Asians and Africans must cooperate to ensure a better world order and improve their welfare, said South African Foreign Minister Dlamini Zuma on Wednesday in Jakarta.
She was addressing a meeting attended by more than 90 ministers from the two continents in preparation for a historic Asia-Africa summit scheduled for April 22-23.
Underlining the traditional links between Asians and Africans, she said "as countries of the South, we have to continue championing the cause of ensuring a more balanced and equitable global order where the development and advancement of the peoples of both our continents are prioritized."
"The New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership (NAASP) is aimed at improving the welfare of both Asians and Africans and is underpinned by principles that recognize the equality of all nations, and promote respect for sovereignty and the right to self- determination."
"The NAASP centers on Asian and African ownership based on a common vision, an equal partnership, mutual respect and benefit," she said.
"The Partnership focuses on three main areas of cooperation, namely, political solidarity, increased economic interaction and socio-cultural relations," she added.
"We have to act in solidarity in all areas using our combined strength to make our voices heard" at a time when the chasm between the rich and the poor is widening rather than narrowing, she pointed out.
South Africa, together with Indonesia, initiated the idea of reinvigorating what has become known as the "Spirit of Bandung" to encourage cooperation between the two continents in 2002. And the one-day ministerial meeting is finalizing draft documents that outline the Asian-African partnership for the forthcoming summit to adopt.