African Union (AU) Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma delivers a speech during the opening of the 25th AU Summit at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 14, 2015. The AU on Sunday kicked off its 25th summit in Johannesburg, amid high expectations for solutions to resolve a series of challenges. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)
African Union (AU) Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma delivers a speech during the opening of the 25th AU Summit at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 14, 2015. The AU on Sunday kicked off its 25th summit in Johannesburg, amid high expectations for solutions to resolve a series of challenges. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)

African Union (AU) Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Sunday that Africans must believe in themselves so as to move forward.

African Union (AU) Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma delivers a speech during the opening of the 25th AU Summit at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 14, 2015. The AU on Sunday kicked off its 25th summit in Johannesburg, amid high expectations for solutions to resolve a series of challenges. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)
African Union (AU) Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma delivers a speech during the opening of the 25th AU Summit at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 14, 2015. The AU on Sunday kicked off its 25th summit in Johannesburg, amid high expectations for solutions to resolve a series of challenges. (Xinhua/Zhai Jianlan)

“As the leading generations of our time, it is upon us to help chart our uniquely African path and place in the world today,” Dlamini-Zuma told African Heads of State and Government attending the 25th AU Summit in Johannesburg.
Africans should realize that the demographic dividend is possible if they adopt the right policies, manage their diversity and make every citizen feel valued and part of the driving forces for change and progress, irrespective of tribe, religion, color or creed, and whether they are man, woman, boy or girl, said Dlamini- Zuma.
She said that even though Africans cannot be one country, “we need to speed up our integration and unity.”
Dlamini-Zuma stressed the need to educate and skill the African people, with an emphasis on science, engineering, technology, maths resource and innovation, including technical and vocational skills.
“When we undertake this skills revolution, extremists, armed groups and terrorists will find it difficult if not impossible to recruit our young women and men. Instead, our youth will have the skills to generate electricity, including renewables,” she said.
The African youth will stop camping at the borders and shores of the industrial world, but will transform African economies through industrialization, manufacturing and by adding value to their natural resources, the AU chief said.
They will produce enough food for the entire Africa, as they modernize and grow agriculture and agroprocessing, and agribusiness, she said.
The development of Africa based on blue economy with advanced infrastructure should be done through the most modern of technology, including the Pan African high speed rail network, she said.
Economic development of a uniquely African continent will not only be based on profit, but on the needs of the people, driven by the youth and women, who will create a prosperous and non-sexist continent, Dlamini-Zuma said.
Speaking in his opening address, South African President Jacob Zuma said Africa has taken its destiny in its hands, particularly in social development and economic growth.
Africa has embarked on a new path of growth and development, Zuma said.
However, expectations from African people “are high and we can not fail” in efforts to achieve the AU Agenda 2063.
Zuma urged African countries to continue to address conflicts in the continent and take decisive actions to tackle new challenges such as terrorism.
High on the agenda at the summit will be the AU Commission’s Agenda 2063, the political crisis in Burundi, proposals for the continental free trade area and mechanisms to find new sources of funding for the AU operations.
The summit is taking place under the theme “Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063.”
Meetings have taken place at officials and ministerial levels since June 7. Enditem

-Xinhua

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