Tripoli, 30 April:
The South African Ambassador, Mohammed Dangar, has been given an award for his work supporting human rights in Libya. . . .[restrict]The award from the Libyan NGO, the Ajial Foundation for Development and Human Rights, was made in a surprise move at a reception on Sunday at Tripoli’s Rixos Hotel to mark the country’s Freedom Day.
The event was first large-scale national-day diplomatic function in Libya since the revolution. Some 30 ambassadors and heads of missions attended as did Libyan officials.
Focussing on the practical meaning of freedom for the continent today, the ambassador said that South Africa “wished for the people of Libya to enjoy freedom, dignity and peace — and elections that will enable them to chart their own destiny”.
As for the rest of the continent, he noted that despite the experience of poverty, underdevelopment, corruption and other ills, Africa was changing.
“Africa has in recent years had its longest run of stability with rising growth and has to an extent become an attractive destination for investment,” he said. However, poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment remained the continent’s common enemy and needed to be confronted. He stressed the towering need for food security, pointing out that while agriculture was the source of livelihood for 70 percent of Africa’ inhabitants and that it had a quarter of the world’s arable land, it produced only 10 percent of global agricultural output and imported tens of billion of dollars worth of food annually.
Africa, he emphasised, must become economically free if it is to be genuinely politically free. “No longer must Africa be a physical resource to be exploited. No longer must Africa be a market for the produce of other nations and the source of raw materials with which their factories are fed.” That, he said, was its future. [/restrict]