ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, May 16, 2017 (APO): The African Union Foundation (AUF), the institution charged with promoting domestic resource mobilisation for African development has received a donation of 300 head of cattle from H.E. President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
The donation was pledged by President Mugabe during his tenure as the AU Chairperson during the 25th AU Summit, held in Johannesburg, South Africa and proceeds from the auction will be used to raise funds to support the initiatives of the AUF.
The 300 cattle will be auctioned in a series of events that will take place nationwide throughout the month of May. The first two auctions took place during the week ending May 13, 2017 in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city and Gweru – in the midlands – which were transformed into a hive of activity as they hosted the auctions.
Speaking during the auctions, Mr. Dumisani Mngadi, the AUF Chief Operations Officer expressed gratitude to Zimbabweans for this gesture. “With a population of over 1 billion people, Africa needs to take a lead in financing its own developmental programmes.”
Mr. Mngadi further said that, “To develop and realise the vision set out in Agenda 2063, Africans need to finance their own programmes. Institutions like the AU cannot rely heavily on funding from countries outside our continent as the model is not sustainable. We need to be innovative and come up with African solutions to our African challenges.
“When making the pledge, H.E. President Mugabe reminded us that Africans are cattle people, and that we measure our prosperity by the herd of our cattle. This donation speaks to Africans being innovative and coming up with African solutions to our African challenges. It also explores creative alternative sources of funding. “
Mr. Mngadi added that the proceeds from the auctions will fund the AUF youth and women empowerment programmes such as the project to “Eradicate the hand-held hoe” as a way of transforming subsistence agriculture on the continent through mechanization to ensure that women farmers have higher yields and the African Youth Innovation Project that was unveiled at the African Economic Platform held in Mauritius. In March 2017.
Mr. Mngadi called on other African nations to follow in the Zimbabwean example to resource the AU Foundation.
Leading the auctions on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Simbarashe S. Mumbengegwi, said Zimbabwean farmers supported the president’s gesture and offered to volunteer cattle from their ranches on behalf of the president.
“President Mugabe takes our (AU) organisation’s interests very seriously and they are very close to his heart. He has always been a strong voice in Africans financing their own organisation and would say ‘whoever pays the piper chooses the tune’. Therefore, as long as outsiders finance our institutions they will dictate the agenda. This donation to the AU Foundation is an indication of how seriously he takes self-financing, said Hon.Mr. Mumbengegwi.
The proceeds that will be generated from the auctions will be presented during the upcoming AU Summit, scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July 2017.
The website News24.com quotes Zimbabwe state-owned Herald newspaper as saying the first auction raked in around $800. The Zimbabwe Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi was quoted as saying the auction was a major contribution toward realisation of the AU’s self-financing agenda, adding that Presidednt Mugabe was a staunch supporter of the continental body’s self-reliance agenda.
“It was during his chairmanship of the Union that a time-frame was set for the self-financing as an organisation that within the next five years the African Union must finance 100% of its operations, at least 75% of its programmes and at least 25% of its peacekeeping operations and this is being implemented,” Mumbengegwi was quoted as saying.
President Mugabe, who held the rotating AU presidency until January 2016, said at the time that he wanted the cattle to play some part in keeping the Foundation going: “It just struck me that no one had ever thought of a gift by way of cattle to the AU and since we are cattle people, why shouldn’t we also make a gift to the AU in cattle form?”