AU commits to work with China’s Silk Road initiative to drive African development

By Amos Fofung

In lieu to fostering the socio-economic development of Africa, the African Union representative mission to the United States has committed to work hand-in-hand with the Silk Road initiative so as to achieve its vision 2063; A blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future.

The commitment was reaffirmed Monday November 4, at the AU office in Washington DC during the third annual conference of the Silk Road Summit which sought to explore Business, Trade & Investment Opportunities on the New Silk Road for its partner stakeholders including Europe, Asia and Africa.

Organized by the Eurasia Center and Eurasian Business Coalitionin cooperation with the Silk Road Nations and their Representatives (Europe/Asia/Africa) the gathering witnessed the participation of from representatives of U.S. Government Agencies and the U.S. Congress, Multilateral Development Banks, Corporations and Trade Associations, Policy Centers and Foundations, diplomates and global investors the world over.

Participants sat first at United States Congress and later moved to the African Union Representational Mission were Terek Ben Yousef, Chargé d’Affaires at the representative mission reaffirmed the AU’s position as a promoter of partnership.

Citing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement as a transformative initiative capable of boasting trade in Africa with its partners, the diplomat pointed that US has a vital role in transforming Africa infrastructure, a continent he brandished as “hopeful” with enviable return on investment.

 To Ben Bangoura,Director, Africa Program EuroAsia center the time is ripe for Europe, America and Asia to work towards the development of Africa and its people; as he highlighted the continent potentials of been a market leader in the future. And such development, he added was in course thanks to such gatherings.

He did not fail to enumerate the numerous advantages ushered in by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement specifying that the continent now has a stronger voice to do business internationally.

His opinion was well shared by Scott Ticknor, Senior Adviser at the Corporate council on Africa who tagged the ACFTA as a Pan-African dream come through.

Sharing light on US investments and presence in Africa, a country with six of the world’s tenth growing economies, Scott was optimistic of US-African trade growth and the future of their cooperation.

Dr. Yan Wang, senior consultant at the African Development Bank who previously served at a World Bank Economist, examined the impact of aid to developing countries. Campaigning that Africa needs to look far beyond aid for its infrastructural development, just like other panelist, she shared the optimism of the potential of the young continent.

Other speakers at the summit included; a representative of Ambassador Haïdara Mamadou of the Embassy of Côte d’Ivoire, Ralph Winnie, Jr., China Director, VP Global Business Development, Eurasia Center/EBC, Diana Tsutieva, International Dispute Resolution Attorney, Foley Hoag Sanja Sovran, PhD, CEO, Infinity Global Consulting LLC, Tony Padilla, Director, Cargo and Commercial Sealift, U.S. Maritime Administration, Lyuba Varticovski, Senior Researcher, National Institutes of Health, NCI, CCR, Robert Ichord, Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center, The Atlantic Council William L. Polen, Senior Director, USEA, US Energy Association and Brad Johnson, President, Resource Mobilization Advisors.

Discussions came to an end with the recognition of strategic partners and promoters of Euroasia activities, with the African Union receiving special award for its commitment to promote the silk road initiative within its AU member states.

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