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The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma called on the US government to continue supporting the continent. The statement came during the visit of US President Barack Obama to the AU.
Zuma noted that Africa and the US have a strong historic bond that remains strong.
“Africa and the USA have strong and historic bonds, forged with the blood and sweat of African sons and daughters captured and forced across the Atlantic Ocean, toiling on the plantations and cities that made the United States into the great country it is,” she said.
President Obama’s visit has been called historic as he is the first sitting president to visit Ethiopia as well as to address the African Union.
“Today, we are proud that Africans are part of the beautiful tapestry of humanity of the United States of America, with their rich contribution to its history, literature, music, sciences, politics, business, the arts and sports,” Zuma added.
She further acknowledged the historic support that the US had provided to ending colonialism and apartheid as well as the country’s contribution to the Africa’s development by providing education opportunities.
Noting that Africa is a youthful continent that can be instrumental to achieving the adopted Agenda 2063, Zuma called on the US to support African youth through education opportunities.
“Like the programs President Kennedy introduced in the 1960’s and 70’s, we would appreciate similar cooperation with the USA and African universities to help train new generations of African scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators,” she said.
Speaking on the issue of peace and security, Zuma highlighted that Africa will continue to work with the UN and is willing to make financial contributions to peacekeeping missions. But she strongly criticized the UN’s failure to have Africa represented in the UN Security Council saying, “We must, at the same time, correct the historical injustice of Africa being the only continent left out from permanent membership of the UN Security Council.”
The Chairperson further spoke of the need to invest in girls and women as well as the need to strengthen work against corruption as it threatens further development. Zuma expressed her appreciation for the high level delegation from the US Congress, which was also present during the visit, for supporting Africa in many aspects, particularly through the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
She further appreciated US efforts in re-establishing relations with Cuba. “Africa remains seized with the issues facing its Diaspora everywhere, and we, therefore, applaud your leadership towards the normalization of relations between the USA and Cuba.”
President Obama’s visit to the AU Headquarters marks the end of a five-day tour to Africa, which included an earlier stop in Kenya where he participated in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi.