Africa Day: ‘We are free and independent states’ – Ramaphosa

President Emmanuel Macron welcoming President Cyril Ramaphosa. PHOTO: Ludovic MARIN/AFP

Africa needs its own independence and “we want to help ourselves and not be told what is good for us”.

The Citizen reports, this is the message from President Cyril Ramaphosa in his weekly newsletter as the continent celebrates Africa Day on Tuesday, 25 May.

“The principle of ‘nothing about us without us’ should be applied. It is important that we affirm our sovereignty as free and independent states capable of determining the destiny of our continent.”

Ramaphosa said that while African countries have immediate financing needs, a sustainable economic recovery “can only be assured if we increase levels of investment on the continent”.

Last week, Ramaphosa joined several African leaders at a summit in Paris hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron on the financing of African economies in the post-Covid-19 era.

A sum of $33 billion by the IMF has since been allocated  to increase the reserves of African countries.

Ramaphosa said that while this was welcomed it was still not enough to tackle challenges faced by the continent.

“More developed economies are set to receive much of the $650 billion of Special Drawing Rights to be issued, we believe that 25% (which equates to $162.5 billion) should be made available to African countries.”

Ramaphosa also lamented the African men, women and children that cram into boats and makeshift rafts trying to reach Europe.

“According to relief organisations more than 20,000 people have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean since 2014.”

“Life is so difficult for millions of people on our continent and opportunities so few that they would risk their lives crossing the sea in pursuit of a better future. The Covid-19 pandemic has made people already suffering from the effects of conflict, under-development and poverty even more vulnerable.”

He said that was a need to deepen efforts to achieve a sustainable and lasting social and economic recovery for the citizens of Africa.

“Ours must become a continent that is thriving and prosperous, not one from which its people are dying in an attempt to leave,” said Ramaphosa.

The Citizen/ Siyanda Ndlovu