By Shu’eib Hassen
CAPE TOWN (AA) - South African President Jacob Zuma’s reaffirmed his commitment to the African Union’s 2063 Agenda at an Africa Day gala in Cape Town late Wednesday.
“The African Union socioeconomic blueprint 2063 agenda perfectly captures the vision of where we want to take Africa,” said Zuma. “There is synergy between Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals that we adopted as member states of the United Nations in September last year.”
He made the remarks at a banquet to celebrate Africa Day, with 20 African delegates representing 13 African countries, as well as South African government ministers, in attendance.
The dinner marked the founding of the Organization of African Unity in 1963 and the African Union in 2002, and was used a reflective milestone for South Africa’s relations with the rest of the continent.
The African Union’s 2063 Agenda is a “vision and action plan. It is a call for action to all segments of African society to work together to build a prosperous and united Africa based on shared values and a common destiny … [towards] the continent’s accelerated development and technological progress,” according to the Union’s website.
The South African Presidency’s press statement on Africa Day said: “South Africa contributes to peacekeeping and post-war reconstruction and development efforts in the continent. South Africa also plays a key role in the economic development of the continent through growing private sector investment in many countries within the continent.”
Abdullahi Ali Hassan, Somali embassy’s liaison officer, told Anadolu Agency: “South Africa gained its democracy in 1994 and has since made strides in developing relations with my country.”
As Africa emerges from its history of colonialism and slavery, the continent’s Pan-Africanism will be symbolized by negotiations for intra-continental free trade for next year, announced Zuma.
“The 500-year adoption plan of the 2063 agenda places us as the best continent to be on,” Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa’s arts and culture minister, told the agency. “Out of the world’s 10 fastest- growing economies, seven of them are found on our continent.”
Africa’s ocean economy is key to development, Zuma said, declaring, “South Africa has already unlocked 17 billion worth of investments in ports and other aspects of the ocean’s economy.”
Africa Day was not all celebration, as South Africa’s Parliament was ignited in dispute.
Deputy Energy Minister Thembisile Majola, who headed the debate, charged that there are political parties in South Africa that are trying to derail democracy and break its momentum in the continent.
But Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said that despite the continent’s many challenges, “Today children across Africa took a moment to sing the African Union national anthem.”