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Daily Nation : February 2nd 2014
SUNDAY NATION February 2, 2014 International News 39 ANALYSIS | High-speed train, ICT hubs, fashion cities, well-fed and healthy population will be the hallmark of African, Zuma says Utopian Africa created as AU flies continent to dreamland and back African Union Commission chief in her ‘letter to a friend’ takes the flight of fancy and paints the picture of the first world that Africa will be 50 years from now, as reality takes a backseat BY CIUGU MWAGIRU firstname.lastname@example.org heads of states summit ended on Friday after a solemn declaration that 2014 will be the year of agriculture in Africa. “For Africa to ensure sustained I and inclusive growth of seven per cent and higher, agriculture and agro-processing are critical, since they constitute a large part of the GDPs of our continent,” said AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, while opening the African Foreign Affairs ministers’ meeting last Monday. Amid the usual AU rhetoric, it was announced that the continent was set for a rapid and magical transformation through the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme, whose goal is to increase agricultural investment and productivity. Clearly, that was great news for a continent where the majority survive on less than a dollar a day and are lucky to have more than one meal a day. But there were even more goodies in the offing. For instance, the exuberant AU Commission chief at the opening of the head of states summit on Thursday reportedly went into dream mode and gave her vision of where the African continent will be in the next 50 years. Predictably, for a while the conflicts in Central Africa and South Sudan that were expected to dominate the summit’s agenda were forgotten, as was the role of the International Criminal Court in Africa, which was also supposed to be part of the agenda. Also momentarily pushed to the back burner was the worsening political situation in Egypt, where army boss Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seems set to become Africa’s latest military strongman following a series of well-timed manoeuvres. In the meantime the chairperson told the gathering that after eons of African conflicts and devastation, her crystal ball told her that in 50 years Kinshasa would have eclipsed Paris ‘‘ t was certainly the week that was at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, where a two-day and Milan as the undisputed fashion capital of the world, and Accra would have upstaged Brussels as the home of gourmet chocolate. Certainly, that is more great news for starving Africans. Waxing optimistic, the gracious woman, in an imaginary ‘letter to a friend’, went further as she regaled her audience with tales of more better things to come. Telling participants that Africa now has wings to fly and is headed for its long-dreamt-of El Dorado, she also predicted that in the next half century Africa’s other miseries would have evaporated and buried in a long-forgotten past. As she trained her telescope on the brave new Utopian African transformation, the chairperson argued that the advancing global trend towards regional blocks should remind Africans that “unity is the only way for Africa to leverage its competitive advantage.” She added that in the past “we did not realise our power, but instead relied on donors that we euphemistically called partners.” Among the goodies she told the continent to look forward to during the next half century were stateof- the- art high-speed railways, a common language, diplomatic clout, cutting-edge fashion and leadership in space exploration. 2063 Year when AU Commission chairperson expects her grandiose dream for African to come true During her flight of fancy, the much- respected woman further told the august gathering of the 54-member bloc that by 2063, there would be a “grand reality” on the African continent, where— according to her— a new Confederation of African States would have replaced the AU. She then spoke confidently of a future Africa with “regional manufacturing hubs” in Congo, Angola and Zambia, as well as “Silicon valleys” in Rwanda, Egypt, Nigeria and Kenya. According to her, there would also be equal access for women to education and business ownership. Further, the African continent would have its very own space agency and “a modern, continent-wide telecommunications infrastructure”, and young people will in the magical future “tour the continent on highspeed rail links much in the same vein as Europe’s InterRail system”. At the same time, the languages of the former colonial powers would also “have been replaced by the new lingua franca, Kiswahili.” Too grandiose a dream, maybe? For Africa to ensure sustained and inclusive growth of seven per cent and higher, agriculture and agro-processing are critical, since they constitute a large part of the GDPs of our continent” AU Commission chief Dlamini-Zuma Not so, said Ms Dlamini-Zuma. The continent, she said, had an extremely bright future in which it would also be a leader in renewable energy, with war a thing of the past. In future, she predicted, the conti- nent would look back incredulously at the myriad tribulations of its past, and will have long shed its image of ‘the hopeless continent’ as described SAMUEL GEBRU | AFP Mauritanian President Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz (left) shakes hand with his Equatorial Guinea counterpart Teodoro Obiang Nguema last Thursday in Addis Ababa. Looking on is their host, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Haliemariam Dessalegn. Mr Aziz took over as AU chairman. by western media citing conflicts, hunger and malnutrition, disease and poverty. Ah, but that will be then. In the meantime, Maurita- nian President Gen Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz, who came to power through a coup in 2008, last week became the new political head of the AU. He ascends to the post amid deliberations to readmit Egypt into the continental body, alongside its brand new military ruler, al-Sisi. It is has also been reported that the next AU summit, to be held in June-July, will be hosted by Equatorial Guinea, which has a reputation as one of Africa’s most notorious dictatorships and kleptocracies, and whose capital— Malabo— also hosted a similar summit in 2011. For now, starving Africans will apparently have to make do with their current one meal and subsist on less than a dollar a day as they await the promised land of milk and honey, which their descendants might just benefit from. VACANCY MANAGING EDITOR, NAIROBI NEWS Job Ref. – HR-ME-02-2014 Nation Media Group, the largest media house in East and Central Africa, is recruiting a Managing Editor for its newest newspaper title, the Nairobi News. Targeted at the Nairobi resident, Nairobi News is a thrice-weekly newspaper with a lively mix of news, features and commentaries accompanied by a dynamic news website and mobile news service. This position is for an experienced journalist with an outstanding record as a reporter or sub-editor. He or she will have a track record of leading newsroom teams, an ability to manage stories and oversee production of pages and will boast a solid network of news sources in Nairobi County. If you consider yourself a Nairobi native at heart and can capture the drama of life in Kenya’s largest county in a compelling newspaper package, you are the person we are looking for. You will have a university degree or post-graduate qualification in journalism and must have worked in a busy newsroom for over six years. Please send your application and a detailed CV online to Human Resources at http://careers.nationmedia.com before 13th February, 2014.
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