Pretoria: Africa is a continent of great opportunities which must be capitalised on in order for it to succeed, says African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson and Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
“We are a continent of great possibilities. We are a continent of the move. We have lots of opportunities and if we use them we will fly… if we don’t use them we will always be a continent of lost opportunities,” she said during a meeting with the African Diplomatic Corps based in Pretoria on Monday.
Dlamini Zuma told the diplomats that she considered her new role as a big challenge but one with lots of opportunities.
“I’m going to be a humble servant of all Africans,” she said.
She noted that while there was much diversity of the African continent, there were many elements that united the continent and that where the focus should be.
In addition, Africa needed to give attention to its huge population which was an enormous advantage.
“If we look at ourselves collectively we are very strong but if we look at ourselves individually we become weak,” Dlamini Zuma stressed.
While many countries in the world had to deal with the challenge of an ageing population, Africa was fortunate to have a young population.
This young population was a huge opportunity and resource and if handled correctly would ensure that the continent’s development and economic growth took a different trajectory, she pointed out.
Another matter on Dlamini Zuma’s mind was that of food security.
Other issues of importance for the continent included ensuring that mineral resources were used to benefit people, sustainable development, food security, renewable energy, women’s rights including the high maternal mortality rate, trade between African countries and integration, she said.
DRC Ambassador to South Africa and Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps Bene M’Poko said the African Union had a fighter, a deliver and a very committed person as chair of the AUC.
Everything Dlamini Zuma touched turned to gold, he pointed out.
M’Poko said he was confident that given the challenges facing the continent, Dlamini Zuma was the right person for the post.