‘Africa must define own destiny’ President Mnangagwa

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter

AFRICA must strive to be innovative and produce all the goods it requires, including being able to feed itself as no one other than Africans has the obligation and responsibility to take the continent forward, President Mnangagwa has said.

In his message to mark the 61st Africa Day commemorations being held today, President Mnangagwa said the youth dividend should be harnessed to realise sustainable development, modernisation and industrialisation of the continent.

“Gone are the days where we approach the world with begging bowls for aid, with its attendant conditionalities. Africa’s collective experience in politics and economic development is testimony that it is none but ourselves who have the burden to move Africa forward,” said President Mnangagwa.

“We must innovate and implement solutions that will see us becoming a nation and an African Continent able to feed itself. Let us endeavour to produce all the products and goods we use. Equally, today’s contemporary challenges and opportunities must be met with boldness, determination and the same resolve that saw our forebears victoriously fight for our liberation and independence.

“Similarly, the negative impacts and challenges of climate change, energy deficits, and infrastructure gaps should be adequately addressed by ourselves, the peoples of this great continent. The burden to build our respective countries and the “Africa we all want”, rests solemnly with us. Partners and investors are welcome to assist us but we must define our course, we must chart our own destiny.”

Africa, said President Mnangagwa, has come of age and should celebrate numerous positive achievements that have been realised to date.

“The emerging continental and regional architecture under Agenda 2063 such as the Africa Free Trade Area, the Peace and Security Council, together with our African Financial Institutions, and trade bodies, among many others, are reflective of what can be achieved when we work with unity of purpose. These have also set a solid foundation for a peaceful and prosperous future,” he said.

President Mnangagwa paid tribute to Pan-African nationalists for their contribution to the continent.

“We pay tribute to living and departed heroes and heroines, some whose remains still lie in shallow graves across the African continent. The contribution of the many revolutionary African icons, remains indelible. These include Kwame Nkrumah, EduardoMondlane, Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Seretse Khama, Leopold Senghor, Ben Bella, Abdel Nasser, Patrice Lumumba, Dedan Kimathi, Nelson Mandela, Herbert Chitepo, Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe, among others. Their vision and sacrifice liberated Africa and created a solid ground upon which, today, we deepen our unity and build, development, modernise and industrialise our countries, for a higher quality of life for our people,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe remained grateful for the military, financial, material and humanitarian assistance as well as the political and diplomatic support Harare got from across the continent and beyond during its liberation struggle.

Education, he said, must steer Africa towards the achievement of Agenda 2063 and combine efforts for the accelerated implementation of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa as well as the United Nations Sustainable Goals.

“This is more critical as our continent is home to the youngest and most vibrant population in the world. The youth dividend should be harnessed to realise sustainable development, modernisation and industrialisation of the continent. To achieve this, the deliberate deployment of science, technology and innovation to empower the youth and our communities has become urgent and important,” the President said.

“It is in this respect that Zimbabwe, under the Second Republic, has transformed our education system anchored by the Heritage based Education 5.0 philosophy which is driven by a robust innovation ecosystem. As the African continent and a nation, we must never apologise for learning new ways and unlearning the old ways of doing things. Our education must be relevant and speak to the needs of our societies and economies. It is through a science, technology and innovation-biased education that we will realise our National Vision 2030 and the Africa we all want”.

President Mnangagwa said the history of struggles for independence across Africa needs to be fully recorded and preserved for posterity as a permanent reminder of the difficult journey that the continent has travelled.

“In this regard, Zimbabwe is proud to host the Museum of African Liberation, located in Harare. The Museum will serve to capture, document and memorialise the seamlessness of the African struggle for independence. We all have a duty to take ownership of our rich liberation history and the narrative of our past through the correct and Afro-centric lenses. I once again extend an invitation to all African countries and those who assisted in the liberation of Africa, to support and participate in this noble project on the Museum of African liberation,” he said.

President Mnangagwa commended the spirit of African solidarity and unity, which saw the continent throwing its weight behind Zimbabwe in calling for the removal of illegal sanctions imposed on Harare by Western capitals.

“I wish to reiterate that Zimbabwe is a ‘Friend to all and an Enemy to None’ and shall always seek mutual and cordial relations with all countries in the comity of nations. We, however, remain aware of the ever-looming threat of neo-colonialist tendencies bent on reversing the socio-economic and political gains made by our country, Zimbabwe, and the continent at large,” he said.

“As we work steadfastly for the attainment of the continent’s developmental goals set in our Agenda 2063, I call upon Africa to be guided by the philosophy that ‘Africa is built, governed and prayed for by its people’.”

Africa Day is an annual commemoration held on 25 May meant to mark the foundation of the Organisation of the African Unity (now African Union) in 1963 aimed at promoting the unity and solidarity of African states, intensifying co-operation to achieve a better life for African people.

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