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Guests as well as the program participants, please make sure that your cell phones and PDAs and other beeping devices have been turned off at this time. And now to this evening's program. 2006 marks 15 years since the official end of apartheid in South Africa and 12 years since the country celebrated its first multiracial elections to become a full democracy. Currently, South Africa's considered the economic powerhouse of Africa, it is a stable democracy, and is a good trading partner for much of the developed and developing world, and boasts the strongest economy on the African continent. Africa is also rightfully taking its leadership role in the opportunities and challenges faced in the African continent. Yet, at the same time, social as we all know, ocial progress takes time, and there still is a tremendous amount to be done still to overcome some of the challenges in South Africa, in particular HIV/AIDS, the epidemic, has hit the region hard and is a critical concern. The Columnist magazine states that combating HIV/AIDS is South Africa's chief social and economic challenge, as the disease is already having an impact on health, welfare, and education systems as well as the economy. It will take strong leadership to overcome South Africa's many hurdles as well as take the leadership opportunities that South Africa has, in South Africa and across the continent. So in that regard, we are very fortunate to have one such leader here with us, and I'm pleased to introduce her to you. Barbara Masekela has been a diplomat of note for many years and was a very key political activist in the fight to end apartheid in South Africa for many years. She received her initial education in South Africa and in Zambia and she graduated with a B.A from the University of Ohio in 1971. She began her career as an academic, serving as Professor of English Literature at Staten Island Community College in New York, as well as at Rutgers University, while also campaigning against apartheid and finding some time to write some poetry and write on women's issues as well. During this time, she also founded the Office of Arts and Culture within the ANC, and then served for seven years as its secretary. After the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990, she joined his office as his chief of staff, holding this position until 1994. In 1995, President Mandela appointed Ms. Masekela as joint ambassador to France as well as to UNESCO. In 1999, Ambassador Masekela returned to South Africa to join the corporate world for the first time, serving a number of executive and non-executive directorships, including serving as Director of the Bank of South Africa, The South African Broadcasting Corporation, the International Marketing Council, and the executive director of public and corporate affairs for the De Beers consolidated mines. She also became a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund nd the Nelson Mandela Foundation. In March 2003, Ambassador Masekela retired from the corporate world, and in June of that same year was appointed Ambassador to the United States by President Mbeki. It is my great pleasure to welcome here, as a Southern African myself, I'm absolutely delighted. So please join me in welcoming Ambassador Masekela. Thank you Doctor Manika for those kind words and wonderful introduction. It's a great pleasure for me to be here, and I hope that you'll ask me many questions. I don't quite know where to start; I've prepared a speech for you, so I guess I'll go to my speech. I don't know if it will take as long as I'm expected to speak, I actually prefer to have an interaction with the audience, because I don't... I usually find that some people know something about South Africa,some know nothing, and I don't quite know where to start, but I think that I should start off by saying that this year, that we're going to make, we're going to have several very important anniversaries. One of the anniversaries we're having is the hundredth anniversary of the Bambatha Rebellion, which was the last war of resistance against colonialism, and this rebellion took place in Kwazulu-Natal against the British colonial administration. When they first introduced what they called a poll tax, which was intended to drive the people off the land so that they could go into the cities and work and earn money to pay the tax because they did not have any money, they had land, they had cattle, but they did not have money. And I remember that when I was in the liberation movement what we used to say is that the struggle against apartheid is not something that just began when apartheid began, but back from the very first instance, when the Dutch arrived in South Africa in 1652, the resistance against colonialism and racism began. And the Bambatha rebellion was is regarded as that uprising which, when it was set down, really broke the back of the African people in South Africa. So that again, we are going to celebrate this year the 50th anniversary of the women's march to Pretoria, which took place 50 years ago in 1956, when 20, more than 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the pass laws and against other apartheid laws that were becoming increasingly repressive and humiliating to the African people. We are going to celebrate that this year, its' fifty, 50th anniversary, and I think most of you will remember 1976, we are going to celebrate the 30th anniversary of he Soweto uprising, which took the whole