President calls for shared African values
AFRICA’s shared values and common challenges should not only bring the continent closer, but also help nurture the capacity to build a stable and conflict-free Africa that is needed to promote sustainable development, President Mnangagwa has said.
In a speech focusing on sustainable peace and security read on his behalf here at the eight Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8) by Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU), Mr Taonga Mushayavanhu, the President said cooperation with the government of Japan would help complement efforts by AU member states to achieve durable peace and stability.
“Our shared values and common challenges should not only bond us as Africans, but nurture the capacity we need towards a stable and conflict-free Africa. This is the prerequisite for the achievement of the goals set out in Agenda 2063,” said President Mnangagwa.
“While it is our singular responsibility, as members of the AU, to be the custodian of the political will and institutional capacity to birth concrete actions towards durable peace and stability, partnering with Japan will enhance our efforts.”
The continent, he said, is currently affected by many complex peace and security challenges, which include resurgence of unconstitutional change of governments and increased incidents of terrorism and violent extremism.
“While the AU has appropriate normative and policy frameworks in place, we need to fully implement these so as to tackle the root causes of these scourges as enunciated at the Malabo Summits,” said the President.
He noted that negative effects of heightened geo-political tensions, climate change and negative consequences of emerging digital technologies on the political and socio-economic fabric of the continent also needed to be interrogated.
“The illegal exploitation of African resources and undue foreign interference prey on our fledgling institutions, inducing instability. The ravages caused by the Covid-19 pandemic exposed our institutional vulnerability whose effects are being felt to this day.”
The world, added President Mnangagwa, needs to double down on efforts to move away from “the precipice of nuclear annihilation” caused by rising global tensions by reforming the United Nations Security Council in order to boost multilateral efforts towards nuclear disarmament.
“Indeed, one miscalculation could lead us to this catastrophic end. We therefore call for more impetus on the reform of the United Nations Security Council, an organ that is vital for sustainable multilateralism and international peace and security. Its transformation and reform will trigger the needed momentum towards nuclear disarmament and our world would be the better for it,” he said.
Zimbabwe, the President also said, welcomes Japan’s partnership in tackling the current challenges.
On Saturday, Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged US$30 billion for Africa over the next three years to support start-up businesses for the youth through public and private sector cooperation, co-financing debt management, food security to counter the current world food crisis, and human security through funding the fight against Covid-19, malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS, among other interventions.
Of the total resource envelope committed by the Asian country, US$5 billion will go towards private sector support through the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa initiative in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB).
An estimated US$4 billion has been earmarked for Japan’s Green Growth Initiative with Africa, while US$300 million will go towards strengthening food production in Africa.
Japan also pledged to train 35 000 personnel in the health sector to strengthen the continent’s capacity to deal with future infectious and other diseases.
A package to assist nine million primary, secondary and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learners get access to quality education was announced.
Further, four million girls will be assisted to improve their education.
Some of the contentious issues at the summit, which ended yesterday, included consensus on the Russia special military operation in Ukraine, freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific Ocean, including debt sustainability and transparency.
Overall, 12 Heads of State and Government attended the two-day event.
Most AU member states were represented by their Ministers of Foreign Affairs, while Japan was represented by the special envoy of Prime Minister Kishida and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Hayashi Yoshimasa.
Morocco, however, withdrew from the conference in protest against the participation of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), whose delegation had been earlier welcomed by Tunisian President Kais Saied.
Zimbabwe and other SADC countries stood in solidarity with SADR.
TICAD is a summit-level international conference that brings together Heads of State and Government from Africa, government of Japan, the World Bank, United Nations, as well as representatives from the private sector such as the Japan Business Federation, Japan Association of Corporate Executives, among others.
It is the second time the triennial event is been held on the continent after Kenya in 2016.