Your Excellency, Mr Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of the Republic of Mali and Co-Chair of the 27th Africa-France Summit,
Your Excellency, Mr Francois Hollande, President of the Republic of France and Co-Chair of the 27th Africa-France Summit,
Your Excellency, Mr Idriss Déby Itno, President of the Republic of Chad and Chairman of the African Union,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellency, Mr Donald Tusk, President of the European Council,
Your Excellency, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
Your Excellency, Mr Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations,
Your Excellency, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission,
Your Excellencies, Heads of Diplomatic Missions,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Allow me to begin by expressing my heartfelt gratitude to His Excellency President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, the Government and people of the fraternal Republic of Mali, for the very warm welcome and excellent hospitality extended to me and my delegation since our arrival in this country, the cradle of ancient civilization and in particular to Bamako, the city of great culture and tradition. Â
I am happy to note that the Africa-France Summit is being held for the second time in Mali, after it hosted the same in 2005. The fact that we are gathered here, after the disturbances that threatened the stability of this nation a few years ago, is a demonstration of our confidence in the effectiveness of the peace and security processes undertaken both through regional efforts and international interventions in which the sacrifice of France cannot go unacknowledged.
Under the rubric of this Summit theme, “Partnership, Peace and Emergence”, we are cognisant of the strong linkages among peace, security and development. The theme embraces our common concerns and aspirations and warrants our continuous attention in the quest to create a stable and conducive environment for socio-economic development in our respective countries.Â Â
I take this opportunity to thank the people of France, through you, Your Excellency, President Hollande, for partnering with individual countries, as well as regional organisations and the international community in the collective efforts to restore peace and security in several countries in Africa, including Mali.
We welcome France’s position on the United Nations Security Council reform, which supports the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats and takes into consideration the need to address the injustice felt by African countries. Nevertheless, we call for progress in the long running negotiations on this critical issue. Let me reiterate that the African position, which is contained in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, remains unchanged since its reaffirmation at the last AU Summit in Kigali.
In January 2015, African Heads of State and Government adopted Agenda 2063, a landmark and historic collective vision and roadmap that seeks to guide the African Union Member States in building a prosperous and integrated Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development over the next fifty years. At the sub-regional level, similar strategies such as the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap have been framed and adopted.
These landmark decisions are being domesticated within our countries as we focus on industrialisation, with emphasis on value addition and beneficiation of our natural resources, in order to revitalise our industries, create employment and grow our economies.
In the transformation of our economies, our endeavours as governments ought to be supported by our own private sector and by external partners through investments and other contributions.Â In my country, efforts are on-going with the goal of creating a conducive environment for foreign direct investments (FDI). Various models including Public-Private Partnership and Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) are all most welcome. Most recently, we promulgated the law governing the Special Economic Zones. Special incentives will apply in order to attract investments in these zones.Â We are also undertaking other reforms to improve the Ease of Doing Business in our country.
In Zimbabwe, we recognise that small and medium sized enterprises make a significant contribution to our economy. The potential for that sector to expand is enormous if it is given the requisite assistance in the form of capital injection, transfer of appropriate technologies, innovation strategies and the setting-up of incubation centres. We invite France to support and participate in capacitating these future growth engines. We and France can both prosper in such win-win economic cooperation.
In furtherance of the above, we have, in Zimbabwe, reformed our education curricula, to make them relevant to our development thrust by promoting science, technology and mathematics (STEM). We need support to equip and modernise school laboratories and also to electrify those in the rural areas so that they have access to modern information communication technologies. Power accessibility will entail that our populations will deploy ICTs simultaneously and thus leave none behind.
Let me conclude by expressing my hope that this forum will continue to pave way for greater cooperation with France in all areas supportive of sustainable development.
I thank you.