Outgoing African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has called for African solidarity while opening the AU’s 32nd Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) in the Rwandan capital Kigali on Sunday.
“He who pays the piper calls the tune,” Dlamini-Zuma told delegates, including AU member state delegations, the media, and civil society representatives, at the Kigali Convention Centre where the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU’s eight-day summit is being hosted and which kicked off on Sunday.
The trailblazing South African politician was referring to the African continent’s disproportionate dependence on international aid and how this dependence impacted African policy.
“There is a very real need for solidarity among Africans. Self-reliance and independence are very important and must be a priority,” she said.
After complimenting Rwanda on its work on gender equality and working for the rights of women, one of the chief themes of the summit, Dlamini-Zuma said Africans needed to build an integrated and prosperous future together as the continent worked towards “Agenda 2063”.
The AU’s Agenda 2063 is an approach on how the continent should effectively learn from the lessons of the past, build on the progress now underway, and strategically exploit all available opportunities in the immediate and medium-term to ensure positive socio-economic transformation on the continent within the next 50 years.
“There has been a slow movement towards progress, as often the national interests of individual African countries has taken precedence to the detriment of the continent’s interests,” said Dlamini-Zuma as she outlined some of the problems facing the AU.
Although AU states had contributed towards peacekeeping operations and health issues, there had been other problems with some African countries trying to isolate member states affected by contagious diseases.
The AUC chairperson said unnecessary competition between member countries and differences in opinion and approach by various AU organs had negatively impacted progress.
“Some members of the PRC don’t always see eye to eye with the AU but this is something that can be addressed while the African capitals can also focus on their commitments towards the AU. The AU must be Pan African in outlook and focus.”
Another issue facing Africa’s economic development was the necessity for Africa to establish its own continental market. “The world’s mega trading blocks exclude Africa so Africa must unite to forms its own markets,” she said.
Dlamini-Zuma said free trade and movement between African countries would benefit the continent, as would providing opportunities for young Africans to obtain degrees and pursue their careers. Opening up opportunities for African girls and women and pursuing gender equality were also vital for the continent.
“Furthermore, the AU must also engage other continental organisations, as this will strengthen governance, human rights, and democracy,” she said.
– African News Agency (ANA)