Zim woman makes waves at AU 

Source: Zim woman makes waves at AU | The Sunday Mail

Zim woman makes waves at AU

Kuda Bwititi in ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

SHE has already broken new ground, but her unflinching determination continues to push her further up towards breaking the glass ceiling.

Last year, Zimbabwe’s own Chido Cleopatra Mpemba was appointed the African Union Special Envoy for Youth Affairs, making her the youngest diplomat in the special cabinet of the AU Commission (AUC) chair Dr Moussa Faki Mahamat.

One would have thought the 33-year-old would be content with the lofty position, but Ms Mpemba’s eagerness to continue scaling new heights is unshakable.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail soon after paying a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa on Friday, Ms Mpemba outlined her vision to elevate youths across the continent.

She has since started canvassing for the AU Youth Summit to be held in tandem with the main Heads of State and Government convention.

This sweeping proposal is expected to galvanise youths to take a greater leadership role on the continent.

“I am lobbying that come next year the next AU Heads of State Summit should be held in collaboration with an AU Youth Summit, so that young people can get to sit on the same table with Heads of State and be able to drive the agenda in achieving the Africa that we want and engineer the solutions together.”

She expressed confidence that the AU will adopt her proposal.

“So, that is what I am lobbying for and come 2023, I believe that one of my priorities as I am in office is to make sure that we have more young people sitting on the table in these discussions as we deliberate, in terms of Africa, where we are, where we would like to go, and ensure that all the young people are also represented in these conversations.”

Ms Mpemba strongly feels Africa’s fast-growing youth demographic should be represented at all levels.

She is a firm believer in the four E’s (education, employment, entrepreneurship and engagement) launched by Dr Mahamat in 2019 to catalyse youth development and create one million jobs by 2021. The self-assured Harare-born professional challenged youths to demonstrate their innovation by crafting viable solutions to transform the continent. In a statement she presented to the AU on Friday ahead of the beginning of the summit, Ms Mpemba said she will engage her peers every step of the way.

“Through a listening tour, I commit to engaging with youth organisations, youth transformative groups and young Africans across our continent and in the Diaspora with the aim to represent everyone and to tap into all the bright ideas that will propel and accelerate further efforts.

“I advocate for inclusion of young people with disabilities in decision-making processes. It is important that no one person is left behind.”

Born at Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Clinic in Harare in 1988, Ms Mpemba grew up in Bulawayo where she attended Girls College High School.

She acquired her degree at Cape Town University in South Africa before enrolling for an MBA at the Midlands State University. She worked as a banker at Standard Chartered Bank and had a stint at Ministry of Youth, Arts, Sport and Recreation, among various leadership roles, before her appointment to the AU on November 1 last year.