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“AU needs to lead Africans to a better life” – Dlamini-Zuma

The African Union must take the lead in creating a better life for all Africans, says AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

“The African Union needs to lead the way in creating a better life for all Africans, a life free from hunger and war, from squalor and disease, and free from ignorance. Our people expect us to honour our pledge to silence the guns by 2020,” Dlamini Zuma said on Friday.

She was speaking at the opening session of the 4th Ministerial Retreat of the AU executive council underway in Nairobi, Kenya.

During the retreat, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs will brainstorm and exchange views on the implementation of Agenda 2063.

“Agenda 2063 recognises that our people are our most important resources, and that women and young people must be empowered and engaged to drive our transformation,” said Dlamini Zuma.

Other Agenda 2063 priorities include infrastructure development to power and connect African countries, cities and rural areas through roads, aviation, rail (including high speed rail), ICT and power lines. Beneficiation and value addition to raw materials, agriculture and agro-processing are also strongly emphasised in Agenda 2063 as means for Africa to galvanise its position in the world.

Dlamini Zuma said it should not be that Africa has a wealth of mineral resources, yet it cannot meet its own needs.

“It is a paradox of an Africa of lakes, fertile land, forests, wildlife, livestock and oceans, and yet we have children stunted by malnutrition, while we continue to import 83% of the processed food that we consume,” she said.

Africa has over 23 oil producing countries, while countless others have natural gas, precious minerals and metals. Yet, Dlamini Zuma said, 33 of the world’s 48 least developed countries are in Africa.

“It is this paradox that Agenda 2063, our 50-year vision of the Africa we want, seeks to address and resolve,” Dlamini Zuma said, adding that they are advocating for an African skills revolution.

The AU is also advocating for reorienting Africa’s education systems towards sciences, mathematics, technology and engineering to enable young men and women to drive transformation and innovation.