PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday signed copies of The Africa Factbook and accompanying letters, which will be distributed to the heads of state and government of the other 54 African Union countries.
The Africa Factbook is Africa’s first ever publication tells the African story from an Afrocentric perspective. It is the continent’s first ever coordinated response to more than 500 years of misinformation and often disinformation against Africa by outsiders and more recently by the global media empires.
President Mnangagwa was accompanied to the signing ceremony at State House by the Deputy Chief Secretary responsible for Communication in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Mr George Charamba.
The factbook is meant to become a regional educational tool that enhances knowledge and the pride of African people.
The book also captures the liberation struggle story, its trials, tribulations and triumphs.
It was put up together in line with the African Union’s Pan African Vision Agenda 2063 and Aspiration Five which seeks to enhance the strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics of Africa.
The Africa Factbook was conceived after the African Union Commission, which was then chaired by Dr Nkosazana Zuma, recommended that Zimbabwe leads the way in coming up with such a book after she had been impressed by the country’s celebrated African Book of Records.
The AU, after sending a delegation to assess the capacity of Zimbabwe to produce the book, declared and adopted the Africa Factbook as a reference educational tool for African nations.
Speaking at the signing ceremony of the Africa Factbook to heads of state and government of African Union countries, President Mnangagwa said the Africa Factbook was conceived as a project to support Africa’s Agenda 2063 and specifically Aspiration Five which seeks to enhance the strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics of Africa.
“Today I have signed copies of the Africa Factbook which Zimbabwe had the honour and privilege to host at conceptual stage. As you may recall, we launched this ground-breaking book on September 9, last year jointly with my brother and outgoing chair of the African Union President Cyril Ramaphosa,” said President Mnangagwa.
He further said the first edition has been produced under the theme “Busting the Myths”.
“The myth that black people of Africa have no history. The myth that the Great Zimbabwe walls were not built by us indigenous local people. The myth that Africans have never invented or discovered anything. All these and other myths are solidly busted by scientific facts, implacable sources and astute scholarship,” he said.
The African Union theme for 2021 is “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”.
“I therefore dispatch this book and the accompanying comradely letters to my fellow Heads of State and Government within the African Union as Zimbabwe’s contribution to this Pan-African theme that seeks to revive our spirit and pride in our great history and bright future,” he said.
The African Fact Book also demonstrates how Africans have always been peace-loving people who always sought human progress and neighbourly co-existence.
For more than 500 years, Africans have relied on outsiders, usually their former colonisers, to tell them their own stories.
The effect has been what historians and educators call a debilitating distortion of African history.
With this in mind, the Institute of African Knowledge (Instak), with the African Union, set about compiling the first edition of The Africa Fact Book, which was appropriately themed “Busting the Myths”.
The African Fact Book shows some of the origins of the world’s inventions and discoveries that came from Africa.
The book shows that the pyramids were built by the continent’s forefathers while the Dogons of Mali, experts of astronomy, space and stars, existed hundreds of years before Nicolaus Copernicus.
The book was compiled by the Institute of African Knowledge with the support of the Office of the President and Cabinet, the Research Council of Zimbabwe, six ministries, the private sector and regional and international organisations.
Instak chief executive officer Ambassador Kwame Muzawazi said the distribution of the book will start in a few weeks.