Caracas , July 19, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The first preparatory meeting for coordinators of the Second South American-Africa Summit, to be hosted by Venezuela in November 2008, concluded yesterday with a focus on strengthening South-South political and economic cooperation and an agenda of specific actions to be implemented before the summit.
In a media statement after the opening ceremony on Monday Venezuelan Assistant Foreign Minister for Africa Reinaldo Bolivar stressed the view of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that this should not be “just another summit,” rather it should focus on concrete proposals and actions in areas such as health and education, economics, investment and finances; science, technology and communications; infrastructure and transport and agriculture and the environment among others.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said during his speech at the opening ceremony, that for Venezuela, the aim of the summit is to facilitate the construction of a multi-polar world "without empires, hegemonies, and of equality, to overcome the serious and immense social problems that we have inherited in the last two centuries."
According to Prensa Latina, Alpha Oumar Konaré, outgoing Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said the collaboration that has developed between South America and Africa, “is an association in which we will all win, based on respect and a true concept of solidarity.”
Maduro said that he also shared the view of Konaré and insisted that Venezuela wishes "to construct a democratic relationship between equals.”
Maduro was optimistic about the outcomes of the meeting, saying that “the Summit of 2008 has already started well,” while he recognized that the three days of discussion were “intense,” he said that there were many views shared in common and an there was “a very clear vision of the method and strategy for approaching different matters.”
The meeting also focused on political, cultural and historical links between Africa and South America. Venezuela is aiming to promote cultural interchange with African nations and to this end hosting the Second Cultural Festival of the People of Africa in Venezuela in November this year in the lead up to the summit in 2008.
Maduro said that the presence of Konaré drew attention to the historical experience colonialism and the struggle against it in both Africa and South America.
"Today we should remember here the historical leadership that in the 20th century directed Africa towards its Independence, towards its liberation. Today we would have to remember here how that leadership rose in the midst of great difficulties and how often that leadership, almost in all its opportunities, was harassed by the empires… Today we should remember the great Patrice Lumumba, to Julius Negeret, Amílcar Cabral, to Nasser, Thomas Sankara, to Zamora, Mitchell and to the great Nelson Mandela."
The first South American-African Summit was held in Abuja, Nigeria in November 2006, where Venezuela raised its proposal for a Bank of the South. The Chavez administration has boosted Venezuela’s relationship with Africa in recent years, more than doubling the number of Venezuelan embassies in African nations since 2003.
Participants in the three day meeting included Alpha Oumar Konaré, Samson Adeniran, Ambassador and representative of the Republic of Nigeria in Venezuela; Fernando Jacques Magalhaes, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the Federal Republic of Brazil; delegates of UNASUR (the Union of South American Nations).