‘Africa is often misunderstood by global economists’

Today, many will celebrate #AfricaDay, marking the formation of the Organisation of African Unity.

FILE: A Zulu warrior statue at the National Heritage monument which was launched in the Groenkloof nature reserve in Pretoria on 15 September 2015. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Institute for Future Research says Africa is often misunderstood by global economists and outsiders.

Today various events have been scheduled to celebrate Africa Day, which marks the formation of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963.

At the University of Stellenbosch Business School, several speakers will be taking a look at the future of the continent and its current state.

One of the speakers at the event is Morne Mostert, who believes Africa is a complex continent.

"We see a dichotomy in responses from our clients, on the one hand there's this sort of afro-pessimists who believe it will never work. And on the other hand there are almost Pollyanna optimists who believe that Africa is really there next frontier. So there's a wide range of perspectives."

But Mostert says there is hope for Africa.

"Our view is that Africa presents enormous opportunity. It's true that Africa is poor but it's also true that poverty has reduced by at 20 percent in the last 20 years."

AU CHAIR CALLS FOR UNITY

African Union (AU) Commission chair Nkosanzana Dlamini-Zuma has urged Africans to ask critical, legitimate and tough questions, in order to achieve the organisation's vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

The AU is marking the day under the theme, 'Year of Human Rights', with a particular focus on the rights of women.

Dlamini-Zuma said it makes economic sense to invest in women as it's a guarantee for sustainable peace, stability and cohesion on the continent.

In a statement, Dlamini-Zuma said Africa's success depends on the collaborative efforts of all its member states, including civil society, the private sector, religious institutions, academia and the media.

The AU head also touched on the continents priorities detailed in vision 2063, adding that the first ten year implementation plan has already been achieved.

She said issuing heads of state with the African passport at the Kigali summit this July, will accelerate the free movement of people, goods and services through the continent.

But the AU leader has warned this cannot be achieved without a strong commitment to pan Africanism, as many challenges lie ahead.