New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee says Africa has achieved breakthroughs in various sectors, which will in a long term benefit the economy of the continent.

This was said by various leaders in the Opening Session of the 33rd Session of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee on Saturday at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg.

The programme for the day forms part of the 25th Ordinary African Union (AU) Summit that will end on Monday.

Welcoming the delegation to the Opening Session, South African President Jacob Zuma commended NEPAD for keeping the dreams and potential of Africa alive.

He said Africa is now reaping the benefits of macro-economic management and deepening integration into world economy.

“We continue to celebrate the fact that a number of the fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. More people are liberated from the shackles of poverty and more children are recipients of the right to education,” said the President.

President Zuma said institutions and democracy in African countries are much stronger today, but persisting challenges that cripples the process of economic growth in Africa should not be ignored.

He said poverty remains a key challenge and the widespread unemployment, especially among youth contributes to persistent inequality.

He said there is a huge difference in what Africa was decades ago to what it is now, and leaders are confident in taking the challenges head on.

“We have the commitment to address challenges on our terms. To succeed we must harness all our potential and no country will achieve prosperity on its own.

“We have one future… that is why we are investing so much time and money in the infrastructure programme and regional integration because we want to achieve sustainable growth and development,” said President Zuma.