world by storm and which signaled a new direction in our struggle for liberation, because not only did it rouse the youth throughout South Africa, but it helped to bring anew, to resuscitate and bring a new spirit to the liberation movement which had been in exile for so many years to South Africa where there were so many repressive laws, where people could not meet with each other, could not speak, I think you'll all recall that Mandela's photograph could not even be published in the paper. People could not be quoted in newspapers. So we remember all of these things, we remember them with horror, but we also remember them with great pride because we think of the courage and the sacrifice, not only of the youth of South Africa, but all the cross-sections of our community, predominantly black, but also some courageous white people who joined in this struggle against apartheid, and we are celebrating also the vindication of those sacrifices and those contributions which were made across the board by all South Africans. So, this year we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of our democratic constitution. The spirit in which our constitution was drafted was summed up by our president, Thabo Mbeki, when he said, "Together we decided that in search for a solution to our problems, nobody should be demonized or excluded." We agreed that everybody should be part of the solution, whatever they might have done or represented in the past, and of course, you know that led to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, nd all of you, I'm sure, are very much aware of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the TRC. Our constitution has a preamble, and it reads, "We the people of South Africa recognize the injustices of our past, honor those who suffered for justice and freedom in their land, respect those who have worked to build and developed our country, and believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. United in our diversity. We therefore through a freely-elected, through freely-elected representatives, adopt this constitution as the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa." Our constitution has a bill of rights, which enshrines housing, health care, education, clean water, nutrition, and social security as rights, for those whose, whose enforcement citizens may sue if they believe the government is not taking reasonable steps to secure those rights. TO some, this may seem utopian, and a recipe for economic disaster. For South Africa's elected leaders, our country's progressive constitution is a mandate for sober, tested, and stable economic policies that ensure the sustained creation of wealth, to meet the ambitious social goals our nation has set itself. You will recall that South African freedom was the last in Africa. By 1940, 1994, we had seen all over Africa the fruits of independence. One of the lessons we learned was that South Africa's private sector, which was exclusively white, and which had created a great deal of wealth under apartheid, we learned that we must not exclude them, but that rather they must help to create more wealth for a democratic South Africa, because wealth was not meant to be a prerogative of whites only. That is why, in South Africa today, contrary to what you may sometimes hear, and you can ask me a question about land reform, I'll be pleased to respond to that, that is why property rights are a strongly protected right in our constitution as they are in yours in the United States, and we mean to keep it that way. Another lesson we learned is that you don't generate wealth by deporting the currency in which your people's earnings and savings are denominated, nor do you generate wealth by tolerating corruption or undermining faith in the judiciary and the rule of law. No one, as President Mbeki has stressed, not even the most senior members of the party in power, is exempt from the law. The travails of our continent also reminded us that when you borrow money, you do not pay, you do not do so to pay for current consumption, but that you use it to create new assets that will produce revenues from which those loans can be repaid. The alternative would have been to risk the very sovereignty that we had fought for, for so hard and for so long. It has been better, by far, for us to use that sovereignty to adopt sound and predictable policies and to establish a track record of effective management, so that we have been able to allow the market to value our currency appropriately, and to reduce the price of the capital we need to finance wealth creation. We also recognize that to grow, we had to be a competitive player in the global economy, so which I wanted to say, has double standards. So, we accomplished major trade reform, slashing average non-agricultural tariffs to less than 5 percent, and diversing our exports far beyond the raw and semi-processed mineral products that had been the economy's historical mainstay. We were ready to endure short-term pain to improve productivity and build a platform for land, long-term growth and a broad-based improvement in living standards. So where are we today? Today, in South Africa, we have many, many newspapers, for instance. We are the only country, where, you know, we have a newspaper which has, which was established less than a year ago, and it is already... has a readership of over 500,000 per day, and of course it means it gets more advertising for consumer goods, groceries, cars, whatever. Government revenues in