Financial crisis emphasis integration need: Dlamini Zuma

South African foreign minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma says the current global financial crisis “and economic depression” emphasises the need for regional and continental economic integration.
Addressing the National Assembly this morning, she said greater political and economic integration was central to the vision of a better Africa.
“In this era of regional integration which has moved the world towards economic blocs and stronger multilateral diplomacy, most economies on the continent remain small and fragile. It is imperative that we also consolidate and deepen our political cohesion and economic integration as we move towards a united continent,” she said.
But she said values are key: “If we seek to build a better Africa through continental integration as we must the development of shared values becomes critical. It would be difficult to envision this continental economic, social and political integration if we did not agree on a set of common shared values. 
“South Africa must and shall therefore continue to promote the importance of democracy, good governance, the rule of law, the protection of human rights, non racialism and gender equality. Particular attention should also be given to building the capacity of sustainable democratic institutions as well as deepening of the culture of democracy among our people in Africa”. 
The African Peer Review Mechanism and the Pan African Parliament should play a critical role in nurturing these common values, Dlamini Zuma opined.  
The foreign minister added that Africa was incrementally building towards continental unity. “The Abuja Treaty, the formation of the African Union, and its institutions and the adoption and implementation of NEPAD have all been important stages in this regard,” she said before briefing MPs on last week`s AU summit where the matter – a hobby horse of Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi – was again discussed. The Libyan leader was also elected AU chairman.
“We have just come from Addis Ababa where it was decided that the AU Commission should be transformed into the African Union Authority in an effort to strengthen it. The details are still to be worked out.”
Dlamini Zuma added a “better Africa will also have to assume its share of global responsibilities”, saying I this regard SA “was honoured to serve in the United Nations Security Council in 2007 and 2008”. She said SA during that time did its best to advance “the goals of a better Africa”. 
“Indeed as we seek to build a better Africa I believe that we have a duty to look forward to a day when African conflict situations will no longer be the predominant agenda of the UNSC. We owe this to future generations,” she said.  
SA`s performance on the Security Council has been criticised for providing aid and comfort to a raft of autocrats, notably Zimbabwe`s Robert Mugabe and Sudan`s Hassan al Bashir. This led at least one US foreign policy heavyweight, Michael Gerson to suggest that South Africa`s voting record placed it in a new foreign policy category: “a rogue democracy`.”