South African President Jacob Zuma says the continent is making progress on economic and political reforms and should move toward a different relationship with the industrialized world. Mr. Zuma made the comments at the end of the Africa-European Union summit this week in Libya.
President Jacob Zuma told South African national television that Europe and other developed countries can provide important support for Africa's efforts to lessen its dependence on foreign aid which he said hinders Africa's development.
"We should move away from aid and really get into trade. And that is why this relationship [with Europe] to us is important and has to be valued that [because] it helps Africa to move away from the [group of] countries that received aid and therefore out of aid," he said.
Mr. Zuma made the comments Tuesday at the conclusion of the Africa-European Union summit in Tripoli.
He said infrastructure in the form of roads, railways and hydroelectric power grids was a top priority for African governments. He said developed nations should provide more support for such efforts.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi opened the two-day summit saying the partnership between the two continents had failed and Africa had not benefited from accords signed three years ago in Portugal.
He said Africa needs economic cooperation and not lectures on governance and human rights. But the European delegates defended EU policy toward Africa saying its governments must liberalize their economies, improve governance and encourage democratization.
Mr. Zuma said African governments are serious about democratic reform. "Africa has accepted that democracy is the way to go. That is an important consensus. And we have moved forward voluntarily," he said.
He said Africa has taken its own measures to promote regional integration and boost good governance.
He cited the New Partnership for Africa's Development, NEPAD, that promotes integrated development and the Peer Review Mechanism through which governments examine each other's standards of governance.
He said concluding the Doha round of world-trade talks would go a long way toward boosting the new relationship with the industrialized world that African governments are seeking.