South Africa have been far outstripping projections. This is not because taxes have been going up. In fact, they have come down. What is happening is the growth of the tax base. More people than ever before are paying taxes, which is not only a sign of economic health, but also of social and political cohesion. One result is that our budget deficits, or lack thereof, are becoming the envy of very many advanced economies, including yours. This year, in spite of major increases in spending, on health, policing, education, social security, and infrastructure, and some tax reductions for good measure, the deficit is projected at .5 percent of the GDP. WE are seeing the payoff from freedom combined with prudent economic management, and a national consensus on the need to actively include the millions who were shut out of the economy by apartheid and everything that went before it. Just indicate to me if my time is running out. We've been able to make enormous strides in extending decent education to all our people. We've built record numbers of homes. We have brought safe water, sanitation, and improved health care to millions, but we still have enormous problems, d we say to people, the kind of legacy that we inherited in South Africa cannot be wiped out in ten years, or twelve years. It cannot. So we have a lot of problems. We have serious problems, but I say to people, The problems that we have are problems that are common in global economy today. The problem of unemployment, I'm not justifying it, but it is not a problem of South Africa only, it is a problem of most developing countries, and it is one that is amazingly difficult to solve, because we know that more, the more profits are made and the more the economies grow, they still do not create jobs for people who are unemployed, and it is a modern social problem that exists everywhere. The problem of urban migration, it's very difficult for our social people to organize proper programs because the data is changing all the time. Our hospitals, our schools in the urban areas, all our facilities, the infrastructure is really falling apart from the great mass of migration that is coming from the rural areas to the urban areas, but in addition, from the mobility of people in our communities, in our neighboring communities, like Zimbabwe, like Mozambique. People are moving in and out of countries so fast, and incidentally, that is also making the, you know, the control of the AIDS, the HIV/AIDS very difficult because people are moving from place to place at a very fast rate. In South Africa, we've also been greatly criticized for introducing black economic empowerment. So our mines are no longer owned by the former mine owners, they're owned by the government, which holds them in custody for the people. And the government has put into effect a law that 26 percent of the ownership of the mines must be given to, or must be bought by black people. We have also extended this to many businesses in South Africa which have been traditionally white South African and said there has to be an effort to share ownership with blacks, but it is not given to blacks, they have to borrow money banks and buy into these businesses. This has cost us a great deal of headaches because people feel that this is not fair, but on the other hand, what we in Africa are feeling, it's not a South African phenomenon only, is that we are increasingly being pressured by our people to show what the benefit of democracy is. We cannot have a society with such great disparities of wealth as we have in South Africa, with the majority of the people are dirt poor, and a minority, even if you are getting a black middle class, and increasing black... but the majority of our people in South Africa are poor, and it's very, very dangerous for the future of South Africa, and we want to make sure that we can maintain an even increase the gains that we have made. So the government is introducing huge public works program, where they will also give people technical skills on the job. But all those things fall much easier off the lips, off the tongue, but in order to implement such things, it's very, very difficult. We have the money in South Africa to implement them, but we often do not have the capacity to do it, and also, I mean, even if you were to go out and build houses for the people of South Africa, we've built two million houses in twelve years. You can't, you can only build so many houses in one month, or one year. You know, you can't build 25 million houses in five years, or six years, it's practically impossible. You can't build; you can't have all of your schools perfect in twelve years. So we're faced with those challenges, we're faced with those problems, we have now at the present moment, we are as far as AIDS is concerned, at the present moment we are, we have in South African clinics about a hundred thousand people who are receiving ARVs. We hope that by the end of this year, we will have practically doubled that, but that is difficult too, because it's not a question of handing out pills, it's a question of testing people, it's a question of disclosure, it's a question of monitoring their progress, and not everybody who has HIV needs to have ARVs. So it's a complex, it's not as simplified as it is made in the newspapers, in fact, it was interesting, but sad to see that even the World Health Organization had not succeeded in reaching the targets that it had set itself to, to fight AIDS. But we're proud in South Africa, you know