President Hakainde Hichilema has called on African leaders to embrace a new paradigm anchored on trade, investments and partnerships to end poverty on the continent.
President Hichilema says Africa must be tired of talking about its potential because it needs to be actualized now.
In his maiden address to the African Union assembly at the 35th ordinary session currently underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, President Hichilema said Africa is endowed with vast resource to produce foods and other needs.
He, however, lamented the lack of value addition adding that increased value addition has the potential to lift Africans out of poverty and develop the continent.
The President further called for value addition of African raw materials before being exported.
President Hichilema, who is among the three newly elected African leaders making a maiden appearance at the AU Assembly, stated that challenges of instability, corruption and poverty need to be fought with vigor and change the narrative.
He said the current crop of African leaders has a new opportunity to be a generation of leaders that will thrive on economic success and change narrative once and for all.
The President said that instability anywhere is instability everywhere hence needs to be curtailed.
The President said the Assembly’s theme, “Building Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent: Strengthen Agriculture, Accelerate Human Capital, Social and Economic Development,” aligns with his administration’s key priorities of dev
development which is increasing contribution of agriculture to economic growth.
He also stated that African leaders should not expect to be respected by citizens if they cannot respect the rule of law.
Earlier, during the official opening of the assembly Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed called on the African Union -AU- to establish a continental media house that wilol diffuse negative publicity by Western media.
He lamented that the stereotype kind of reporting in Africa as being a hub of poverty, disease, wars and hunger by the western media is retrogressive and portrays a wrong image.
Mr. Ahmed said the AU continental media house should give as many voices as possible to share the various opportunities that Africa offers.
He also called for the continued push for Africa’s representation on the United Nations Security Council and other organs.
Mr. Ahmed said the huge population of young Africans is key in driving the continent’s prosperity.
And AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said Africa’s greater challenge remains realisation of the autonomy of its economy.
He, however, noted that expansion of acts of terrorism of the economy has been a challenge to economic and social development.
Mr. Mahamat also added that growing interest in Africa has not so much been in favour of Africa’s development.
He, however, challenged African leadership to mobilize resources to harness the continent’s potential by taking appropriate decisions that stakeholders expect them to take.
The AU Commission Chairperson further stated that the African Medicines Agency -AMA- is ready to play an active role in fighting disease outbreak and promote manufacturing of medicines and vaccines in Africa.
And UN Secretary General Antonio Guterez, who was virtually represented by his Deputy Amina Muhammed assured the AU of the UN’s support in its transformative agenda of Africa.
He noted the need to boost supply of Covid vaccines while appealing to developed countries to support production of vaccines in Africa.
Mr. Guterez also stated the need to fight climate change saying Africa only contributes about 3-percent of global emissions despite being the most affected.
And outgoing AU Chairperson Felix Tshisekedi handed over power to Senegalese President Macky Sall with a call on ensuring that all deliberations are concluded within two days.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sall thanked South African President Cyril Ramaposha with support of the AU Commission and African CDC in ensuring availability of Covid vaccines for the continent.
Mr. Sall further called for maintenance of dynamism in fighting diseases on the continent and establishment of an African pharmaceutical industry.
The new AU Chairperson however lamented that Africa lags behind in development despite vast potential, 1.3 billion population, 60 percent of arable land and vast mineral wealth.
He said the continent has the necessary potential to ensure the conditions change.