Talent Hwari and Tanaka Vunganai
African countries have made significant strides in self-financing their programmes in line with President Mugabe’s counsel during his tenure as chairman of the African Union in 2015, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has said.
In his address ahead of Thursday’s Africa Day celebrations, Minister Mumbengegwi said the continental body had established a foundation to mobilise resources aimed at financing its programmes.
He said President Mugabe’s donation of 300 head of cattle to the AU was part of ensuring that the continental body became self sustainable, financially.
Minister Mumbengegwi said the state of affairs where international cooperating partners took the responsibility of funding 70 percent of the continental body’s programmes was unsustainable.
“In this regard, the AU has established the African Union Foundation, which is a fund designed to mobilise resources in order to be able to finance projects of relevance to the African continent,” he said.
“Its first fundraising activity was held in Johannesburg in 2015 during the chairmanship of His Excellency President Robert Mugabe where he was the guest of honour and it was during that fundraising gala that President Mugabe pledged 300 cattle towards the financing of the foundation.
“I believe this was the first innovative offer to the foundation in order to kick start it so that it can lead to a situation where the African continent can finance its own foundation.
“These cattle have been mobilised throughout in our country and our people came up to the President and said you have given us land, you have given us freedom, many of us have got cattle and we are going to assist to meet the pledge, of course this was not to say His Excellency could not have done so on his own, but this was an appreciation by our people that we have been beneficiaries of very important programmes, hence this offer.”
Minister Mumbengegwi said unless the AU became self-sustainable financially, the body would remain subservient to its foreign funders.
He said the international cooperating partners would deliberately choose to fund programmes that advanced their interest at the expense of African needs.
“So, in 2015 the AU took a major step to create the financing of our own organisation by coming up with a five year programme during which the AU is going to fund 100 percent of its operations, at least 75 percent of its programmes, and at least 25 percent of its peacekeeping programmes,” said Minister Mumbengegwi
He urged youths to be actively involved in issues affecting the African citizenry, saying they were the future leaders.