2015 is the Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063, and Africa Day (May 25 this year is the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the African Union. President Mugabe, Chairperson of the African Union in his message said the African Union, had taken a great leap in gender equality, specifically on women empowerment and development. Women, the world over, were the cornerstone of stability and social progress. Most Member States, he said, had moved “to mainstream gender issues into their national laws and development programs.” President Mugabe said it was urgent and imperative to establish the African Stand by Force, had become more, and it was time for Africa to industrialize economies and move away from the continued exportation of its raw materials for the benefit of others. He noted the adoption of the Economic Blue Print, Agenda 2063, to be implemented in Five Ten-Year Plans, the first to be adopted next month; and he called for member states to implement the innovative ways of generating revenue so the AU could fund itself. As a Union, he said, “we must build an Africa that is prosperous, economically integrated and politically guided by the ideals of Pan Africanism, subscribing to democracy and that respects human rights and the rule of law.” He underlined the importance of peaceful and secure Africa with its own cultural identity, common heritage and shared values, whose development is based on the creativity of its people, particularly its youth and women. In his message for Africa Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon noted the “great courage and determination and generous support of African nations and the international community,” that had made remarkable progress toward ending the Ebola outbreak. He said continued to make steady economic, social and political progress with overall growth of roughly 4% in 2014 “creating one of the longest stretches of uninterrupted positive economic expansion in Africa’s history”. With investment in education, health and infrastructure increasing, the prospects for much of Africa are bright. The challenge was to spread these benefits more broadly and deeply, particularly to the women and girls. The Secretary-General applauded Africa’s vision to build, by 2063, a peaceful and prosperous continent where democracy, human rights and the rule of law are entrenched and flourishing, starting with the aim to silence all guns by 2020.