about the situation in South Africa, you know about the conditions in South Africa, because we have freedom, and we have a free press. Nothing is hidden in South Africa. Everything is in the newspapers; in fact, I always tell people that if you visit South Africa and read the newspaper, you'd think that tomorrow the government is going to fall, because there's such robust political debate and criticism of anybody. We are no respector of persons in South Africa. So we are confident, we are optimistic, and our optimism lies in the fact that we don't rely on ourselves only, but we rely on our brothers and sisters in Africa. We know that if we have development infrastructural integrated, infrastructural development in Africa, we could, in the Congo, produce so much electricity that could even be exported to other countries. We know that there are so many resources in Africa that if they were beneficiated in Africa instead of transported to the developed world, and, you know, manufacturing, if that manufacturing was done in Africa, we know that it would change. We know that if we had roads that could link African countries, today I can't say I'm going to Mali when I'm in South Africa, because I might go from South Africa to Agra, but it might take me another week before I find a plane to take me to Mali. Unless I go from South Africa to France, then maybe in France twice or thrice a week I might find a plane that will take me to Mali. The cell phone business has done a lot of, brought about a lot of change and economic development all over Africa, because now phone calls don't go via France anymore, or Italy, or England, you know, they just are direct, you know, but and so forth, and so on, we need, you know, we need to have this integrated African development and we need to build intra-African trade, and of course, increasingly the trade, the South-South trade is growing, and it is helping, you know, to bring about another era. Here in the United States, people ask me about the Bush administration, and I'm very frank with them say that we have enjoyed the African people have enjoyed, through the African growth and opportunity to grow... I mean, more trade access has been granted to us. That trade access, of course, cannot always be utilized, you know, because people do not have the manufacturing ability to be able to send goods to the United States, but it's been kind to South Africa, for instance, because we manufacture automotive parts, you know, car parts, and we have made a lot, a lot of gains. But the people who've made the most gains from Alcoa are those who produce oil, you know, because they have exported more oil to the United States. I can go on and on and on, but all I want to leave you with is to say that we in South Africa have great optimism for the future of our country, but we link that future to that of the rest of Africa. But we have confidence also that we will be able to maintain our democracy and that in our country there will never be racial discrimination. We know... we know that we have a long, long road ahead, and we know that the rules that we came, I was reading a very interesting editorial in the, from the Sunday New York Times which was trying to justify the fact that the definition of globalization is changing now. Before, you know, it was all of us must be globalized, you know, we are interdependent, et cetera, you must open your markets, but it's not so anymore. Now you can open certain markets, but not others. You know. And you should open your markets there, but we'll keep ours closed. We will select which ones we open, et cetera, which is very, very, very dangerous for African leaders, because they are expected at one stage to, you know, sell globalization and tell the people, no, you must... now we're... and then now, what do they say when the rules have been changed? And these, these are very delicate, delicate things. And I think all of you have read about the changes in Liberia, and the election of the first woman president in Africa, and... We, we are very optimistic, you know, about Africa. We think there is going to be change. We know that there are setbacks, but we know that also, progress is being made. We know that there will be elections in the Congo. The naysayers are already saying they won't take place. They said the same about South Africa, that it would be a bloodbath, you know. We are worried but we hope that there will be elections, and we are working, we are working to narrow conflict in Africa, South Africa, we are working very hard at that, and we hope that in Sudan, you know, that there will be peace, and we think that this, that there is great potential in Africa and that it can be realized. And we ask you all to come and visit our countries, because, no, I'm very serious, because tourism is one, I'll tell you, tourism in South Africa has outpaced mining. Mining was our single largest moneymaker. It is now tourism which has, you know... So for us, peace is important because also it means that you can come to Africa, but also we think that the more people come to countries like Africa, South Africa, they will also, when they leave there, they will go to other countries, and in fact, that is the whole idea of the transportation infrastructure, et cetera, that we want these people to come to Africa, and experience our country, and I say to people the best ambassadors of South Africa who help me in my work are the tourists who've been to South Africa. I think I should stop there. Thank you. Q & A