Foreign Affairs Minister, Viola Onwuliri Lauds Africa-South America Forum
February 23, 2013; Nigeria's Minister of State 1 for Foreign Affairs, Professor (Mrs) Viola Onwuliri led the Ministerial delegation to the 3rd Africa-South America (ASA) Summit, which recently concluded in Malabo Equatorial Guinea, from 20th-23rd February, 2013.
During her remarks, she lauded the forum for their goals and objectives and commitment to improving the well-being of the states and peoples of their two regions. Professor Onwuliri said “I must commend the efforts of the various working groups and follow up coordinating committees of ASA for intensifying cooperation between Africa and South America as well as for their untiring effort in promoting multilateralism, for the mutual benefit of the states and peoples of the two regions….in this beautiful African city of Sipopo let us draw the inspiration to engage in further meaningful and productive discussions for the benefit of our people. Let us demonstrate our capacity to achieve tangible outcome. That would lead to economic development and integration of Africa and South America. With the requisite political will we can do this just like we overcame the challenges and burdens of colonialism, neo-racism and racism in the past.”
Onwuliri further outlined areas of focus to accomplish their people centered objectives by making reference to previous summits. She said “Our leaders have at their two previous summits committed themselves to exploring opportunities for cooperation and collaboration in a wide range of areas not least education and culture; governance and public administration; peace and security; sports, health, gender and youths; trade, investment and tourism; infrastructure, transport, energy and mining; agriculture, food security, water and environment; science technology and ICT; and mass media and information and communication.“ The Minister provided additional historical imperative for the forum when she said “…at the heart of the partnership between African and South America is the solemn realization of the commonalities and affinities that exists between our two regions, for centuries South American has been home to Africans in Diaspora, many of whom have successfully retraced their roots and family lineage to Africa. Bound by this common historical experiences and values, it was inevitable for the people of the two regions to come together in furtherance of their well-being.” At this summit, the role of the Ministerial forum is to set the stage of the Strategic Presidential Committee comprising the leaders of the parcipating countries. During his address to the summit, Nigeria's President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan called for the establishment of a secretariat for the Africa-South-America (ASA) Summit. He said "It is not enough to have the Strategic Presidential Committee play the role of an interim secretariat when we have already agreed to establish a permanent secretariat at our previous summit," He drew attention to the theme of the summit “Strategies and Mechanism to Strengthen South-South Cooperation", to remind participants of the essence of the forum from the beginning. He commended President Obiang Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea for hosting the summit, especially when the prospect of having the meeting faced some challenges. President Jonathan was also accompanied to the summit by the Minister of Transport, Alhaji Idris Umar, and the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Edem Duke. .
Africa Diaspora Correspondent, Eastern Arrow News
PROFESSOR (MRS) VIOLA ONWULIRI
PROFESSOR (MRS) VIOLA ONWULIRI (SECOND FROM RIGHT)