KATIMA MULILO – In light of the celebration of the AU golden jubilee, the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which transformed itself into the African Union (AU), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has organised a series of public lectures aimed at sensitising the public regarding the ‘African Agenda 2063’. One such lecture took place in Katima Mulilo last week which was well attended by local residents..
In May this year President Hifikepunye Pohamba launched Namibia’s programme of celebrations to mark the ideals of an organisation founded in 1963 with the aim of liberating Africa from the yoke of colonialism. With all African countries having attained political freedom except for the continued occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco, the course of action has since changed with the new focus on economic freedom, hence the ‘African Agenda 2063’.
Speaking at the lecture, the Deputy Minister of Education, Sylvia Makgone, said Namibia is cognisant of the African union’s contribution towards the liberation struggle and therefore celebrations have been planned to run until next year. “In recognition of the AU’s contribution to Namibia’s liberation struggle, our country has organised celebrations from May 2013 to May 2014 to mark this golden jubilee. The government of Namibia is organising ministerial lectures in seven regions of our country, namely //Karas, Otjozondjupa, Erongo, Oshikoto, Omusati, Kavango East and the Zambezi Region. We have done this to provide an opportunity to our citizens to get to know more about the African Agenda 2063,” said Makgone.
According to Makgone, consultations are an absolute necessity to know the aspirations of citizens. “In developing the Agenda 2063, it is important that consultations take place as widely as possible so that government captures the views and aspirations of the citizenry from across Namibia,” said the deputy education minister.
According to Makgone, Africa which is home to over 1 billion people continues to be at the receiving end of development despite being endowed with infinite natural resources. “We know that Africa is endowed with huge natural resources such as minerals, oil and other resources which are being exported in raw form and thus generating little benefit to the continent,” lamented Makgone.
This was echoed by the Zambian High Commissioner to Namibia, Wendy Sinkala, who said that inter-regional cooperation and harmonised policies are imperative to ensure value addition to natural resources. “Good governance needs to be complemented by inter-regional cooperation and harmonised policies, particularly our tax regimes, in handling our natural resources especially the minerals which are not a renewable resource. Once it is extracted it cannot be replaced. We need to ensure we do value addition to our natural resources here on the continent,” stressed Sinkala.
Sinkala reminded those in attendance that Agenda 2063 requires every African to work towards building a prosperous Africa by 2063. “Agenda 2063 is both a vision and an action plan. It is a call for action on all segments of African society to work together to build a prosperous and united Africa based on shared values and a common destiny,” said Sinkala.
Zimbabwean Ambassador to Namibia, Chipo Zindoga, said education should be the foundation for an industrialised Africa by 2063. She said many African countries today fail to educate their people, resulting in the current state of affairs of exportation and exploitation of raw resources by others. “Our dream is to have an industrialised Africa by 2063. As Africa we are failing to educate our people. Education is a tool of empowerment and self- emancipation. The continent cannot realise its dream of industrialisation without an educated populace. All the god-given natural resources that the continent is endowed with, will continue to be exploited by everyone else except us,” said Zindoga.
According to Zindoga with education African countries stand to benefit from infrastructural development that is lagging behind and therefore creating impediments to the social welfare of its people. “Look at my sister here, the Ambassador of Congo Brazzaville, for her to go to Congo she has to go through France. There are no direct flights. Through inclusive education, there will be a creation of roads, railway networks, airports, etc., by an educated African populace. It will be easier for our people to interact and conduct business transactions with each other. It will promote the spirit of Africanism (ubuntu),” said Zindoga. The Ambassador of Congo Brazzaville to Namibia, Maria Theresa Avemeka, was also in attendance.
The Zimbabwean ambassador further condemned xenophobia saying integration is imperative and that African unity is what would propel the continent to greater heights. “Xenophobia is rampant in the region, let alone the continent. We should not be saying what is this Zimbabwean doing in Namibia but when it comes to Europeans we are not saying anything. Africa cannot move ahead because we are discriminating against each other. I am very happy when I see a Zimbabwean working in an African country than when they migrate elsewhere outside the continent. It shows their patriotism,” said Zindoga.
Captions (Pic: Women Power.jpg):
From left, the Ambassador of Congo Brazzaville to Namibia, Maria Theresa Avemeka, Zimbabwean Ambassador to Namibia Chipo Zindoga, Zambian High Commissioner to Namibia, Wendy Sinkala, Deputy Minister of Education Sylvia Makogne and chairperson of the Zambezi Regional Council, Raphael Mbala.
By George Sanzila