Peace – The Soil Where Investment Grows
It is a welcome news that South Africa Investment Forum – Vision 2030 is taking place in Johannesburg on 19th June 2014. The continent of Africa needs push for economic growth and a sustainable future which can only come by investment. How does one attract investment in a country? Simple, by creating conditions which can encourage investment. How does one establish those conditions which will open doors of small and large businesses to plough money in a country. The answer is by bringing peace and stability and getting rid of conflicts, corruption, bad governance and reducing crime and violence. There cannot be an economic growth if Africa is scarred by conflicts raging in Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Nigeria just to mention a few. Stability in the African continent can only happen if mechanisms are placed which can lead to peace and security.
Peace is not just absence of war, but it is closely linked with development and poverty reduction. There is no peace without development and there cannot be development without peace.
We need to explore nonviolent ways for building peace and restoring human dignity, ethics and civilisation, reflected in a new initiative 4D for World Peace initiated by our organisation, Uniting for Peace [www.unitingforpeace.com] – 4D standing for Disarmament, Demilitarisation, Development and Democracy.
The 4D for World Peace Campaign offers a choice: continue on the same destructive path of the war economy, greed and competition based on market forces and suffer even more – or build a safer and fairer way of life.
4D campaign aims to create global frameworks for taking actions on interconnecting global issues of disarming and demilitarising the world and the savings thus accrued to be deployed for real development and genuine democracy. World Peace and building a compassionate society is not a utopian dream. It can be realised by overcoming forces of destruction, violence, & war mongering. A film Change the World and a booklet 4D for World Peace is taking the campaign to the next level.
Another mechanism for peace is pursuing the activities of Non Aligned Movement (NAM). Some of the countries including South Africa are members of NAM, which promotes peace and disarmament and one of its commitment is for sustainable development. Through NAM, one can start initiatives which are conducive for development and will lead to poverty reduction, reduced debt-burden and unfair trade practices which will bring about more foreign aid and investment.
I had the privilege to discuss mechanisms for peace in the African continent, with famous South African leaders F. W. de Klerk – Former President of South Africa, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu – Nobel Peace Laureate, when they visited London.
In my talks with F. W. de Klerk on the future progress of the African continent, he emphasised active participation of all countries in African Union which can get rid of conflicts and achieve greater unity and solidarity between African countries and Africans. It can also accelerate political, social and economic integration of the people of diverse cultural background bringing peace, security and stability.
In my meeting with Desmond Tutu, an ardent and tireless peace campaigner, advocated about the role of Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in bringing peace. He suggested to me to see the BBC documentary called ‘Facing the Truth’ which is also on the same theme. He said “it is our duty to help people trapped in evil regimes to free them from oppression” especially on the African continent.
While talking about his experiences of TRC in South Africa, Tutu said “Words are often worth more than money. You would have thought that most of the people who came to Truth and Reconciliation Commission were hoping for material gains. It was nothing of the sort — people wanted to tell their story. A young guy who had been involved in police action which left him blind came to the Commission and told his story and when he had finished he was still blind but a broad smile broke over his face and he said, ‘You have given me back my eyes.”
It’s time countries of Africa put their rivalries and differences behind and work for what unites them as a continent. One such project is African Union which should be expanded in a more active way to build political, cultural and economic alliances.
I hope the future investment forums in the coming years will include speakers and themes about peace-dialogue for building a peaceful and safer world. The investment forum 2014 is an ideal opportunity to pledge and implement a positive vision which will open up opportunities for African to grow for enhancing equitable distribution of wealth and creating conditions for low level of corruption across the African continent.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.”
Vijay Mehta is a renowned author, international speaker and global activist for peace, development and human rights. He is the chair of Uniting for Peace (www.unitingforpeace.org) and Founding Trustee of Fortune Forum Charity (www.fortuneforum.org).
Vijay Mehta’s books include The Economics of Killing (2012), The Fortune Forum Code: For a Sustainable Future (2006), Arms No More (2005) and The United Nations and its Future in the 21st Century (2005).