President Joyce Banda on Friday left for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to attend the 50th anniversary of the African Union (AU) Summit from May 26 to 27, 2013.
Briefing journalists on departure at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in the capital, Lilongwe, the President said poverty reduction remains high on her agenda and that she goes to Addis Ababa with suggestions on how leaders on the continent can work together to end the misery among citizens as a result of abject poverty.
“Africa is plagued by wars, disease and abject poverty. I am taking to AU a message of hope that the sorry situation can be reversed; we have seen it here in Malawi that we’ve persevered and survived a year of misery and hopelessness but we are now able to see some change; indeed some hope and transformation in the economy.
“Africa as a continent can do it; my message is that as leaders, we must move along with the ordinary people. We must pursue inclusive policies if they are to mean anything to the people; they must own the processes,” said the Head of State.
President Banda, who will join fellow African Heads of State and Government for the 21st Ordinary Session of the Assembly, said as a commemorative gathering, the Summit will among others, recognize and honour African heroes who have immensely contributed to the development and promotion of African values, including independence and democracy.
She expressed pleasure that four Malawians were on the list—liberation fighter, Reverend John Chilembwe, Father and Founder of the Malawi nation, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, retired politician Rose Chibambo and former President Bingu wa Mutharika.
“We must congratulate ourselves for our own heroes are there on the list. I must specifically salute the late Dr. Kamuzu Banda as he is being honoured for his contribution in the founding of the regional organization. Late President Mutharika is also remembered for some noble contributions he made during his time including being Chairman of AU,” explained the President.
President Banda will deliver a speech on 25 May (Africa Day) commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity/African Union, addressing themes such as democracy, rule of law and political stability and economic integration.
The anniversary will facilitate and celebrate African narratives of past, present and future that will enthuse and energize the African population while using their constructive energy to accelerate a forward looking agenda of Pan-Africanism and Renaissance in the 21st century.
The President was seen off at KIA by Vice President Khumbo Kachali, diplomats and various government and governing People’s Party (PP) dignitaries.