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Cablegate: Perspectives On Nepad, Islam and the Usa in South

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: n/a

REF: A. STATE 195553


1. (SBU) Summary: S/P consultations in South Africa
October 6-10, 2004 confirmed strong public and private
sector support for NEPAD, due largely to Presidents Mbeki
and Obasanjo's strong leadership. Expecting legal status as
an African Union (AU) entity, the NEPAD Secretariat was
optimistic, including about the related African peer review
(APR) process, but curious about potential impact on NEPAD
of UK Prime Minister Blair's Africa Commission. Most
interlocutors stressed the importance of capacity building
and encouraged USG engagement with NEPAD but differed on the
nature of threats to moderate Islam in Africa. Prominent
intellectuals warned that developed and developing countries
must bridge the policy divide that, on one hand, contributes
to widespread anti-Americanism in Africa, notably a
perceived emphasis on antiterrorism to the exclusion of
Africa's development concerns, and, on the other, failure to
hold African countries accountable on human rights and good
governance issues. Business representatives were generally
positive about NEPAD's prospects and opined that NEPAD's
failure would have serious consequences for the continent.
End summary.

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2. (SBU) S/P Deputy Director Ambassador Perina and Africa
Specialist James conducted an October 6-10, 2004 fact-
finding mission to South Africa on institution building in
Africa, notably the African Union's (AU) New Partnership for
Africa's Development (NEPAD), and Islam in Africa. On
October 6-7 meetings in Pretoria and Johannesburg included
officials in the South African Government (SAG), NEPAD
Secretariat, academicians, think tanks, and NEPAD Business

Forum. The team met with the Ambassador and DCM and
received a briefing by POL, ECON and USAID officers. The
Ambassador welcomed the focus on USG support for institution
building in Africa, highlighting the AU's strategic role.
The Ambassador stressed the importance of working with the
Africans and of publicizing our positive interest and track
record to counterbalance misrepresentations in the media.
She expected the South Africans to respond well to a USG/AU
policy dialogue. PolCounselor Brown and Pol/EconOff Walser
in Pretoria and Cape Town (see septel) were control
officers, respectively.


3. (SBU) Perina explained S/P's policy coordinating role
and focus of this mission (interest in dialogue on NEPAD,
its major challenges, potential USG support for NEPAD, and
perceived anti-Americanism in Muslim communities in Africa)
in meetings with the SAG DFA Deputy Director General for
Africa Ambassador Mamabola and Chief Director for
Multilateral Affairs Ambassador Duarte. Both highlighted
Mbeki and Obasanjo's leadership in spearheading NEPAD's
creation to address Africa's development problems. Mamabola
also cited Algeria, Senegal and Ethiopia as "core group"
NEPAD supporters. He said Africa's own contribution to
NEPAD and conflict resolution efforts were primary focus,
before seeking external assistance, although he hoped for
USG support in moving NEPAD forward in the G-8. Mamabola
also highlighted the importance of strengthening the Peace
and Security Council (PSC), Court of Justice, Pan African
Parliament (PAP), and a voluntary, non-punitive Africa Peer
Review Mechanism (APRM) to foster good governance "based on
African standards," not those of the US, UK, or the West
generally. A late October evaluation will monitor results
to date. Mamabola said that the SAG was looking carefully
at UK PM Blair's Africa Commission, which appeared to
duplicate the G-8 action plan itself. Perina noted that
NEPAD success would attract support.


4. (SBU) Duarte explained the planning process that
eventually transformed the OAU to the AU, moving beyond
"resolutions" to an "instrument" that could independently
field Africa's own peacekeeping troops. She said, "NEPAD
was located in the diversity of 53 states," including North
Africa, which recently has identified with Sub-Saharan
Africa. The Challenge, in her view, was to implement AU
directives and harmonize 17 overlapping regional
organizations as NEPAD vehicles. Duarte contended that a
policy must allow each to remain independent but cooperative
on trade and defense issues. SAG views peace and stability
as absolute prerequisites, the basic assumption for the
African common defense policy of 2003. She listed goals
achieved to date: positive role in conflict resolution in
Burundi and DRC, plans for creation of an African standby
force and a unified SADC position at DOHA. The current
strength of leadership binds NEPAD, but the goal, she said,
was to find a continent-wide element for success that would
be lasting but not treaty-based.

