(AA) – South Africa’s president has said that economic growth in Africa must be “inclusive” and improve the quality of life for the one billion people who live on the continent.
Jacob Zuma was speaking in Pretoria, ushering in a month of events starting from Africa Day which falls on Monday.
Africa Day marks the 1963 foundation of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), which became the African Union in 2002.
Speaking on Sunday at the Mamelodi Campus of the University of Pretoria, Zuma said: “Today we also celebrate the advancement of the continent economically, although there is still a long way to go.”
“We have a sound socio-economic development plan in the form of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD. We have clear programs to advance infrastructure development, industrialization and advancement in agriculture, health and other social programs.”
“We should therefore continue working in unity, to make Africa a continent of hope for the youth and future generations,” added Zuma
The South African leader also said the history of the African Union had been tied up with the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
“The Organisation of African Unity was also dedicated to the eradication of all forms of colonialism and white minority rule since there were several African states that had not yet gained their independence.”
“As such, our liberation struggle against apartheid received unequivocal support from the member states of the OAU”, added Zuma.
The president also added South Africa’s modest contribution to the success of the continent through its involvement in peacemaking, working within the ambit of the African Union with other sister countries.
South Africa was officially admitted as 53rd member of the OAU in 1994 after holding its first fully democratic elections.