Thursday, 31 January 2013

Videonews: Israeli Attack Raises Regional Fallout Risk

News Release: Shell Delivering A Competitive And Innovative Strategy

“With the first year of our 2012-2015 growth targets completed, Shell is on track for plans we set out in early 2012, despite headwinds last year,” said Voser. “Shell is competitive and innovative. We are delivering a strategy that others can’t easily repeat, with unique skills in technology and integration and a worldwide set of opportunities for new investment”.

Although the economic outlook remains uncertain for some of Shell’s key markets, Voser said the prospects for long-term growth in global energy demand remained unchanged, driven by rising world population and improving standards of living in developing countries.  “Meeting this demand growth with clean and affordable energy is a formidable challenge for our industry and it is a major opportunity for Shell,” he said.

He confirmed Shell’s growth agenda, which aims to deliver $175-$200 billion of total cash flow from operations for 2012-2015, a net capital spending programme of $120-$130 billion, and a competitive dividend for shareholders [1].

Shell’s efforts to expand its pipeline of potential energy projects are paying off, said Voser. “Our drive to increase our options for future projects means that we are more constrained by limits on capital than by limits on opportunities,” he said. “This allows us to prioritize the most attractive opportunities, and reconfigure or exit from less attractive ones.”

Voser said Shell will continue to maintain its investment programme through the economic cycle. “We make long-term decisions on capital allocation and growth choices, and we look through short-term market volatility,” he said. “As our cash flow momentum builds we expect to increase our dividends for shareholders in measured, affordable steps. There is more to come from Shell.”

Key Operational Milestones In 2012:
  • We continued to focus on safe and reliable operations in all of our activities.
  • Cash flow from operations (CFFO) of $46 billion, net capital investment of $30 billion, dividends announced of $11 billion.
  • New start-ups in 2010-12 added $6 billion of cash flow and 600 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) of production in 2012, around 10% and 20% of the company’s totals. There is more growth to come from these assets.
  • Exploration, appraisal and commercial activities in 2012 added ~4 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) of potential new resources, comprising 1.5 billion boe in conventional basins, and 2.5 billion boe in resources plays, underpinning Shell’s longer-term growth plans.
  • Rigorous portfolio management continues, with $7 billion of exits from non-core positions and strategic partnering, and $5 billion in acquisitions in 2012. Divestments in the last 3 years totalled $21 billion, or around 10% of capital employed, and acquisitions were $17 billion.

Outlook For 2013 And Beyond:
Voser said Shell will continue the strategic drive to grow its upstream businesses, with ongoing selective investment in downstream.

At the end of 2012, the company had 12.4 billion boe of resources on stream, averaging 3.4 million boe/d of production, and 20 billion boe of resources potential in our active development funnel. Total resources in these two categories represent 26 years of current production.

Shell has ~30 new projects under construction, which should unlock 7 billion barrels of resources, and drive continued financial and production growth. Upstream start-ups in 2010-15 are expected to add some $15 billion of cash flow in 2015, in a $100 oil price scenario. Some 50% of our 2013 capital investment will contribute to cash flow by 2015.

Oil & gas production is expected to average ~4 million boe/d in 2017-2018 compared to 3.3 million boe/d in 2012. Shell’s strategy in upstream is designed to drive financial growth, irrespective of production entitlement, with production growth regarded as a long term proxy for financial growth.

Shell expects to announce a dividend of $0.45 per share for the first quarter of 2013, a 4.7% increase over the fourth quarter of 2012 and year-ago levels.