5. (SBU) Sudan/DRC: Duarte noted two objectives in Sudan:
keep the Government of Sudan (GOS) on board as a negotiating
partner; otherwise the country will be split, and encourage
the GOS to develop Darfur, the Upper Nile and other deprived
areas. There are currently 410 military observers in
Darfur, she stated. Major goals include: disarmament and
return of people to their villages and fields to farm,
otherwise starvation will result. A SAG Public Service
Administration official noted SAG assistance to develop a
post conflict reconstruction plan for DRC. Perina advised
of a new State Department Office on Coordination for
Reconstruction and Stabilization to assist with post
conflict events. Duarte expressed interest in this office
given NEPAD interest in post conflict "peace management."
She noted an October 13-15 NEPAD peace and security workshop
on post conflict reconstruction in Johannesburg to be
attended by representatives at the ambassadorial level of
the heads of state steering committee and partners. Over
the next thee years, NEPAD's status will be regularized as a
legal AU entity. The Secretariat will likely remain in
South Africa.

6. (SBU) SAG Message to USG policymakers: Duarte
encouraged assistance with development and urged the USG to
view the APRM as a non-punitive, long-term investment. She
noted that partnership with the USG is very important and
asked about potential regional cooperation. She also noted
an equal commitment to stop terrorism as manifested by
African participation in an October 15 meeting to
assist/assess Africa's own counterterrorism efforts to date.


7. (SBU) NEPAD Secretariat Multilateral Relations Director
Sudir Chuckun noted strong support from the Germans (for
APRM), Belgium, Dutch and Nordic countries and contact with
USAID on specific projects. The UN agencies also have a
"cluster system" operating in Africa around NEPAD, which he
described as a socio-economic program of the AU that as yet
had no legal basis. A 20-member (5 original plus 15
members) NEPAD Implementing Committee is a subgrouping under
the HSGIC (Heads of State and Government Implementation
Committee), supported by a 45-person Secretariat in Midrand,
South Africa. A NEPAD strategic plan is in process. He
encouraged life-of-project funding and a more profound
engagement on policy with the USG, particularly on trade,
market access, and public administration and governance

8. (SBU) Chief Economist Jahed welcomed USG interest in
NEPAD. Developing the regional economic commissions (REC)
as key NEPAD building blocks is a major goal. Focus is on
capacity building, not funding. He said 23 countries have
acceded to APRM, a voluntary peer pressure process under
NEPAD to foster good governance and accountability.
Strategic issues include: debt, market access, corruption,
building internal regional trade, developing an early
warning system and post conflict reconstruction. A private
sector unit exists. The African Business Round Table works
with the NEPAD business groups in South Africa, Kenya,
Swaziland, Lesotho, and Zambia. Outside SA, the focus is on
SMEs. The groups will play a supportive role, according to
Jahed, along with other partners (OECD, ADB, Commonwealth
Business Council, etc.). There is an advisor on
gender/women and others planned for labor and civil society

9. (SBU) NEPAD Secretariat message for USG policymakers:
It is important to engage with NEPAD; evaluate ODA and
quality of support; and support G-8 forum key issues. It
would have been useful to have a dialogue on Millennium
Challenge Corporation issues before the fact. NEPAD is
viewed as the continent's blueprint for which support is
needed so the staffers questioned UK Africa Commission's
likely impact on NEPAD.


10. (SBU) Johannesburg CG Dunn hosted a lunch to provide
business's perspective on NEPAD. Guests included the head
of the APR Secretariat, the Executive Director of the
American Chamber of Commerce and members of the Chamber's
NEPAD Committee, a Hewlett-Packard IT specialist who is a
member of NEPAD's E-Africa Commission, and the President of
the South African Black Accountants Association. Geoff
Rothschild, public relations director of the Johannesburg
Securities Exchange and a member of the NEPAD Business
Forum, explained the Forum's genesis, ties to companies
participating in the World Economic Forum, sectoral focus,
and support from President Mbeki. He strongly supported
NEPAD, contending that it facilitates sustainable efforts to
alleviate poverty. Others around the table repeated this
theme, observing that an effective NEPAD is also good for
business. The APR official said that feedback from
"stakeholders" in the peer review process was a major
departure for most African governments and defended the non-
punitive character of the APRM, stating that it was not for
donors or investors to put Africa's house in order. The
strategy of NEPAD leaders is to send a strong persuasive
signal to non-participating countries to pressure them into
joining up; progress to date has been encouraging.


11. (SBU) Four outspoken, much published intellectuals,
academicians and journalists from the Center for Policy
Studies, Institute for Strategic Studies, University of
Witwatersrand, and South African Institute of International
Affairs (SAIIA) met with the S/P staff and PolCounselor.
Two agreed that with the OAU-AU transition Africa had
reached a "turning point" with a new African-initiated
emphasis on good governance, corporate responsibility,
conflict resolution via the PSC and plans for the African
standby force, and coordinated approach to development via
NEPAD. One suggested that it was more a "breaking point"
pressed by events in Rwanda, Somalia, Sierra Leone and the
DRC and pushed forward by South Africa and Nigeria's
presidents. Another said that NEPAD Secretariat was
understaffed with no direction or vision or delivery vehicle
on how to translate a plan into action, asking what happens
after Mbeki and Obasanjo?

12. (SBU) One interlocutor acknowledged a turning point but
queried its sustainability. He said the OAU spearheaded
political liberation and developed a culture of solidarity
from the independence struggle - i.e., don't break ranks.
New representative and accountability institutions such as
the PAP, HSGIC, Ministerial Council, Economic and Social
Council, and proposed courts were positive developments. An
interventional regime now exists, replacing the
anticolonial, anti-apartheid focus of yesteryear. The new
pretext for action is against genocide, human rights
violations and unconstitutional changes of government.
NEPAD explicitly links peace, security, democracy and good
governance continent-wide. This has led to two contending
threads of African nationalism: the "old style" represented
by Mugabe of Zimbabwe, the nationalist, sovereign ruler, and
anti-colonial fighter who mobilizes Africans around these
themes, and, until recently, Khadafi of Libya. Secondly,
the new pan-Africanist core group - Mbeki and Obasanjo
(along with presidents of Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal,
Ghana, and Botswana) projects a politics of accommodation.
Resources also remain a serious problem with five countries
accounting for most of the AU budget. There is a policy and
implementation gap; the sooner NEPAD integrates into NEPAD
the better. He perceived a need to coordinate NEPAD
capacity with the RECs, including retention of good staff at
the Secretariat.

13. (SBU) Message for USG policymakers: Specify the nature
of the partnership vis--vis reform and delivery of donor
resources. Specifically, what does Africa get for airing
its dirty laundry? There needs to be some form of subtle
reinforcement. Blair "is getting ahead of himself, not
giving Africa enough time." There needs to be a more honest
and judicious way of communicating with Africans. The RECs
ability to deliver in one view is questionable; and as a
result, the SAG is moving away from SADC to a more continent-
wide approach on some issues. NEPAD needs practical
deliverables, but donors should not devise a NEPAD
agricultural plan. There should be careful statecraft in
support of nations doing the right thing (i.e., invitations,
White House visits, assistance, etc. For example, the Dutch
and Danes left Kenya). The US especially should strengthen
Africa's peacekeeping capacity via timely technical
assistance and logistical support.


