Africa not a place of crisis, conflict: ED

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Sindiso Mhlophe

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa, pictured, yesterday launched the first edition of the Africa Factbook, describing it as a tool that will dispel myths and beliefs that the African continent is always in conflict and crisis.

This comes as Zimbabwe recently came under regional and international scrutiny over alleged human rights crisis after the arrest of opposition politicians and activists linked to the foiled July 31 anti-corruption protest.
Speaking during the official launch of the book and a Mobile Museum of African Liberation held at the State House in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa said the book was indicative of the fact that Africans were peace-loving people.
“We have given more to the world than take from it. In the Factbook, we see that Africans have always sought human progress, neighbourly co-existence and common goals. Even today, we must dispel the myths and perspectives of a continent in perpetual conflict and crises. Africa intellectuals have a special contribution to make in the development of our mother continent, Mnangagwa said.
He said the book would motivate Africa and strengthen its people’s resolve to build the continent.
“The first edition of the Africa Factbook has been produced under the theme Busting the Myths and is a historic effort to go back to the fundamental issues of the African experience and tackle the most basic facts.
“It will contribute towards the cultural, educational, mental and economic emancipation of African people. The continued narratives and myths which must be debunked vary from time to time across generations. Some purport that the people of Africa have no history and that our monuments were not built by us indigenous local people in this continent, while other myths are that we are not innovators or inventors,” Mnangagwa said.
“The origins of some of the world’s greatest inventions and discoveries are in Africa. We learn that the pyramids were built by our forefathers. We learn that the Dogons of Mali, experts of astronomy, space and stars, existed hundreds of years before Nicolaus Copernicus studied the science. We further learn that the greatest traveller of the Middle Ages was in fact Ibn Battuta of Morocco who wrote a book that was used by many explorers, including Christopher Columbus as reference and directory maps later on.”
South Africa’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mphakama Mbete, representing the country’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is the current chairperson of the African Union, said the Africa Factbook was a corrective effort meant to set the continent’s record straight.
“The history of the world and the endeavour of the human race are told through stories of people and their cultures. Some stories are well known and some are still to be told. For centuries, Africa’s story has been told by others, often by those who have occupied our land and subjugated our people. The time has come for the African voice to be heard.
“The Africa Factbook is a response to 600 years of silence while others spoke on our behalf. As a result, there is a pervasive myth that Africa is a place of war, hunger, disease and backwardness. It is presented as a continent without a history of its own and with few prospects on a prosperous and peaceful future,” he said.
“As part of our efforts to end poverty and build a better future, we need to present Africa as it is, as it was and how we wish it to be. We must challenge the myths that have for too long stood in the way of international cooperation, friendship, development and investment by making the authentic voice of Africa heard more clearly on the global stage.”
The Africa Factbook was created by the Institute of African Knowledge, in partnership with the AU, and contributions were made by various stakeholders in the continent.

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