July 8, 2004

Chissano bids farewell

Out-going African Union chairman Joachim Chissano has announced he would not be seeking re-election as Mozambique's President in December as time for him to hand over had come.
Bidding farewell to heads of state and governments at the African Union's Third Ordinary Summit, President Chissano said he was attending this year's meeting in his capacity as head of state for the last time. "Time has come for me to hand over the testimony to whoever the people of Mozambique will entrust the difficult, but noble mission to fulfil." He announced to the summit that the presidential elections in Mozambique were slated for December 2 and 3 this year. "Certainly, when your excellencies will be deliberating in the course of the IV Assembly, I will have taken my seat amidst civil society, a victory we can be proud of having been able to conquer," President Chissano said.
He said he would continue to watch the African Union's performance from a point of advantage. He further hailed as necessary and desirable the participation of civil society in the governance of Africa. "I will contribute to the strengthening of a strong and dynamic partnership between the African Union member states and the civil society, which is desirable," President Chissano said. He said destiny had given him a rare privilege to witness the intertwining of two folds of his life. "One of server of my people and the other of a server of Mother Africa," he said, referring to his presidency and chairmanship of the African Union.
President Chissano in his address also reminded the African leaders that while Africa had scored great successes in the liberation of its people from colonial domination and exploitation, it was worth realising the continent's destiny did not lay in the past.
He said the destiny of the continent lay on the answers the generations of today and tomorrow would give to the challenges confronting Africa. "As a matter of fact, the figures speak for themselves louder: with 10 per cent of the world population, our continent has only one per cent of the global GDP and about two per cent of world trade. Our weak economic performance is reflected by the fact that out of 49 countries classified as the least developed countries (LDCs), 39 are African. The high levels of poverty with 40 per cent of our population living on less than US $1 per day also reflect our weak economic performance," President Chissano said.
"The harsh reality contained in these figures is stunning and is likely to lead into despair of the afro-pessimists." He urged Africans not to allow themselves to succumb to despair. President Chissano said Africans had an opportunity to change their fate and that of incoming generations especially through the effective implementation of the New Partnership of Africa's Development (NEPAD). "In NEPAD we find laid down the strategies for our fight against absolute poverty, misery and disease," said President Chissano. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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