THE African Union must begin to look at ways of financing itself and make sure the role of youths in development of the continent is not undermined, Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has said.
He was speaking to journalists in Harare Friday on the occasion of the 54th Anniversary of the African Union (AU) which will be celebrated next week.
Mumbengegwi said this year’s themeis “Investing in youths” because unlike other continents where majority are getting older in Africa the overwhelming majority are young people, mostly under the age of 35.
“We are very much aware of the great potential of the youths and this therefore, means it is the future which is piloted by these young people that we need to focus upon.
“We need to concentrate upon our young people and make sure they are properly and appropriately prepared to play the roles which they are expected to play in order to make sure the country is fully integrated, prosperous and that poverty in the mid of mass resources is done away with forever,” he said.
He said the main focus of AU is now on economic independence to stop the dependency on former colonial masters in terms of economic development and direction.
“This principle received a major boost during President Robert Mugabe’s Chairmanship of the AU that is when the Agenda 2063 which is a 50-year programme was adopted under his encouragement and under his chairmanship.
“It was also during 2015 that the AU adopted its first 10-year development plan under President Mugabe. He (Mugabe), for a long time, used to be a very lonely voice in calling for and demanding that Africa must finance its programmes because dependency on the international donor community was not sustainable,” the minister claimed.
The minister also said the African Union should take concrete steps to finance itself as that is the only way to success.
He said, “Unless the continent takes concrete steps to finance itself, then it would be fooling itself to say the organisation belongs to Africans. No one will fund a project that they do not agree with, therefore as long as our international partners provide the finances it means that our projects at heart will not be undertaken which will be contrary to what AU is interested in.
Mumbengegwi also bemoaned Zimbabwe and the continent’s failure to exploit its resources.Advertisement
May 25 of every year is a historic and important day for Zimbabwe and Africa at large where unity and solidarity of the founding fathers who gave it all for freedom and independence of Africa is celebrated.
The Union was formed in 1963.