MESSAGE BY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ON AFRICA DAY – 2015
My fellow Batswana, Today (May 25) Botswana proudly joins the rest of the continental of Africa in celebrating Africa Day. This day marks the 52nd Anniversary of our continental organization, the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU).
It is most appropriate that on this day we pay a special tribute to our founding leaders, who on 25th May, 1963, embraced the concept of Pan Africanism to forge African unity and to pursue an integrated African agenda.
It is highly commendable that our leaders, individually and collectively, driven by this vision, committed to among others, promoting solidarity and development, defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of African Member States, promoting cooperation among African states and bringing an end to colonialism and apartheid. They inspired an ambition that we continue to strive for today of a g and prosperous continent enabling a better life for the people of Africa.
The OAU Charter together with the African Union Constitutive Act therefore embodies these collective aspirations. Today, the African Union is made up of 54 member states committed to working together for the betterment of the people of the continent. There is indeed g determination to address the myriad of challenges facing the continent such as peace and security, socio-economic development, poverty and climate change. As the African Union, we seek to chart a path towards our ideal namely “an integrated and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”.
Africa Day is indeed a time for introspection and for drawing valuable lessons from our achievements and challenges, to enable us to chart a better way forward.
We will forever be grateful for the determination and sacrifices of our leaders and many other African heroes, who fought for the decolonization and liberation of African countries. Most of the African people today enjoy fundamental freedoms and liberties.
Much as there have been successes along the way registered within the continent, there should be disquiet with the many drawbacks that have been experienced such as conflicts, high rates of poverty, and lack of development in some countries to mention a few. There is no doubt that internal problems related to bad governance together with the aerse external environment have contributed to the state of affairs on the continent today.
However, as we move forward, we need to rededicate our efforts to ensuring lasting peace and stability, accelerating economic growth and deepening governance reforms with a view to Africa’s socio-economic transformation.
Fortunately, when the African Union celebrated its 50th Anniversary in May 2013, African Leaders unanimously agreed to chart a new dynamic and promising vision for African transformation. This was the Agenda 2063 vision.
During these celebrations, the African Union Heads of State and Government adopted the 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration in which they acknowledged successes and challenges while also rededicating themselves to further liberation and development of the continent. In particular, they pledged to aance the following key aspirations:
African identity and renaissance
Struggle against colonialism and the right to self-determination
The Integration Agenda: Implementation of the continental Free Trade
Agenda for Social and Economic Development
Peace and Security Agenda
Africa’s Place in the World
Concretely, the Heads of State and Government agreed to a 50 year continental vision in the form of Agenda 2063, for the realization of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”
This is a Strategic Framework for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development, for Africa’s transformation over the next 50 years. It seeks to harness the continent’s comparative aantages such as its people, history and cultures, natural resources and position in the world, in order to fulfill the African dream. The Framework aims at engendering amongst others
Equitable and people centred growth and development
Poverty eradication, Development of human capital
Promotion of lasting peace and security
Empowerment of women and youth
Strengthening and developing democratic states as well as participatory and accountable government institutions
The aspirations for the Africa we want from the Africans themselves is for:
A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development
An integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance
An Africa of Good Governance, Democracy, Respect for human rights, Justice and the Rule of law
A Peaceful and Secure Africa
An Africa with a g cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics and
An Africa where development is people-driven, relying on the potential of the African people, especially its women and youth, and well cared for children.
Botswana is together with the rest of Africa on Agenda 2063, which is in line with Botswana’s development aspirations of poverty eradication, development of human capital, women and youth empowerment etc, through among others, regional integration and cooperation. We fully embrace this continental vision and bring it for all Botswana to take on board.
The Agenda is also aligned to Botswana’s recognition of the nexus between peace, security, human rights and the rule of law on the one hand, and development and prosperity on the other.
As Botswana, we are currently reflecting on the end and renewal of our National Vision – Vision 2016. It is in this context that I call on all Batswana to see the continental vision, as the larger mirror of our own dreams contained in Vision 2016. In this sense our ideal and future is intricately connected to that of the rest of Africa.
There is, a need for concerted effort to ensure that we achieve alignment in Botswana’s national development planning processes with those of the African Union, in particular First Ten Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063.
The message that is critical, in this connection, is that stakeholders in Botswana should work towards domestication of Agenda 2063. My Ministry is committed to popularizing the Agenda 2063 vision to all Batswana for them to embrace it and live it along with the rest of Africa. In so doing all of Africa will in 2063 realize our vision of the Africa we want as envisioned in Agenda 2063.
Heads of States of the African Union unanimously, adopted the theme: “Year of Women Empowerment and Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2063” for 2015 during the Summit of held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in June last year.
The fact that the African Union dedicated the Year 2015 to celebrating “women” is reason enough to also celebrate the theme today during Africa Day.
In an effort to uphold the aspirations of the continent’s Agenda 2063, Africa continues to prioritize gender mainstreaming. This is aimed at ensuring equality between women and men through inclusive policies and equal access to existing opportunities for both men and women. Botswana has also embraced this ideal.
We do so, fully cognizant of the fact that women still face some challenges in some areas, mainly due to cultural practices and perceptions which continue to perpetuate gender imbalances.
This year’s theme offers the continent an opportunity to reflect on the achievements made through the various commitments made by the African Union, Member States and other non state actors on the empowerment of women in the past years, the challenges encountered, the prospects for the future in the continent for enhanced efforts, as well as to renew the resolve on promoting women empowerment and development as the continent charts its vision towards 2063.
Issues pertinent to address on women’s empowerment include:
Women and girls should have more access, control and ownership of resources, including land, information, technology, safe water, energy and finance.
Public and private investment should be enhanced in agriculture to achieve food security and nutrition which are major concerns for women and children.
Universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights remains critical.
Decent work and living wage for women should be enhanced, in both informal and formal sectors as well as recognize, redistribute and remunerate unpaid care work.
Economic empowerment of women should be enhanced particularly for rural women to combat poverty and inequalities for sustainable economic growth.
Ensuring adequate financing for gender equality and women’s empowerment especially for programmes and strengthening institutional mechanisms.
We are confident that, as a country, we will be able to contribute to efforts geared at securing a woman’s place in today’s world, at all levels.
In conclusion, I want to reiterate the commitment of the Botswana Government to the realization of the African Union continental vision, and in particular to the successful implementation of this year’s theme of women empowerment.
Source : MOFAIC
Source : Botswana Daily News