Shell is allocating capital according to specific strategic themes, with unique technology, fiscal and market characteristics, and executing a global portfolio strategy. By looking at strategy through this thematic lens, Shell can allocate capital and technology most effectively in each play.
  • For 2013, we expect $33 billion of net capital investment. Organic capital investment in 2013 is expected to be $34 billion, with a further $2 billion for previously-announced acquisitions, and some $3 billion of asset sales.
  • Capital allocation, including exploration, will follow a similar pattern to 2012, with investment directed to Shell’s distinct strategic themes.
    • $12 billion in upstream and downstream engines – the mature, cash-generative businesses in Shell, plus corporate.
    • Some $18 billion directed at growth priorities, in integrated gas, deep water and resources plays, allocated evenly between these three.
    • Future opportunities, such as Nigeria onshore, Kazakhstan, Iraq, the Arctic and heavy oil will see some $4 billion of total spending in 2013.
    • The increased spending from 2012-13 will be driven by higher investment in deep water and upstream engines, reflecting Shell’s project flow, and an increase in core exploration spending from $6.4 to $7 billion, allocated to Shell’s strategic themes. The 2013 capital investment programme includes an increase of some $1 billion for non-cash capitalized leases, predominantly in deep water growth projects.
    • Exploration drilling activity will step up in 2013-14. Shell expects to drill over 40 high-potential wells in 18 conventional basins, and test 10 key resources plays for tight gas and liquids-rich shales.
[1] Cash Flow From Operations (CFFO) and net capital spending outlook at $80-$100/bbl Brent, and assumes improved US gas and downstream environment from 2012. CFFO excludes working capital movements.

Cautionary Statement:
Reserves: Our use of the term “reserves” in this presentation means SEC proved oil and gas reserves.
Resources:  Our use of the term “resources” in this presentation includes quantities of oil and gas not yet classified as SEC proved oil and gas reserves.  Resources are consistent with the Society of Petroleum Engineers 2P and 2C definitions.

Organic: Our use of the term Organic includes SEC proved oil and gas reserves excluding changes resulting from acquisitions, divestment and year-average pricing impact.

The companies in which Royal Dutch Shell plc directly and indirectly owns investments are separate entities. 

In this announcement "Shell", "Shell Group" and "Royal Dutch Shell" are sometimes used for convenience where references are made to Royal Dutch Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general. Likewise, the words "we", "us" and "our" are also used to refer to subsidiaries in general or to those who work for them. These expressions are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular company or companies. "Subsidiaries", "Shell subsidiaries" and "Shell companies" as used in this announcement refer to companies in which Shell either directly or indirectly has control, by having either a majority of the voting rights or the right to exercise a controlling influence. The companies in which Shell has significant influence but not control are referred to as "associated companies" or "associates" and companies in which Shell has joint control are referred to as "jointly controlled entities". In this announcement, associates and jointly controlled entities are also referred to as "equity-accounted investments". The term "Shell interest" is used for convenience to indicate the direct and/or indirect (for example, through our 23 per cent shareholding in Woodside Petroleum Ltd.) ownership interest held by Shell in a venture, partnership or company, after exclusion of all third-party interest.

This announcement contains forward looking statements concerning the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of Shell and the Shell Group. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on management's current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning the potential exposure of Shell and the Shell Group to market risks and statements expressing management’s expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions. 

These forward looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as "anticipate", "believe", "could", "estimate", "expect", "goals", "intend", "may", "objectives", "outlook", "plan", "probably", "project", "risks", "seek", "should", "target", "will" and similar terms and phrases. There are a number of factors that could affect the future operations of Shell and the Shell Group and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward looking statements included in this announcement, including (without limitation): (a) price fluctuations in crude oil and natural gas; (b) changes in demand for Shell's products; (c) currency fluctuations; (d) drilling and production results; (e) reserves estimates; (f) loss of market share and industry competition; (g) environmental and physical risks; (h) risks associated with the identification of suitable potential acquisition properties and targets, and successful negotiation and completion of such transactions; (i) the risk of doing business in developing countries and countries subject to international sanctions; (j) legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments including regulatory measures addressing climate change; (k) economic and financial market conditions in various countries and regions; (l) political risks, including the risks of expropriation and renegotiation of the terms of contracts with governmental entities, delays or advancements in the approval of projects and delays in the reimbursement for shared costs; and (m) changes in trading conditions. All forward looking statements contained in this announcement are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward looking statements. Additional factors that may affect future results are contained in Shell's 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2011 (available at and ). These factors also should be considered by the reader.  Each forward looking statement speaks only as of the date of this announcement, 31 January 2013. Neither Shell nor any of its subsidiaries nor the Shell Group undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information. In light of these risks, results could differ materially from those stated, implied or inferred from the forward looking statements contained in this announcement.

