gauteng, North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Province have already been briefed on the implementation strategy.

Nkuhlu is expected to brief the Free State, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape from next week. Chikane says: "Of all the things I've done in government, this is the most exciting. It has to do with the continuation of the struggle, now at the continental level with international dimension." He traces Map to Mbeki's seminal "I am an African" speech.

The speech, made in Parliament during the adoption of SA's post-apartheid constitution, signalled the beginning of new era: that is, SA's contribution towards rebuilding the continent.

"The core activists of the struggle understood that we were fighting an internationalist struggle," says Chikane.

In the briefings, the audience is told of the evolution of Map right from the December 1996 meeting by then deputy president Mbeki and advisers, the formation of the African Renaissance unit in his office, the formation of an African Renaissance cabinet committee, discussions leading to the establishment of the Botswana-based African Renaissance Institute (a key link with the academia and professionals) and the international campaign to lobby for the partnership.

Does Map matter to South Africans? Yes. In the same way that it matters to the G-8? The core of the message is that it is in SA's interest that Africa grows.

Chikane says of the Mozambique-SA partnership model that symbolises Map's spirit: "Economic growth in Mozambique (induced by a partnership with SA) solves problems in Africa. Growth in SA alone will need an electric fence. The moral dynamics and the politics get complicated. We think getting rid of the fence and working as partners in development becomes critical."

The same logic is applied in dealings with the G-8. Africa's economic decline and shrinking markets pose a threat to globalisation's main beneficiaries: the western powers.

Last month Mbeki's global lobbying campaign paid off when the G-8 set up a task team to work out practical details of the group's involvement in Map. Its enthusiastic response was hardly surprising given the fact that most of its members had been knocking on Africa's doors with offers of help for months now. It is understood that they were politely told to "hold it" so that the project, hailed by James Wolfensohn of the World Bank as the best to have come from Africa, retains its African character.

Map's authors are keen not to play the colonial card as the reason for securing the west's involvement in the partnership.

They know, for example, the public relations danger of linking Map to the already controversyridden World Conference on Racism.

Apart from selling Map to ordinary people, its proponents now face another tricky task: the five drivers have to co-opt 10 other members to constitute a directing mechanism that will run Map while the AU's grand institutions find their feet.

The formula looks easy on paper, but not so much in practice. Each of Africa's five regions must have three members. Which two southern African heads of state will join Mbeki in directing Map? Will it be President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe? Malawi's Bakili Muluzi? Mozambique's Joaquim Chissano?

This is likely to be discussed at this weekend's summit of the Southern African Development Community in Blantyre.

Last modified on Thursday, 17 April 2014 09:06

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