The outgoing African Union chairman President Robert Mugabe says the migration of African youths abroad is a serious concern that has to be addressed urgently as it does not only dent the image of the continent but also negatively affects the continent’s economic development endeavours.
He made the remarks when he co-chaired the opening session of the 34th NEPAD heads of state and government orientation committee, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa this Friday.
The AU chairman implored the continent to seriously find ways of solving the issue of skills flight and migration.
“The continent must not sit and watch while able bodied men and women embark on risky journeys across the oceans in search of supposedly a better world.
“The NEPAD agency must assist member states in creating facilities to equip the youths with the necessary skills that guarantee them employment opportunities, by creating small industries and businesses that target women and youths so that the need to migrate is minimised,” said President Mugabe.
Speaking through an interpreter, Chairperson of the NEPAD heads of state and government orientation committee and President of Senegal Macky Sall said 2015 was a decisive turning point in Africa’s development agenda and the mobilisation of internal resources so that member countries do not rely on donor funds.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma noted that the AU is making remarkable progress in a number of areas, especially in the sectors of transport and infrastructure.
She, however, called on member states to ensure that the infrastructure that is being built now will be able to meet the continent’s future needs.
President Mugabe also welcomed a new member to the NEPAD family President John Magufuli of Tanzania and the new president of the African Development Bank Dr Akinwumi Adesina.
The NEPAD agency is AU’s economic development arm and is at the forefront of mobilising resources to fund infrastructural and other developmental activities under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme and the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa frameworks.
Agriculture and infrastructure development are key pillars in the continental vision Agenda 2063.
‘Zim to establish minerals university’
Meanwhile, President Mugabe says Zimbabwe is setting up the Pan-African Minerals University of Science and Technology (PAMUST) whose focus will be minerals beneficiation and value addition which is expected to impact positively on the continent’s economic transformation.
He told delegates attending the 34th NEPAD heads of state and government orientation committee that the pan-African university will open its doors to all African postgraduate students to enable them to conduct cutting edge research.
The AU chairman reiterated that Africa is endowed with mineral resources which have not been adequately harnessed for the sustainable development of the continent.
He pointed out that failure to exploit these mineral endowments is attributable to lack of appropriate knowledge and skills, technology and infrastructure, and that is why Africa’s resources continue to be exported in their raw form.
“It is against this background that the African Union assembly decided in 2005 to establish four African institutes of science and technology across the continent which will focus on research and innovation linked to entrepreneurship,” said President Mugabe.
The Au chairman also appealed to the African Development Bank and businesses in the private sector to support the centres of excellence in the spirit of corporate responsibility and pan-Africanism.