President Robert Mugabe has arrived in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, to attend the 23rd Ordinary African Union Heads of State and Government Summit, which began Friday with meetings by foreign affairs ministers and others looking at various issues affecting Africa, in particular, agriculture and food security.
Mr. Mugabe will join other African leaders later in the day to discuss peace and security issues on the continent.
Mr. Mugabe, who’s accompanied by Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr. Joseph Made and other senior government officials, will attend his first meeting of the summit today with African leaders dissecting areas of conflict on the continent, in particular, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and others.
Foreign ministers and other experts have since Friday been attending high level meetings looking at issues they will forward to the Heads of State and Government to address. The leaders will meet in summit for two days.
The summit is running under the theme: “Agriculture and Food Security” and will discuss, among other issues, Africa’s efforts and desire to improve and mechanise agriculture all in the hope of eliminating perennial food shortages on the continent.
Food security continues to nag Africa though experts say the continent has the most arable land which is not being utilised as the moment.
Also set for discussion is Africa’s progress on Agenda 2063, the continent’s guiding vision for the next 50 years, as leaders and ordinary people seek an improved and developed Africa.
Many meetings are being held on the sidelines of the summit. Earlier today, a NEPAD meeting setting the agenda for the day brought high-level participants together to address challenges blocking Africa’s development and growth.
African Union Commission chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said Africa’s development should be people-driven with growth and development being one of the most important pillars. She said a united Africa can develop at a faster rate, much to the people’s benefit.
Economic Commission for Africa’s executive secretary, Carlos Lopes, also addressed the NEPAD meeting seeking to address issues blocking the continent’s growth. He also called for unity among all actors on the continent as they work towards a well-developed Africa along Agenda 2063.
Kagamba Julius Singoma is the Special Assistant to the African Union’s Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture.
He told VOA though political will has been a problem in the past among African leaders as they sought to address problems besetting the continent, there’s no change that leaders will continue on that path as youthful populations and world trends will push them to eradicate poverty and make strong decisions that will spur growth on the continent.
Singoma said it is sad that Africa had the most arable and underutilized land in the world but continues to import food. This, he said, should be a thing of the past.
Singoma, who spoke after emerging from a high-level meeting on agriculture and food security ahead of the leaders’ summit on the same subject tomorrow, said the continent needs to put more resources into agriculture to avert food shortages.
Judges to the new African court on justice are also expected to be selected here. First ladies of Africa are also meeting to discuss HIV issues and how the continent can work together to promote zero new infections and take care of those living with the HIV virus to make sure they have the right nutrition and medication.