Chissano bids AU Assembly farewell

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- It does not suffice for African leaders to claim this century as the century of Africa without committing themselves in the implementation of development programmes of the continent, Mozambican President Joaquim Alberto Chissano stated here Tuesday.
Addressing the African Union Assembly as its outgoing chairman, Chissano told his counterparts that their third ordinary summit was an opportunity to reaffirm their determination and dedication in pursuing the objectives they had set for themselves.
Chissano, who is due to bow out of office after presidential elections set for 2-3 December 2004 in Mozambique, bid the Assembly farewell and handed over the chairmanship gavel to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.
"Certainly when Your Excellencies will be deliberating in the course of the fourth Assembly, [slated for Khartoum, Sudan, next year] I will have taken my seat amidst civil society.
"I will be watching your performance, so that, from my point of advantage, I may contribute to the strengthening of a strong and dynamic relation between the AU member states and the civil society, which is desirable," Chissano said.
On the destiny of Africa, the Mozambican leader said it did not rest in the past, but in the future and on "the answers the generations of today and tomorrow will give to the challenges confronting the continent.
" With 10 percent of the world population, 1 percent of the global GDP, about 2 percent of the world trade, 39 of the 49 least developed countries in the world, and with 40 percent of the population living under a dollar per day, Chissano said the statistics reflected a stunning reality in Africa.
This reality, he said, was likely to lead Afro-pessimists into despair.
"However, we are not allowed to despair or succumb.
We have a commitment with history.
We are blessed with an opportunity to change our fate and that of incoming generations," Chissano affirmed.
He advised African nations to respond to the current challenges through their determination to implement the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
According to Chissano, NEPAD is more than a programme.
He said it constitutes a real revolution in "our philosophy of approach to challenges for development.

06 july 2004 10:58:00

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