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)
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 6:14 PM
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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs