LittleAfrica News’ Founder and Publisher Mona Davids interviewed South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor. Pandor was present at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit that was held in Washington, D.C. from December 13th to 15th. She led the South African delegation at the summit.
Pandor applauded President Joe Biden’s willingness to reignite the relationship between the U.S. and African nations. This was the first time the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit was hosted since Barack Obama’s presidency. Relationships between the U.S. and African countries had become fractured during Donald Trump’s tenure as president.
President Joe Biden had indicated while still on the campaign trail that he would be working towards resolving relationships with Africa as a continent. “America is a large and important economy. I think it was quite tragic that almost for the last six years, the continent has been ignored by the leadership of the United States of America,” Pandor said in the exclusive interview. She spoke glowingly on President Biden’s efforts to create stronger ties between his country and Africa.
Pandor noted the importance of the summit, the relationships, and the projects that would come out of it. She also emphasized that the relationships and projects created should go beyond rhetoric. She stated that she was eager to witness actual results from the relationships forged during the summit. “I would want to see us actually recording practical results,” she said. “I have raised this with Secretary Blinken. We had excellent meetings with him, and he is in full agreement and confirmed that the interest of President Biden is to achieve real outcomes.”
Pandor delved into South Africa’s role as a peacemaker in Africa, including the role the country played in the Ethiopian peace deal by hosting the talks within its borders. “I think we are willing, if allowed, to play a role. We always stand ready. We always offer, whenever there is a conflict,” Pandor said. “When we were first approached, for example, about Ethiopia and TPLF, we took time because we weren’t certain. It was only when both of them approached us and said, ‘we have asked AU to ask South Africa,’” she said. President Cyril Ramaphosa gave the go-ahead for the talks to take place in South Africa and for the government to facilitate the peace talks. Minister Pandor also emphasized the role played by President Ramaphosa in Lesotho. In recent history, Lesotho had become infamous for political instability and conflict among politicians. Ramaphosa’s intervention in the country allowed for peaceful, free, and fair elections to take place this year. This has allowed the democratization of Lesotho, seeing the election of a new leader. She mentioned how South Africa had previously assisted Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic with military forces.
Pandor also commended President Biden for recognizing the African diaspora and its importance. She further applauded him for forming the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement. As previously reported by LittleAfrica News, the Advisory Council will provide advice regarding ideas that would uplift the African Diaspora in the U.S.
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