VICE-PRESIDENT Constantino Chiwenga yesterday said The African Factbook project was a brave march towards Africa’s development, as the continent was plagued by serious knowledge gaps about its heritage.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Chiwenga was addressing the one-day Africa Factbook International Stakeholders Consultative Conference organised by Book of African Records in partnership with African Union Commission and Research Council of Zimbabwe at Harare International Conference Centre.
“The lack of facts about Africa tends to adversely affect planning and monitoring of projects, tourism, exploitation of trade and investment opportunities, education and co-operation,” he said.
“In some cases, data is just not available. Perhaps this is because most African knowledge is not documented. Whenever it is, the story in most cases would have been written by non-Africans based on non-African sources.”
Chiwenga said the information gaps and ignorance about Africa retarded and stifled development efforts across the continent.
“The narrative about our unique heritage must be constructed more by our collective knowledge about ourselves than by that of others. The African Factbook project presents us with a great opportunity to present and promote an Afro-centric view of African phenomena as an alternative to the predominant biased and stereotyped views about Africa,” he said.
Chiwenga said there was need to document facts, statistics, dates and information and make them readily accessible, adding that publishing of the African Factbook would enable Africans to own their story.
“Africa Factbook should, thus, serves as a one-stop-shop for data about Africa, with much potential for improving the ease of doing business and reducing its cost. Ready availability of facts about Africa will no doubt help to unlock the potential of inter-African investment, including by Africans in the Diaspora,” he said.
The VP said the Africa Factbook project would help consolidate knowledge of Africa and inspire pride in the continent. Guests at the conference were entertained by In Total band, Pasichigare traditional dance group and the Police Band.