Diplomats hail African unity

Gibson Nyikadzino Herald Correspondent

AFRICAN diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe yesterday paid tribute to Africa’s progress, independence, aspirations and diversity on the eve of today’s commemorations of the 61st anniversary of the founding of the then Organisation of African Unity, now evolved into the African Union, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 25, 1963.

This year’s Africa Day commemorations are being held under the theme: “Educate an African fit for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa.”

According to the African Union’s Agenda 2063, one of the goals for the African continent is to attain “well educated citizens and skills revolution underpinned by science, technology and innovation, prioritising education and STI skills driven revolution”.

In his statement, the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea to Zimbabwe, Mr Jose Ela Ebang, noted that Africa Day was a symbol of unity of all African countries.

The continent’s Agenda 2063 did not only project Africa’s aspirations, but its essentiality in propping up economic growth and development.

“Africa Day is a symbol of unity of all African countries, a continent of 55 countries with more than 1 billion inhabitants, a continent full of multiculturalism.

“Agenda 2063 includes not only Africa’s future aspirations, but also highlights essential programmes that might improve Africa’s economic growth and development, resulting in the continent’s rapid transformation,” said Ambassador Ebang.

He said many projects being undertaken by Africa in the education context like the establishment of an African Virtual and E-University, intended to leverage ICT-based programmes to expand access to university and continuing education in Africa.

Angola’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Agostinho Tavares said because “knowledge is power, education is the key to unlock that power”.

Through the One World in Schools (OWIS) initiative, Amb Tavares said his country was now looking at redesigning the co-operation strategy among African countries to explore more potential in the education sector.

There was an urgent need to address security issues which were hindering the free movement of goods and services through the implementation of the AfCFTA.

Said Amb Tavares: “Africa today still faces stability and security problems in different countries that make it unfeasible to open borders that could allow for a greater flow of commercial exchange and the free movement of people and goods.

“Regrettably, Africa is today witnessing in the 21st century seizures of power through military coups which must be condemned by all countries that love peace and democracy.”

In recognising Africa’s cultural importance, Australia’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Minoli Perera celebrated the day saying it was to meant “honour Africa’s rich cultural heritage”.

Russian President Mr Vladimir Putin was one of the significant global leaders to congratulate Africa on its victory over colonialism.

He said: “Africa Day is a holiday symbolising the victory of African countries over colonialism and their striving for freedom, peace and prosperity”.

His Foreign Minister Mr Sergey Lavrov said: “Africa continues to gain political weight and establish itself as a pillar of the emerging multipolar order. “Dynamic integration processes and rapidly growing markets are making it possible for Africa to play an increasingly meaningful role on the global stage.”

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