14. One said that perceptions of hypocrisy and self-interest
preoccupation of the US do not play well in Africa as seen
by the "jump in Iraq" and "not one soldier in Liberia."
Such things affect US credibility. Another opined that the
notion that all mistakes are on the US side is wrong,
unhelpful and plays into the hands of those who wish to
destabilize and alienate Africans from the United States.
NEPAD/APRM could become a new form of conditionality. Avoid
coming across as if mutual accountability does not exist.
How do we extract outside commitment based on that we do
with respect to democracy, human rights and peace in
exchange for open market access. Also, using the slogan
"African solutions to African problems," potentially "a cop
out for reneging on responsibility." Let's avoid
"aristocracy of death; there are conflicts everywhere." For
example, why expend billions of dollars for one conflict but
blame Africa for African conflicts. Western countries and
Africans need to learn how to develop consensus on Darfur
and Zimbabwe.


15. (SBU) Perina noted the USG focus on Africa in the
global context of a post-911 world and the need to reach out
to Muslims. He asked if there was a danger of these
communities changing - for economic or other reasons - in
ways that threaten stability? One interlocutor noted an
increase in students from all over Africa and Asia in
Madrassas (Islamic schools) in Pakistan. Another suggested
that it would be a mistake to focus on only that segment of
the population, because the USG has angered the entire
continent, far beyond the Muslim community. The US "needs
partners to defeat this problem." At the 59th UNGA, Mbeki
pressed for development and Bush antiterrorism; the issue is
how to bridge this divide by compromise, according to the
interlocutor. Anti-Americanism is widespread. Another
interlocutor echoed these sentiments, stating that strong
anti-American sentiment is widespread in Africa. The
perception is that America dictates how societies should
organize themselves, fostering an existing degree of
solidarity between Africa and the Arab world in particular.

16. (SBU) Muslim in Sub-Saharan Africa are moderate
communities generally and those in South Africa do not
necessarily harbor extremist views, because Africa seems to
have embraced the western notion of democracy. Most
Africans do not mix religion and politics. The US needs to
be very careful in terms of its advocacy of its own beliefs
about democracy and antiterrorism, particularly since Africa
acknowledges the need to fight terrorism and is putting
legislation in place. One said the US comes on "too
strong" and does not seem to understand that 911 represented
a civil war in Islam in Central Asia, the Middle East and
the Horn. In one sense, he said the US was not the real
target but a convenient hook for mobilizing this struggle.
The US antiterrorist strategy misses the boat on how the US
plays into this.

17. (SBU) One interlocutor suggested the need for a
different model of US diplomacy, changing tone and style
while still acting in its own self-interest. A different
approach could make a difference. US diplomats should
cultivate and develop personal relationships, building
trust. Much of the dynamics of the Zimbabwe situation
relates to failure to do that. Blair fell right into that
mode and made it difficult for the SAG and others to take
the moral position on Zimbabwe. Why not quietly fund the
right things? For example, brisk debt relief would win the
US some points, as would follow-through on Monterrey. There
needs to be a bridge. They recognized that America was
hurting after 911 and not interested in talking about
development. However, the world was ready for cooperation
but instead reacted to post-911US actions with tremendous
alienation. The perception is that America is strong and
democratic at home but a dictator abroad.

18. (SBU) SAG reaction: Regarding the few Muslims in South
Africa, DFA DDG Ambassador Mamabola stated that there was a
history of coexistence and governance, but Darfur, in his
view, will be a test for Africa. He added that this issue
threatened Nigeria as well. A close ANC advisor and Muslim
scholar noted the proliferation of proselytizing Saudi
Arabian text books in South Africa that can be expected to
have an impact in the future.

19. (SBU) Comment: S/P staffers considered the mission to
be highly successful and useful input into the US
policymaking process on NEPAD and an approach to Islam in
Africa. Results of the October 12-13 NEPAD peace and
security workshop on post conflict reconstruction and the
October 22-23 Multi-stakeholders Review in South Africa
should indicate how Africa's grades it own progress to date
and perhaps suggest how it plans to proceed with existing
and potential partners.

(U) Ambassador Perina cleared this message.


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