PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has hailed the African Union (AU) and its partners for efforts in procuring Covid-19 vaccines for countries on the continent, saying the bloc boasts of well-coordinated and effective initiatives towards combating the spread of the pandemic.
He made the remarks in a virtual address at the 34th Ordinary Session of the African Union (Report On the Progress of the African Union Response On Covid-19 Pandemic in Africa) yesterday.
The summit was attended by all African Heads of State and saw the Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, taking over from South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa as the AU chair.
In his statement, President Mnangagwa said Africa’s response to the pandemic demonstrates the power of solidarity, co-operation and unity within the AU.
“My country appreciates the critical role and efforts of the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa-CDC), the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) and the African Union Special Envoys to procure vaccines. Efforts by the private sector and other stakeholders to mobilise and set up platforms on which the Member States of the Union can procure the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), diagnostic equipment and vaccines are equally commendable.
“We also hail the Afreximbank which will avail financial facilities to enable countries to purchase their Covid-19 contingencies,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe supports the proposal for more robust strategies to deal with future pandemics.
“I concur with the proposal for more robust strategies to deal with future pandemics and the need to strengthen and review statutes of the Africa-Centre for Disease Control to enable it to fully perform its task,” he said.
“I equally support the call for Africa to develop our own pharmaceutical industry drawing from our rich heritage based scientific knowledge, and competent scientists. Zimbabwe further supports calls for the establishment of the Africa Medicine Agency (AMA).”
The President commended President Ramaphosa for his sterling role in leading the continent during the pandemic.
“I further commend the outgoing Chair of our Union, His Excellency Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, and President of the Republic of South Africa for his exemplary and sterling work in leading our continental body,” he said.
“His innovative and responsive approach in mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our Continent is admirable.
“Today our organisation boasts of elaborate, well-coordinated and effective new initiatives towards combating the spread of the pandemic. This demonstrates the power of our solidarity, cooperation and unity which can be traced to our rich culture and heritage as a continent.”
President Mnangagwa congratulated the incoming AU Chair President Tshisekedi for assuming the continental bloc’s chairmanship.
“I warmly congratulate you, Your Excellency President Felix Tshisekedi for your assumption of Chairmanship of the African Union. You can count on Zimbabwe’s support during your tenure of office.”
President Mnangagwa also conveyed condolences to all countries in the AU for the loss of life from Covid-19.
Africa has lost more than 94 000 people from Covid-19 since the outbreak early last year.
In a separate address on the Progress Report on the Institutional Reforms of the African Union, the President applauded the leadership of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda for the progress achieved in AU’s institutional reform process.
“The new structure has proved its mettle with the meetings of the extended Bureau of the Assembly and Heads of Regional Economic Communities being instrumental in the Continent’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
“The electoral process that we will undertake during this session is itself a product of this reform process.
“We, therefore, hope that those to be elected during this session will give impetus to the ongoing work towards the efficient and effective administration of the Union.”
The President said the current reform environment within the AU has seen notable progress in the work of the Group of 10 independent experts.
He hoped that in the aftermath of ongoing measures, professionalism and respect for staff rules and regulations will be enhanced for the benefit of the Union.
“Going forward, the need to stay the course on this reform process as we pursue our Agenda 2063 of “The Africa We Want” must remain a priority.
“Finally, Zimbabwe remains fully committed to the successful implementation of the reforms. I wish to assure President Paul Kagame of my full support as he continues to steer the institutional reform process of our Continental Body, the AU.”
In his speech to mark the end of his tenure as AU Chair, President Ramaphosa said he was grateful for the appreciation shown by AU Heads of State on the work that had been done in the fight against Covid-19 so far.
“It has been collective work, in the end, it has not been the work of any particular individual. And this is the one time that we as Africans have demonstrated not only to ourselves and our people but to the whole world that when we are united we can achieve unbelievable results.
“And the world has looked with great admiration at the way in which Africa working together has been able to interface and interact with the world for the benefit of our people,” he said.