Amb. Carlos dos Santos (Ambassador of Mozambique to Germany)

04.06.2010 - Interview conducted by Hannah Moysey

Q1. NEPAD is a voluntary scheme that is meant to encourage good governance. But what happens if a country doesn’t meet the criteria? What does NEPAD do then?

Actually, NEPAD is a more embracing program. It’s a program of the African Union and there we really don’t speak much about voluntarism. The voluntary factor comes into the APRM, which is one instrument that the AU and NEPAD have found to make NEPAD a success in the area of governance - political, economic and corporate governance. The idea of voluntarism in the APRM is evident because the country has to accept to be reviewed by other countries that means people interfering in the internal affairs of your country. They are invited to do to that and no one is forcing you because you say, "I am aware of my nation's deficiencies which is why I am in this state of development, but I seek to develop further and wish to use the experience of others”. The first task is to formulate a self-assessment to present to the other member nations so that they are able to understand see your own views of your people and of your country. But APRM will analyse this self-assessment. We will talk to the people of your country: parliamentarians, academics, politicians, trade unions - almost everyone. Then we will tell you whether what you present is an accurate picture, where you were right, where you were wrong, where you can improve and how you can improve. We will give you suggestions which is where our knowledge, our experience, of what we have done in other countries comes into play. These suggestions will then help your nation to move forward. After this review process from NEPAD, you have the report from which you can create a plan of action where you can implement the recommendations that were given. You may not take all the recommendations but you will definitely find some that are worthwhile taking. This is the idea of this peer learning in the process of the APRM.

Q2. What positive effects will hosting the World Cup have on South Africa, and Africa as a whole?

It’s a great event for the world of course but especially for Africa. I am happy it has started well and is taking place successfully with no major incidence to speak of which has brought joy to Africans, credibility to South Africa and Africans, and has demonstrated that they can organise an event as big as the World Cup, do it on time and with the quality that is required. We have seen from the opening ceremony and the games that the Africans, their state of poverty not withstanding, are attending the matches. Not all who wishes to attend can, but they are watching the matches in different places. They are really showing that they are part of this world and can do great things. I am hoping that this will bring a different image of Africa to the world, an Africa that has tremendous potential and has wonderful people who can be part of the global community, not just people who are always in conflict waiting for handouts from those who can assist them.

Q3.  What do you think can be done to confront the problems that are currently occurring within Somalia, which you had briefly mentioned in your lecture?

The issue in Somalia is a very grave and serious one. It is being handled by the Africa Union in the best way they can, with the means which are available to them. In order for a country to be able to work normally, it has to have a government in place. The government has to have the ability to control the territory of the country and have the institutions working throughout the country. These conditions are not possible in Somalia at the moment because the government is confined to a relatively small area - just Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. They are confined to specific areas because there are armed groups in different parts of Mogadishu which the government is unable to reach. The idea is for the African Union to help the government in place to be able to control the situation: firstly, to be able to maintain their location and secondly, to try and protect the population from any other conflict as much as possible. Now, the solution to the problem will have to come from the Somalis themselves. The conflict has to do with the root causes of these divisions, whether its ethnic divisions or religious divisions. Whatever the divisions are, they have to be resolved and only Somalis can do that. The African Union and the international community, including the United Nations have been trying to help find those solutions.

Q4. Mozambique has had quite a troubled past with civil war occurring for a long time. What lessons do you think can be learnt from the Mozambique conflicts for the likes of Sudan, which has visible divisions between the north and the south? Do you think the referendum for 2011 in Sudan will be able to help?

The first point in this regard is that each situation is a specific situation so there are no models for solutions. I therefore wouldn’t completely transport the way Mozambique dealt with the conflict to Sudan because it’s a very specific situation. But there are some lessons that can be learnt. One, is that there is a need for the Sudanese to talk. All of them have to be part of a dialogue which will bring them into the same frame of mind, even if they have difference. Those differences should not result in the divisions that are detrimental to the country in terms of violence. There may be political differences which exist everywhere. However, there must be the formation of political parties and the creation of the “situation” of a parliament with different groups and discussion. There, they can find solutions to the problems of the country. The case of the Sudan has this issue of a territorial division of the country, which has been discussed and debated. The decision of a referendum was taken. My hope is that everyone all actors would be involved, will accept the results of the referendum and that referendum has a transparency which will bring some stability to the bad areas of the state and to Sudan as a whole.