South Africa’s foreign minister urges unity in tackling global challenges

South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor delivers a speech during a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, on February 28, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI )
FILE PHOTO: South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor delivers a speech during a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, on February 28, 2022. /AFP Photo

South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor says world leaders should come together to address the numerous challenges that have struck various regions.

Pandor made the call in a speech as she met with visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Pretoria on Monday.

“The world is going through an extraordinarily difficult period. Many countries are having to contend with high costs for fuel, food and transport, which are basic necessities,” she spelled out.

“The current global economic environment, which is marked by rising inequality, conflict, unequal technological advances and environmental degradation brought about by climate change, has huge implications for food security and agricultural systems, especially in Africa where the pandemic has reversed the gains that have been made under the African Union’s socio-economic development blueprint, Agenda 2063, to bring about the Africa we want.”

Pandor urged leaders to ensure that the undertakings made at the United Nations, the G7 and G20 to address food insecurity, global health, peace and security, sustainable and just energy transition, as well as human security are meaningfully addressed.

“Together we must identify paths to greater prosperity and human-centred development that improve local communities’ self-reliance, social justice, and participatory decision-making,” the minister said.

Pandor also used the opportunity to call for stronger ties between South Africa and the U.S., noting that it should create the conditions for both democracies to thrive.

Blinken arrived in South Africa on Sunday to begin his three-nation tour of the continent, the second since he took office in October 2021.

His arrival in Africa follows his trip to Asia, where he visited Cambodia and the Philippines on official duty.

The U.S. Secretary of State is scheduled to stay in South Africa until Tuesday.

Upon completing his tour of South Africa, Blinken is expected to travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.