A former chairperson of the African Union (AU), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has been awarded the BlackGold Order of Merit for her contribution to Africa’s development.
The award was presented by BlackGold, a company that publishes both the Corporate Guardian and the Business Week in Accra last Thursday.
Dr Zuma received a trophy, a medal, a memento and a queen’s regalia.
Speaking at the BlackGold Lecture series which formed part of the award ceremony, Dr Zuma reiterated the need for Africa to be self-reliant instead of depending on aid.
She said African governments must improve revenue collection, manage expenditure, increase production and deal in more trade.
Delivering her lecture on the theme: “Good Governance for the African Renaissance, ” Dr Zuma said good governance meant governments should ensure that they created a non-sexist society.
“Girls and women constitute over 50 per cent of our populations - their inclusion, participation, empowerment and development are, therefore, a democratic and human rights imperative. It also makes economic, cultural and social sense,” she said.
Dr Zuma emphasised that Africans must adopt the right mindset.
“When we talk about the right mindset, we talk about the belief in ourselves as Africans. Yes, there are things that are terribly wrong: the paradox of a rich continent with poor people; the poverty and underdevelopment that seem endemic; conflicts that have gone on for too long in places and claim too many lives; new challenges that we face such as terrorism and climate change, but, we must never for a moment think that this is the natural condition for Africa.”
“We have to adopt a mindset that we shall not be defined by our past or present, but reach for this future we want, and build that future today. It is a mindset we must instil in ourselves and in the generations after us,” she added.
That mindset, Dr Zuma said, also included the belief in Africa’s progressive cultures while discarding the elements that were no longer relevant.
“It is a mindset which does not allow us to be told by others what are good for us, but an Africa that charts and drives its own path. A mindset that tells our history and promotes our heritage tangible and intangible. A mindset that Africa will be great again, that it shall rise again,” she stressed.
Dr Zuma commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for implementing the Free SHS policy.
“We congratulate the government and President of Ghana for the announcement that henceforth education will be free for all its children up to secondary school. It is a great step, because a winning nation must have skilled young people. We must be smart about the lessons we apply, and not repeat the mistakes of the past where we want to do everything within our own national borders,” she added.\
The Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, encouraged Africans to embrace the science and technology in development planning.
He said Information Communication Technology (ICT) was fast developing the world by helping to combat problems such as corruption and mismanagement of resources.
“The world is moving in one direction, where science and technology is rapidly changing our lives, improving our health systems and increasing productivity in all sectors,” he said.