News / Africa

African Union Chair Speaks on the Organization's Progress and Future

African Union Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (AFP)
African Union Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (AFP)
TEXT SIZE - +
Mariama Diallo
— Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, recently spoke before audiences in Washington and New York on the future of the AU and on Africa’s opportunities and challenges. During her visit, she was recognized as a visionary and legend of Africa's economic and political "renaissance" by the GB Group Global – an organization that focuses on innovative and sustainable solutions in the energy, environment and health sectors.

A.U. Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zumai
X
October 04, 2013
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union recently delivered talks in Washington and New York on the future and progress of the African Union and Africa’s opportunities and challenges. Mariama Diallo reports.


Mrs. Zuma says with the African Union celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, she’s been able to step back and reflect on what the organization has achieved.  She's also been thinking about the AU's agenda for the next 50 years.

“Amongst the most important priorities I discussed was the need to invest in our people.  We are a very young, energetic, creative population, which is growing and it’s going to double by 2050 and triple by the turn of the century,” she noted.

Young people, she said,  are one of Africa's most precious possessions but also a big liability.

“We want to call a skills revolution - [so] most African boys and girls…can go into research, science and technology, innovation [but also] be able to say 'no' when people want to recruit them to become rebels,”  said the AU chairwoman.

In fact, conflict resolution is a top issue for the AU.  The ongoing crisis in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo is presenting great challenges for it and the international community.  Mrs Dlamini-Zuma says if anything goes wrong in the DRC, it is felt across the rest of the continent. Therefore, one of the ways of ending the conflict is by strengthening security forces – and allowing the government to exercise authority across the country.

In another case of unrest – in the Central African Republic - she said more effort should be made to include the public in day-to-day operations because “when people feel marginalized,  when they do not feel included in the political and economic life of the country – then they are likely to rebel.”

Mrs. Dlamini-Zuma spoke on other pressing issues, including agriculture.

She said there's a need to reverse the trend of importing food to exporting food, “we’ve got huge tracks of arable land that can still we use. And we also want to process the foods that we produce, so when we send exports, it’s not just raw [and unprocessed materials]." She insisted in managing Africa's abundant natural resources to create wealth.

On Kenya and the International Criminal Court, she said “we cannot say one size fits all in terms of Africa’s courts. If you look at Kenya, back in 2007, when this matter arose, the Kenyans didn’t feel their courts could deal with this matter because they were not reformed.  So, they sent the matter to the ICC.  But over the last five years, they have a new constitution and have reformed their judiciary, and they feel confident now that their judiciary can manage.”

On Egypt she said the AU position is that “it was an unconstitutional change of government, that is why Egypt is not participating in activities of the AU, but we are keen that Egypt comes back. We have set up a high level team led by the former president of Mali, President Konare, and former chair of the AU and by the former president of Botswana and current prime minister of Djibouti. When we take that stand, it’s not punitive. It’s to engage the country and work with them so they can go back to constitutionality.” 

On her outlook for democratic rule in Mali, she first congratulated the new president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and later said “it’s important for the Malians together to find a lasting solution for the problems they have been facing in the north and south and find a way both northerners and southerners feel equally Malian in whatever is going on. Mali also needs to be assisted in terms of development and infrastructure.”

She also commented on the upcoming vote to determine whether citizens of the enclave of Abyei remain a part of Sudan or join South Sudan. “It’s important as we go toward the referendum for both sides to be assured that whatever its outcome, it will not disadvantage the people who have been living in Abyei from the north or south,” she said.

She said that in addition to the governments, Africa’s people should drive the AU so-called 2063 agenda adding “we have been interacting with all Africans, trade unions, business, youth,  and we’ve launched a website where organizations and individuals can send their ideas – what Africa should like in 2063 and what steps we should take.”
 
On the question of a future candidacy for president of South Africa, she said she's been too busy in her current position to give it much thought. 

Mrs. Dlamini-Zuma said the African Union is doing its best in spite of criticisms that it’s not doing enough, and she believes an all-inclusive vision is indeed the best way to galvanize the continent.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid