Statement by the Nordic Prime Ministers on the Nordic - South Africa Summit in Skagen, Denmark, on 8 June

We, the participants of the Nordic - South Africa Summit, consisting of the President of the Republic of South Africa and the Prime Ministers of the Nordic countries, note with appreciation the ever strengthening ties between South Africa and the Nordic countries, as evidenced by the unique quality of the Nordic - South Africa Summit in Skagen, Denmark, on June 8, 2000.

The Nordic Prime Ministers noted the enormous challenges the African Continent continues to face at the dawn of the 21st Century. They also welcomed the new sense of confidence and responsibility that is emerging in the greater parts of Africa as well as its vast economic potential. It was agreed, that whilst Africa further advances towards democracy and economic stability, the continent´s challenges call for extraordinary, sustained intervention and co-operation, non only among Africans themselves but in partnership with the international community.

In this context the Nordic Prime Ministers expressed their support for President Mbeki´s African initiative for rapid economic growth and sustainable development on the African continent.

The Summit agreed on the need to review the global economic system and global financial architecture to ensure that:

- a considerable transfer of resources and capital from the developed to the developing countries in the form of long term capital flow and direct investment takes place:

- the process of globalisation should lead to increased access to markets and technology transfers that work for the benefit of all;

- debt relief, including HIPC initiatives, is enhanced;

- there is access to affordable health care and education for all.

The implementation of such a strategy will create new opportunities for rapid economic growth, develop the private sector, create jobs, and will help reduce poverty and curb the spread of infectious diseases on the continent, taking existing initiatives into consideration.

In this regard, the willingness of the Nordic countries to work towards more favourable terms of trade for Africa at the next round of WTO negotiations, was welcomed.

We also recognise that Africa must have its share of the Information Technology revolution in order to avoid a further widening of the digital divide. The Nordic Prime Ministers agreed on the need to actively support Africa´s participation in the New World Economy. South Africa and the Nordic countries agree to make IT a major part of their future development co-operation. We agree to work together to place this question high on the international agenda.

South Africa and the Nordic countries stressed that peace and stability are fundamental conditions for sustainable economic growth and social development. The Nordic countries recognise that South Africa continues to play an important role by promoting peace and development in the Southern African region. We, the Nordic Prime Ministers and the President of the Republic of South Africa, therefore acknowledge the importance of focusing on a comprehensive strategy for conflict resolution and prevention in order to expand the frontiers of peace, democracy and development.

Furthermore, South Africa and the Nordic countries agreed on the importance of the follow-up conference to the World Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen in 1995 which is due to be held in Geneva later this month. It is vital that all parties concerned stand by their commitments and that appropriate actions be taken to reverse a continued marginalization of major parts of the world population and to eradicate poverty.

We also agree to give full support to the UN Millennium Summit and welcome the report by the Secretary General of the UN for the Summit.

Today the President of South Africa and the Prime Ministers of the Nordic countries have agreed to embark on a new comprehensive framework of co-operation at all levels including increased consultations within multilateral fora.

Skagen, Denmark, 8 June, 2000

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