Shell may have used certain terms, such as resources, in this announcement that the SEC strictly prohibits Shell from including in its filings with the SEC.  U.S. investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in Shell's Form 20-F, File No 1-32575, available on the SEC website You can also obtain these forms from the SEC by calling 1-800-SEC-0330.

Released By: Shell Media Centre

Photonews: Nigerian Students Protest Corruption

Photo Credit: News Agency Of Nigeria
Photo Credit: News Agency Of Nigeria

Videonews: Top 5 Goals Of The Week Neymar, Paulinho

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

News Report: Dutch Court Says Shell Responsible For Nigeria Spills

Credit: Reuters 
A Dutch court ruled on Wednesday that Royal Dutch Shell's Nigerian subsidiary was responsible for a case of oil pollution in the Niger Delta and ordered it to pay damages in a decision that could open the door to further litigation.

The district court in The Hague said Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd. (SPDC), a wholly-owned subsidiary, must compensate one farmer, but dismissed four other claims filed against the Dutch parent company.

Four Nigerians and campaign group Friends of the Earth filed suits in 2008 in The Hague, where Shell has its global headquarters, seeking reparations for lost income from contaminated land and waterways in the Niger Delta region, the heart of the Nigerian oil industry.

The case was seen by environmental activists as a test for holding multinationals responsible for offences at foreign subsidiaries, and legal experts said other Nigerians affected by pollution might now be able to sue in the Netherlands.

Shell said the case would not set a precedent because its parent company was not held responsible.

The farmer who won compensation, 52-year-old father of 12 Friday Akpan, said he was very happy with the judgment because it would allow him to repay his debts.

"I am not surprised at the decision because there was divine intervention in the court. The spill damaged 47 fishing ponds, killed all the fish and rendered the ponds useless," he told Reuters in the Niger Delta city of Port Harcourt.

"Since then I have been living by God's grace and on the help of good Samaritans. I think this will be a lesson for Shell and they will know not to damage people's livelihoods."

New Avenue:
A legal expert said the ruling could make it possible for other Nigerians who say they also suffered losses due to Shell's activities to file lawsuits in the Netherlands.

"The fact that a subsidiary has been held responsible by a Dutch court is new and opens new avenues," said Menno Kamminga, professor of international law at Maastricht University.

The court did not just examine the role of the parent company, but also looked "at abuses committed by Shell Nigeria, where the link with the Netherlands is extremely limited," he said. "That's a real breakthrough."

Friends of the Earth spokesman Geert Ritsema said they would appeal against the acquittals "because there is still a lot of oil lying around. These sites need to be cleaned."

Ritsema said hundreds of other Nigerians in the village of Icot Ada Udo, where farmer Friday Akpan lives, can now take similar legal action.

The court backed Shell's argument that the spills were caused by sabotage and not poor maintenance of its facilities, as had been argued by the Nigerians.

Ritsema said it was also knew that an oil company was being held responsible for failing to prevent sabotage.

There were 198 oil spills at Shell facilities in the Niger Delta last year, releasing around 26,000 barrels of oil, according to data from the company. The firm says 161 of these spills were caused by sabotage or theft, while 37 incidents were caused by operational failure. Local communities say Shell under reports the amount of barrels spilled.

People who live in the Niger Delta say their land, water and fisheries have been blighted for years by oil pollution and activists have called for oil companies in Nigeria to be held to the same standard as elsewhere in the world.

Shell is facing ongoing legal action brought in a UK court on behalf of 11,000 members of the Niger Delta Bodo community, who say the company is responsible for spilling 500,000 barrels in 2008. Shell has admitted liability for two spills in the Bodo region but estimates the amount spilled is far lower. Bodo's case could be heard in the High Court in London next year.

A United Nations report in 2011 on the Ogoniland region in the Niger Delta criticized Shell and other multinationals, and the Nigerian government, for 50 years of oil pollution.

It said Ogoniland, where Shell no longer operates, needed the world's biggest-ever oil clean-up, which would take 25 years and cost an initial $1 billion.

A decade of militancy by armed groups in the Niger Delta, which had its origins in local anger over oil pollution, shut down nearly half of Nigeria's oil output until an amnesty in 2009. The Niger Delta is home to about 31 million people.

Compensation To Be Negotiated:
"We will pay compensation. We didn't lose the case. It was not operational failure. The leak was the consequence of sabotage," Royal Dutch Shell's vice president for environment, Allard Castelein, said in comments after the verdict was read.

"Shell Nigeria should and could have prevented this sabotage in an easy way," the court ruling said. "This is why the district court has sentenced Shell Nigeria to pay damages to the Nigerian plaintiff."

Castelein said Shell would negotiate the amount of damages with the farmer, but that an appeal could postpone the outcome of those talks.

The Nigerians - fishermen and farmers - said they could no longer feed their families because the region had been polluted by oil from Shell's pipelines and production facilities.

The pollution is a result of oil spills in 2004, 2005 and 2007, they said.

It is the first time a Dutch-registered company has been sued in a domestic court for offences alleged to have been carried out by a foreign subsidiary.

The suit targeted Shell's parent company in the Netherlands and its Nigerian subsidiary, which operates a joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Shell, Total E&P Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited.

Shell Nigeria is the largest oil and gas company in Nigeria, Africa's top energy producer, with an output of more than 1 million barrels of oil or equivalent per day.

In October, Shell lawyers said the company has played its part in cleaning up the Delta, which accounts for more than 50 percent of Nigeria's oil exports.

Photonews: Nigeria Police Farce

Monday, 28 January 2013

Speech: Welcome Speech By The Chairperson of AU Commission At 20th Summit

HE Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson, African Union Commission

Your Excellency Boni Yayi, Chairperson of the African Union and President of the Republic of Benin;

Your Excellency Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and our host;

Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the African Union;

Your Excellency Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority;

Your Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations;

Your Excellency Vuk Jeremić, President of the UN General Assembly;

Excellencies, Members of the Executive Council and other Ministers present;

Your Excellencies, Heads of AU Organs, and other International agencies

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Distinguished invited guests;

Excellencies, members of the Permanent Representatives Committee;

Heads of African Regional Economic Communities and African Union Specialized and Representative offices;

Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me, on behalf of the Commission, to thank you sincerely for electing us to serve this premier organization of Africa. It is a responsibility, which we pledge to undertake with commitment and diligence.

Of course, let me also express my appreciation to the Prime Minister, Government and people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, not only for the warm welcome when we assumed duty, but also for providing homely conditions for our stay, and for presenting us with the key to the City of Addis Ababa.

Ma gratitude va aussi au Président de l’Union, Son Excellence Boni Yayi pour tout le soutien qu’il a apporté a la Commission depuis que nous avons pris fonction en octobre dernier.

Let me also take this opportunity to thank the previous Commission led by His Excellency Dr. Jean Ping, for the foundation they have laid.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished guests,

Today we look to the future calmly, confidently and courageously.

These same words were said by the founders of our Union, almost fifty years ago, in this very City of Addis Ababa.

As we look back on the last fifty years, we acknowledge that our first priority was the attainment of the political independence and the eradication of Apartheid. In these causes, the continent rallied together, sacrificed, and pooled its resources and efforts in solidarity with anti-colonial and liberation movements. Under the leadership of the Organization of African Unity, Africa united around these issues, was of one mind on what to do, and spoke with one voice.

This unity of purpose, sacrifice and solidarity by Africa, which complemented the efforts of liberation movements, led to the decolonization of the continent and the dismantling of Apartheid.

It is, therefore, befitting that the theme of this Summit and year is "Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance". Because the spirit of Pan-Africanism and the ideals of the African Renaissance delivered us to where we are today and must propel us towards an integrated, people-centred, prosperous Africa at peace with itself. It is this spirit and ideals that inspired the adoption of the Lagos Plan of Action in 1980, the Abuja Treaty in 1990 and NEPAD in 2001.

It is therefore appropriate to recall on this august occasion the words of one of the Pan Africanist and freedom fighter from South Africa, Pixley Ka Isaka Seme, who said:

“The African already recognizes his anomalous position and desires a change. The brighter day is rising upon Africa. Already I seem to see her chains dissolved; her desert plains red with harvest; her Abyssinia and her Zululand the seats of science and religion, reflecting the glory of the rising sun from the spires of their churches and universities, her Congo and her Gambia whitened with commerce; her crowded cities sending forth the hum of business; and all her sons (and Im adding her daughters) employed in advancing the victories of peace…

Yes, the regeneration of Africa belongs to this new and powerful period”.

We must remain inspired by those words, which were uttered in 1906. The conditions now, and the experiences of the past fifty years, make us believe that indeed that period of the regeneration of Africa belongs to this new and powerful period.

Your Excellencies

What makes us so confident that Africa time has arrived and that we can achieve our dream within fifty years, or even less?

Six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are African, and the continent has been growing at an average of 5% per annum for over a decade, despite the global financial and economic crisis.

We have a growing, vibrant, resourceful and youthful population, who are being equipped with critical skills that would be necessary to drive Africa’s transformation.

The ICT revolution has been embraced by Africans particularly the youth, which has spurred innovative approaches to information, micro-finance and the mobilization of rural producers via the mobile telephone.

The expansion of Africa’s middle class, currently estimated at 355 million, is bound to spur developments in a range of areas, including the growth of the private sector and the knowledge economy.

The continent is endowed with rich natural resources, including mineral and marine resources as well as vast arable land. These are critical components in the industrial and agricultural developmental processes that should drive economic growth, trade and social transformation.

We have also institutionalized good governance and accountability in many countries through the African Governance Architecture and with thirty-three (33) countries having participated in the African Peer Review Mechanism. We take this opportunity to congratulate the Panel of Eminent Persons and two newest signatories, the Republic of Chad and Tunisia. We also acknowledge the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Zambia for having also recently subjected themselves to the rigorous process of the APRM.

We also take this opportunity to congratulate the countries who have just had their elections, Sierra Leone and Ghana.

Close to ninety percent of countries in Africa have enjoyed sustained peace and stability during the decade, and continue to do so. At the same time, the continent is continually strengthening its capacity to deal with conflicts.

We must therefore take bold steps and fight for the pride of place in the world, as a global growth pole. We must develop our narrative and challenge conventional thinking and paradigms. We must re-kindle the passion of our founders and our people in Pan Africanism, through unity, self-reliance, integration and solidarity.

Your Excellencies and Distinguished Guests

Optimistic as we are, we are mindful of the enormous challenges that remain.

We cannot over-emphasize the need for peace and security. Without peace and security, no country or region can expect to achieve prosperity for all its citizens.

While we are proud of the progress made in expanding and consolidating peace and security on the continent, we also acknowledge that much still needs to be done to resolve ongoing, renewed and new conflict situations in a number of countries.

The Peace and Security Council will report to the Summit on African Union efforts to address these situations in Somalia, Guinea-Bissau, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Darfur, Comoros, Sudan/South Sudan, Madagascar, Western Sahara and more recently Mali and the Sahel. We must also continue to support those countries who are in post-conflict situations, to consolidate their reconstruction and peace-building efforts.

There is also a resurgence of the tendency of rebel groups attempting to oust democratically elected governments. The Union must remain firm on its stance of no unconstitutional change of government. We must enhance our capacity to defend democratically elected governments and their territorial integrity.

Thus there is a need to accelerate the operationalisation of the African Stand-by Force and whatever other mechanisms, to enable us to have quick response capacity to intervene when the need arises.

At this juncture, we must extend our heartfelt thanks to the international community in general, and the United Nations in particular, for the continued cooperation and support to African efforts to resolving conflicts on the continent.

Your Excellencies, while negotiating peace agreements is an urgent and vital task in resolving conflict, it is just the first step. Sustainable peace and stability can only be guaranteed by comprehensive post-conflict reconstruction and addressing the root causes of conflicts. We will therefore do more to align the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) with the African Governance Architecture (AGA).

We hope that the discussions by the Summit will give impetus, support and further guidance to on-going efforts of the African Union and Regional groups seeking lasting solutions to the conflicts.

Africa remains concerned at the long-standing Middle East question, in particular the issue of Palestine. We call for the granting of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, in accordance with United Nations Resolution 1514 (xv) of 1960, on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples.

We wish in this regard, to congratulate the Palestinian Authority and the people of Palestine on the recent resolution granting them the status of an Observer State at the UN.

Your Excellencies,

During this and the commemorative summit in May - as we renew our commitment to Pan Africanism and African Renaissance - we shall take time to address some of the other challenges on our transformation path. These not only include old and new threats to peace and security, but also slow progress with diversification of our economies and the need to rapidly increase inter-Africa trade and global market access.

We must also concretize our search for innovative and alternate resource mobilization strategies, and in the spirit of Pan-Africanism urge those who are better endowed in any area or any resource, to show solidarity to others who may currently be less endowed.

It is a matter of concern to us that our continent, which contributes the least to the harmful carbon emissions that cause global warming into the atmosphere, is the continent most affected by climate change. We wish to call for equity and justice in mitigation, adaptation and governance (and in the funds) of climate change.

Although we have policy frameworks and strategies almost across all the areas critical to our development, we need to considerably strengthen our capacity to implement the decisions. We must therefore ensure that our institutions work effectively and efficiently, and are responsive and concentrate on implementation.

The Union and its organs must also effectively communicate with the African citizenry, different sectors of civil society and the Diaspora, so that we unite and mobilize the continent for its renaissance.
Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests

I, like many other Africans, strongly and sincerely believe that Africa’s dream is not only achievable, but can be done in a shorter time.

There are many examples of countries that have successfully transformed in less than fifty years from poor, third world countries to prosperous high-income countries. These countries now have standards of living that rival, or even surpass, those of the developed countries, amongst them are the Gulf States, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, Malaysia and China.

The massive economic development that has propelled China to become the second largest economy in the world has been on a genesis since the 1970’s. For instance, in 1978 China’s gross domestic product (GDP) was just 147.3 billion US dollars. By 2009 China’s GDP had risen to 4.9 trillion. By last year this figure had reached a phenomenal 7.298 trillion dollars.

In 1978, China’s social and economic indicators were not so different from Africa. For instance, 63 per cent of China’s population lived below the international poverty datum line. By 2007, that figure had fallen to 4 per cent.

So we are filled with optimism and enthusiasm that in the year that we celebrate our 50th anniversary, the continent of hope and opportunity and is on the move. In a range of areas critical to our development, we have taken control of our destiny and have agreed what to do.

Through the sweat and toil, which tills our land daily, we intend to refuel the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Programme (CAADP). We shall utilize this programme to increase agricultural productivity and facilitate for agro-processing, working through the RECs and Member states. Through this programme and associated actions we will guarantee our collective food and nutritional security, so that every child on the continent is fed and better nourished. Ultimately we will register our comparative advantage so that we become a net exporter of food products to the rest of the world.

This will contribute to the empowerment of Africa such that we reclaim our voice towards setting fair and just food prices. In so doing, we will ensure rising incomes for farmers whilst transforming the livelihoods of our populations, especially in rural areas.

To secure decent livelihoods and the free movement of people, goods and services, we must accelerate integration and connectivity. The progress on the implementation of the priority infrastructure projects of PIDA in the areas of transport, energy and ICT is therefore encouraging, with notable advances where domestic resources are being utilized.

Thus Deloitte and Touche noted the trend that “African governments have historically financed a sizable share of the continent’s infrastructure development on the balance-sheet.” Given the huge scale of our infrastructure backlog, a key component of the PIDA programme, working with the NEPAD Agency and the RECs, is therefore resource mobilization and diversification of funding models.

The transport corridors envisaged through this initiative will enable young people from Mogadishu to travel to Timbuktu, onwards to Gore Island and enable products to be transported from Cape to Cairo.

Broadband infrastructure will enable our people to connect with each other from the remotest parts of our countries and to access public and business services and opportunities.

Our young entrepreneurs, poets, writers and linguists will populate the African cyber space and shape its content, so as to share and promote our culture, languages, indigenous knowledge and development to enable Africa to compose its own narrative.

