The Sunday Mail
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged the world to align its perspective of Africa to indisputable facts, truths and realities as those serialised in the African Factbook.
Speaking after launching the first edition of the publication at State House on Wednesday, President Mnangagwa said the book will help deepen pride and appreciation of the continent’s history and heritage.
“Through this ground-breaking inaugural work, we look forward to re-igniting the African spirit of ubuntu, which says, ‘I am because we are’.
“But most importantly, we hope that this documentation of our rich collective pedigree and heritage will motivate Africa and strengthen our resolve to build the Africa we want,” he said.
The Africa Factbook is the first ever publication containing factual research by intellectuals dispelling myths and telling the story from the continent’s perspective.
Members of the diplomatic corps attended the launch, which ran under the theme “Busting the myths”.
South Africa’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mphakama Mbete, represented African Union chair and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the launch.
The compilation by the Institute of African Knowledge (IAK) was mooted in 2016 when the African Union Commission, which was then chaired by Dr Nkosazana Zuma, recommended that Zimbabwe leads the way in coming up with such a book.
It documents, among other issues, inventions and discoveries that have been made in Africa.
Zimbabwe co-ordinated and supported the production of the first edition, which President Mnangagwa said is the country’s gift to Africa and the world.
The project, he added, also supports Africa’s Agenda 2063, specifically Aspiration Five, which seeks to enhance the strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics of Africa.
“It will contribute towards the cultural, educational, mental and economic emancipation of the African people.
“Some purport that the people of Africa have no history and that our colossal monuments were not built by us the indigenous local people, while other myths assert that Africans are not innovators, discoverers or inventors.
“All these have been undeniably deconstructed by scientific facts, impeccable sources and astute scholarship,” he said.
Africa has endured more than 500 years of misinformation, with its history being told mainly by foreigners.
Stories that have mainly been told are of a continent in crisis, riven by war, poverty and struggle.
Challenging African intellectuals to contribute to the development of the continent, President Mnangagwa said the African Factbook illustrates that Africans are a peace-loving people who have given more to the world than taken from it.
“Furthermore, let us draw from our African heritage and knowledge to develop new technologies, innovations and systems that will improve our agriculture practices, accelerate the industrialisation and modernisation of our economies and ultimately lead to a better quality of life for our people.”