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

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora