African diplomats based in Harare on Monday hosted a dinner to mark the African Union’s 52nd anniversary. The diplomats co-hosted the dinner with Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi read the statement by AU chairperson President Mugabe in which he urged the continent to industrialise economies and to promote women empowerment.
President Mugabe’s speech has been widely published in various media.
In the speech, the President called for peace and unity on the continent and for the charting of a clear development agenda.
He expressed hope that the continent’s economic targets under Agenda 2063 will be achieved.
President Mugabe also called for the beneficiation of minerals on the continent instead of exporting them as raw for processing in other continents.
He said the dangers of doing that was that Africa was failing to benefit fully from the abundant natural resources and that the finished products from the raw minerals were too expensive when they return to the continent.
President Mugabe hailed founders of the Organisation of African Unity, now African Union, as heroes and liberation icons.
Speaking in an interview at the dinner, Dean of African diplomats in Zimbabwe Ambassador Mwanananga Mwawampanga said unity was the solution to the continent’s challenges.
“We are a very strong continent and despite the challenges we face, we are victors,” he said.
“Unity is key to the development of Africa. We must unite and overcome the challenges facing us as a continent. Unity makes us even stronger.”
Diplomats from non-African countries also attended the colourful event.
Traditional dance groups and poets from various African countries provided entertainment on the occasion, while different traditional dishes were served.
Diplomats attended the function dressed in their national dresses and each country exhibited and served their national dishes.
This year’s Africa Day was marked under the theme: “Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”.