ADDIS ABABA- Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat said that the continental bloc has been witnessed significant progress in enhancing institutional capacity and support African countries to conduct fair, free and democratic elections.
He made the remark in his opening speech during the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of AU which was held under the theme “Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.” The Chairperson stated that gender mainstreaming and eradicating all discrimination against women as well as ensuring the participation and benefit of African youth are also areas successes have been gained.
Good results have been witnessed in the establishment of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and a single African Passport as well as Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). Noting that the AU-EU multifaceted relations and partnership have gotten maturity, Mahamat said that the opening of AUC oversee office in Beijing would enhance the partnership with China. The continental block has also a desire to strengthen relations with the five permanent members of the UNSC to represent and ensure Africa’s interests on the global stage.
For the outgoing AU Chairperson and Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, the success that has been registering so far reflect the long-standing commitment and aspirations of African leaders and citizens. Applauding the accelerating peace of ratification of the Continental Free Trade Area, he said that AU encourages those signatories who have not yet ratified the agreement to do so, at the earliest opportunity.
The agenda of the Summit reflects the capacity of the AU to address an increasingly complex range of challenges and priorities, he said, adding that AU considers specifications for the African Passport and considering it as a step forward on the path to full implementation of the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons. Reminding AU’s ground breaking meeting with key partners in the field of public health, the outgoing chairperson called on Member states to increase domestic funding for health programs that have made tremendous difference in the lives of people.
Expressing the need to embrace technologies, especially artificial intelligence, robotics, data mining, and cyber security, the outgoing Chairperson stressed that Africa should face the world as a unified bloc to secure its place in the world. AU also need to work closely with other regional organizations and the private sector to ensure the rights and interest of citizens.
Both speakers highlighted that an agile, healthy and effective organization is required to fulfil Africa’s political agendas and expressed concern in the danger migration, post-election conflicts and terrorist attacks have posed in Africa’s peace and development. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said for his part that African leadership, vison and compassion are the tools in the search for durable solutions to forced displacement as the continent hosts nearly a third of the world’s refuges.
Guterres noted that Africa’s governments and people have kept borders and hearts open to million in need despite their own social, economic and security challenges. “Unfortunately, this example has not been followed everywhere.” He reaffirmed UN’s commitment to work together with AU and Member States for the speedy rehabilitation and reintegration of migrants and internally displaced people in the view to give them better future.
The Ethiopian Herald, February 12/2019
BY BILAL DERSO