‘Africa can reclaim status’
From Victoria Ruzvidzo in ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
outgoing African Union Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has said the economic and political challenges that characterise the world today present Africa with an opportunity to reclaim its place on the globe.
Addressing the 30th Ordinary Session of the African Union Executive Council, Dr Dlamini-Zuma said it was critical that the continent moved with haste to create a free trade area in line with provisions of Agenda 2063.
“The world feels more insecure, as violent extremism of all kinds, acts of terrorism, and international crime impact on all our security, with no country that is exempt. This is coupled with large movements of people across the world, as conflicts, economic insecurity and climate change take their toll.
“These times, though full of challenges, also present vast possibilities for Africa to claim her place in the world. More specifically the technological breakthroughs in ICT, biotechnology, renewable energy, transport, and other areas that can be used to leapfrog our way towards development and shared prosperity,” she said
Africa could not continue with business as usual when the reality of the globalisation’s game of winners and losers were becoming evident.
The wealth of the richest 1 percent now equalled that of the remaining 99 percent in the world. A situation she described as untenable.
It was only through the continent’s determination to stay the course and take charge of its destiny, unity and commitment to Pan Africanism that would “allow us to build the Africa we want, as we navigate through the various global tempests”.
To steer Africa towards 2063 it was critical that the potential, energy, creativity and talents of the continent’s youths be unlocked through a skills revolution and the creation of jobs and economic opportunities.
Industrialisation and agriculture modernisation would also ensure the youths would become drivers of Agenda 2063, a strategic framework for Africa’s socio-economic transformation over the next 50 years.
The free movement of people on the continent would also create a platform for development and economic integration.
Furthermore, it was critical that all Africans in coastal, island and landlocked countries participate in the new frontier of the blue oceans economy.
Dr Dlamini-Zuma also stressed that a sustained gender equality drive and use of all talents through empowering women and girls would yield results.
On the political front, the 50 elections held on the continent over the last four years and developments noted in cities and rural areas showed that Africa was changing.
Democracy and good governance were the cornerstone for development.
This year the African Union commemorates its 15th anniversary while the Pan African Women’s Organisation marks the 55th anniversary of its founding.
“It’s my hope that we will stay the course and continue to build on this work.
“We must also make the improvements and changes required for our institutions to be fit for purpose to celebrate the implementation of Agenda 2063,” said Dr Dlamini-Zuma.