‘Let’s break free from foreign aid’ . . .Africans must be masters of their destiny: President

26 May, 2024 - 00:05 0 Views
‘Let’s break free from foreign aid’  . . .Africans must be masters of their destiny: President

The Sunday Mail

Sunday Mail Reporter

AFRICA must harness the power of its rich heritage, innovation, science and technology to attain food self-sufficiency and break free from dependence on foreign aid, President Mnangagwa has said.

In his address to mark the 61st Africa Day commemorations, the President said the onus of developing the continent lies squarely on its people.

He urged Africa to embrace its own ingenuity and resilience, calling for a united front in tackling local challenges using home-grown solutions.

“Gone are the days where we approach the world with begging bowls for aid, with its attendant conditionalities,” he said.

“Africa’s collective experience in politics and economic development is testimony that it is none but ourselves who have the burden to move Africa forward.

“We must innovate and implement solutions that will see us becoming a nation and an African continent able to feed itself.

“Let us endeavour to produce all the products and goods we use.

“Equally, today’s contemporary challenges and opportunities must be met with boldness, determination and the same resolve that saw our forebears victoriously fight for our liberation and independence.”

Africa, he added, must draw strength from its indigenous knowledge systems to forge a future defined by scientific and technological prowess.

“Similarly, the negative impacts and challenges of climate change, energy deficits and infrastructure gaps should be adequately addressed by ourselves, the peoples of this great continent.

“The burden to build our respective countries and the ‘Africa we all want’ rests solemnly with us. Partners and investors are welcome to assist us, but we must define our course; we must chart our own destiny.”

Education, he said, must steer Africa towards the accelerated achievement of Agenda 2063.

The African Union Agenda 2063 is a long-term plan adopted by the African Union (AU) in 2013.

It is essentially a roadmap for development of the continent until the year 2063.

“Looking into the future, we applaud the adoption of the 2024 African Union theme, and I quote ‘Educate an African Fit for the Twenty-First Century: Building Resilient Education Systems for Increased Access to Inclusive, Lifelong Quality and Relevant Learning in Africa’.

“This timely call to action, therefore, presents an opportunity for us, the member states of the African Union, to combine efforts for the accelerated implementation of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Number 4.

“This is more critical as our continent is home to the youngest and most vibrant population in the world.”

Africa’s youth dividend, said the President, must be harnessed to realise sustainable development and industrialisation of the continent.

He added: “To achieve this, the deliberate deployment of science, technology and innovation to empower the youth and our communities has become urgent and important.

“It is in this respect that Zimbabwe, under the Second Republic, has transformed our education system anchored by the Heritage-Based Education 5.0 philosophy, which is driven by a robust innovation ecosystem.”

Education 5.0 is a framework for reforming Zimbabwe’s education system to build a knowledge-driven economy and foster innovation.

It expands on the traditional three pillars of teaching, research and community service by adding innovation and industrialisation as core missions for institutions of higher learning.

These institutions are now expected to not only educate students but also generate new knowledge and translate it into practical applications that benefit Zimbabwe’s industries and solve everyday challenges.

“As the African continent and a nation, we must never apologise for learning new ways and unlearning the old ways of doing things,” said the President.

“Our education must be relevant and speak to the needs of our societies and economies.

“It is through a science-, technology- and innovation-biased education that we will realise our national Vision 2030 and the Africa we all want.”

Africa, President Mnangagwa said, must stand guard against the machinations of neo-colonialists bent on reversing the gains of the continent’s liberation and advancement.

He thanked the AU member states for standing resolutely with Zimbabwe in the face of an onslaught by the West, led by the United States, through the imposition of illegal economic sanctions.

“In the spirit of African solidarity and unity, may I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the people of our great continent for standing resolute with Zimbabwe in calling for the complete and unconditional lifting of the illegal, unjustified and unwarranted sanctions imposed on us by some Western countries.

“I wish to reiterate that Zimbabwe is a friend to all and an enemy to none and shall always seek mutual and cordial relations with all countries in the comity of nations.

“We, however, remain aware of the ever-looming threat of neo-colonialist tendencies bent on reversing the socio-economic and political gains made by our country, Zimbabwe, and the continent at large.”

This year’s Africa Day commemorations, he said, should see the continent recommitting to “Silencing the Guns in Africa” under the Agenda 2063 flagship initiative.

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