Education and skills development is at the heart of our regeneration efforts. The Pan African University and the general expansion of our higher education sector will equip our young people with critical abilities to drive innovation, sciences, entrepreneurship, research, social development and industrialization.

The Conference of Ministers of Interior and other Ministries responsible for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics are hoping that recommendations will be approved in order to address the scandal of the invisibility of millions of Africans whose birth and identities are not recorded anywhere, denying them access to rights and services.

The lack of statistics undermines national planning and service provision, and the lack of accurate and secure population registers undermines security and efforts to establish effective immigration systems that will allows free movement of people of all our countries.

We must thank all the continental Champions of the important programmatic areas of the Union, especially infrastructure, who through their dedication and advocacy help to raise awareness, communicate Africa’s success stories and monitor implementation. Africa needs many more such Champions, from across the length and breadth of the continent and in more diverse areas.

Your Excellencies,

Women constitute more than half of Africa’s population. They give birth to the other half.

Women also make up seventy-five per cent of the agricultural workforce. They constitute the bulk of cross-border traders and still provide for the well-being and social reproduction of families, communities, the workforce and our societies.

The continent has taken many decisions towards the emancipation of women and gender parity, including the declaration of the Decade of Women. All that remains is implementation and we must increase implementation of these decisions. Let me quote President Samora Machel of Mozambique who said:

The emancipation of women is not an act of charity, or the result of humanitarian or compassionate attitude. The liberation of women is a fundamental necessity of the revolution, the guarantee of its continuity and the precondition of its victory.

We have taken steps, Excellencies to enhance coordination of the Regional Economic Communities, as critical building blocks of our Union. The AU Commission will work closely and plan together with the RECs.

We also work closely with the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and the NEPAD Agency to ensure better coordination of our efforts, building on our different and complementary roles as institutions, in order to advance the African Agenda.

The successful implementation of these continental programmes and efforts, Your Excellencies, will bring our people – young and old, men and women, urban and rural - from the periphery to the centre - as active participants in the renaissance of Africa and as captains of their destiny.

Distinguished Guests

The continental programmes that we spoke about also greatly benefit from support partners from across the globe. Whilst Africa is taking charge of its own destiny, your cooperation and invaluable support is appreciated.

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished guests

During this and the commemorative Summit in May – as we renew our commitment to Pan Africanism and African Renaissance - we should take time to discuss further what more needs to be done to accelerate Africa’s vision of integration, prosperity and peace.

We need to ask whether the economic growth models we are pursuing are likely to lead to sustainable inclusive development for Africa and, if so, at what point? What conditions should we put in place to enable transformational and qualitative change? What are the different, yet complementary roles of the state, the private sector, civil society and the diaspora in our economies?

How do we facilitate the creation of indigenous capital and a viable, vibrant private sector that is not only capable of investing in big local industry, including infrastructure development, but also competing effectively and becoming global champions?

How can Africa harnesses its resources to ensure that it funds and therefore determines its development agenda? How can we strengthen our institutional and other capacities, to ensure implementation of our decisions and policies?

What is it that we have not done, or that we could do differently?

Your Excellencies, these and many other questions need to be asked and candidly answered - in the year of the 50th anniversary - if we are to realize our dream within the coming fifty years.

As we renew the spirit of Pan Africanism and ideals of African renaissance, I would like to quote one of Africa’s writers, Ben Okri, from his book Ways of Being Free:

They tell me that nature is the survival of the fittest. And yet look at how wondrous gold and yellow fishes prosper amongst silent stones of the ocean beds, while sharks continuously prowl the waters in their impossible dreams of oceanic domination and while whales become extinct……how many butterflies and iguanas thrive, while elephants turn into endangered species, and while even lions growl in their dwindling solitude.

There is no such thing as a powerless people. There are only those who have not seen and have not used their power and will. It would seem a miraculous feat, but it is possible for the under-valued to help create a beautiful new era in human history. New vision should come from those who suffer most and who love life the most.

It is only by establishing a common destiny and outlook that we can overcome and prosper. In the words of Ben Okri, there is nothing like a powerless people.

Asante Sane
Je vous remercie de votre aimable attention.
Mucho obrigado
I thank you.

HE Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
African Union Commission