Item 1236 - Speech by President Mandela at the Eighth Annual Africa Prize for "Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger"

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ZA COM MR-S-1236


Speech by President Mandela at the Eighth Annual Africa Prize for "Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger"


  • 1994-10-05 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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Eighth Annual Africa Prize for "Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger"

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  • English

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May I first express my profound and heartfelt appreciation that the jury for the International Prize of "The Hunger Project" has honoured me with this Eighth Annual Africa Prize for "Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger". I am deeply honoured to join the group of past-African Prize laureates.

Since it began in 1977, "The Hunger Project" has achieved many successes, particularly through its human development programmes. These programmes bring together and empower leaders from all sectors of communities, to work together to end hunger. In receiving this Eighth Annual Africa prize, I would like to commend you for your efforts, and trust that your unselfish dedication and commitment will, in years to come, assume more practical forms to help bring an end to world hunger.

It is especially gratifying that two of the six main initiatives of the global programme of "The Hunger Project" are devoted to Africa. The first initiative, "The Africa Prize for the Sustainable End of Hunger", with which you honour me tonight, has helped significantly to encourage the leadership in Africa to strive towards ending hunger on our continent. The second initiative, the "African Farmer" magazine has made some strides in shaping agricultural policies, in order for Africa to grow more of its own food.

The desperate food situation in Africa is reflected in the latest report of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. The report concludes that famine and severe food shortages threaten more than 34 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. It identifies civil strife, rather than merely bad weather or natural disasters, as the principal cause of the continent's hunger. It blames protracted conflict in various countries for damaging fragile agricultural economies, which results also in neighbouring agricultural industries buckling under the pressure of millions of refugees.

The tragic civil war in Rwanda is the most recent example of hundreds of thousands of displaced people being forced to seek refuge in neighbouring countries. Their mere presence in those countries led to agricultural and other reserves being taxed to the extreme. The result was the worst human catastrophe in modern times.

Africa as a continent faces a terrible food crisis. Where Africa 25 years ago required less than five per cent of world food aid, today forty seven per cent of global famine relief is channelled to sub-Saharan Africa. This, at a time when global surpluses earmarked for food aid are diminishing. Latest estimates indicate that some twenty five percent of food aid is not yet covered by pledges, and deliveries fall seriously short of pledged assistance.

However, international assistance, including food aid, does not provide long-term answers and will not solve our problems. The only sustainable solution lies in an end to conflict, commitment to democracy, sustainable economic growth and effective agricultural policies. Ordinary Africans are committed to working tirelessly towards the goal of durable peace, so that our economies, including our agricultural sectors, can prosper to the benefit of all our people. The leadership in our countries cannot afford to fail them.

We in South Africa know too well that our newly-won freedom would amount to naught if it did not entail fundamental socio-economic changes to address and remove the legacy of poverty and deprivation bequeathed by apartheid. The broad goals of reconstruction and development are at the centre of a national consensus which informs our Government of National Unity. We will be pursuing those goals with the same commitment which inspired us during the years of struggle against apartheid.

The reconstruction and development programme involves a total transformation of our society. For that reason it needs a partnership of all sectors of the community and joint strategies for dynamic and sustained economic growth. We are committed to fiscal stability and careful use of national resources. We are convinced that, like elsewhere in Africa, it is well within our means and capabilities to eliminate scourges such as poverty, lack of housing and hunger, to name but a few. We are determined to do so.

Conservative estimates indicate that some 18 million South Africans are presently living below the bread-line. This cannot be allowed to continue. Our Reconstruction and Development Programme sets a time-frame of three years within which to meet the challenge of providing every South African with basic daily nutritional requirements. Great as this challenge is, we are confident that we will succeed. I am pleased to report that we have already begun a programme catering for the basic food needs of millions of children undergoing primary education. The contribution of this scheme to children's development and to the culture of learning, cannot be over-emphasised.

I would like to conclude by referring to the challenges facing Africa in relieving hunger. We in Africa know that we have it in our power to better our own lives. I am positive and confident about the new spirit abroad on our continent to face these issues squarely and to tackle them honestly. Then Africans will be able to walk tall, not as beggars with begging bowl in hand, but as free and prosperous nations.

We wish "The Hunger Project" every success in the challenges you face and sincerely hope that you continue to make an even greater practical impact in your efforts.

May God bless you and your future endeavours.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 21/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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