The outgoing chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission has urged African governments to focus more on leadership which serves the interests and development of the people and not be sources of suffering and retrogression.

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma noted that Africa last year continued to be plagued by wars, civil strife, hunger and corruption among ills which are choking development for a continent that is struggling to catch up with its peers, developmentally, on the back of unceasing interference by former colonizers from the West.

She said in her New Year message that the people on the continent deserved better. Our governments and leadership are there to protect the vulnerable, to serve the people; not to be the cause of the people's suffering and retrogression, said Dr Dhlamini Zuma.

She called for a collaborated stakeholder approach towards bringing lasting peace and stability especially in South Sudan, Burundi, Central African Republic and Gambia.

The AU remains committed to work with our member States to ensure that lasting peace is restored under Agenda 2063 flagship project Silencing the Guns by 2020, the outgoing AU Commission chairperson said. Enough is enough. Our people deserve peace and development.

This year, the AU is focusing on youth empowerment under the theme, Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investment in Youth.

The youth constitute over 70 per cent of the African population and remain a critical part of our most precious resources, Dr Dhlamini Zuma said, adding the AU would also keep pushing its campaign to end child marriages this year.

Meanwhile, Dr Dhlamni Zuma said reform of the organisation, led by current AU Chairman President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, as tasked by the last AU summit, remained key in ensuring the continental body delivered on Agenda 2063 in a very efficient and relevant way, meeting the aspirations of Africans.

Dr Dhlamini Zuma has expressed her wish to step down and the the 28th AU Summit later this month is expected to elect her successor.


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