ECOSOCC launches its Pan-African Month of activities to commemorate AU@20

By THANDISIZWE MGUDLWA

William Carew, Head of ECOSOCC Secretariat said, “The importance ofhaving a healthy Pan-Africanism discourse especially led by Africans,cannot be overemphasized. July 2022 marks 20 years since the DurbanSummit. It is at this summit where the African Union was formed. 2022is also nearly 60 years since the OAU was founded. Further, July 2004is when ECOSOCC was established to give full meaning to the peoplecentric vision of the AU in ensuring that the African citizens are atthe centre of their development. July just seems to be the rightmoment to reflect and take note of the progress made by people on thecontinent, having seen the great groundwork that was laid down by thecontinent’s founding fathers.”“The official launch of this Pan-African Month is a moment to reflectand assess the progress our continent has made in achieving the goalsoutlined in the AU Constitutive Act, as well as a moment to seekworkable solutions to the challenges the continent faces. It is alsoour hope that the African civil society will not shy away from takingan active role in the list of activities that have been planned forthis PAM.”So said William Carew, Head of ECOSOCC Secretariat, in his welcomeremarks at the launch of the month-long PAM activities on Friday.Carew also said the commemoration was the right moment to ascertainthe progress made by African people from the days of the founding ofthe OAU, emphasizing ECOSOCC’s key mandate of promoting dialoguebetween all segments of the African society on issues concerning thecontinent and its future.The Mid-Year Coordination Meeting (MYCM), which replaces the AU’smid-year summits, is seeking to create alignment and coordinationbetween the work of the Union and its 8 recognized RECs, dubbed as theAU’s building blocks of African integration.Importantly, the month of July 2022 or Pan African Month (PAM) marks20 years since the Durban Summit which established the AU; and closeto 60 years since the Organisation of African Unity ((OAU) was founded1963.In this regard, ECOSOCC is hosting a series of activities throughoutthe month of July 2022 in recognition of  the contributions of AfricanCivil Society Organizations (CSOs) to the continent’s integrationagenda.Amb Amr Aljowaily, strategic adviser to the deputy chairperson of theAU Commission, formally launched ECOSOCC’s PAM activities on Friday,last week, said Africa was now at a decisive moment to move towardsthe realization of the AU’s Agenda 2063 emphasizing the need forcollaborative efforts between private sector, government, and civilsociety to actualize ‘The Africa We Want’ since none of the sectorscould independently undertake the ambitious mission of transformingthe continent.Amb Aljowaily has called for “a genuine partnership which capitalizeson the respective roles of all social and institutional actors, onewhich is based on complementarity and not competition, on joininghands together and not pulling the ropes apart.Each actor, Amb Aljowaily added, has a role to play, a contribution tomake and a constituency to respond to. At the AU, we recognized thoseconcentric cycles long ago and we designed the structures that couldhelp achieve this potential.”Amb Aljowaily further described ECOSOCC as an “exceptional and unique”platform that could help to realize this potential, noting that therich diversity of CSOs in the calendar of activities for the Council’sPAM “provides the opportunity of harnessing the knowledge Africaneeds, especially in the age where knowledge is one of the most valuedresources. We look forward to learning the outcome of your richdiscussions containing practical ideas founded on solid research andvetted through participatory discussions.”“It is said that one hand cannot clap but it requires two to tango….we are at a moment when we have the potential to transform theContinent we so dearly inherited to the Africa we so genuinely want.It is at such moments of history that reflection is requested, andaction is expected. The ECOSOCC Civil-Society Pan-African Month is anopportunity to respond to this call and to meet that anticipation,” hesaid.Among other activities lined up for the PAM commemoration, ECOSOCCwould (July 12) feature a Forum on the nexus between inequality, foodand nutrition security, in collaboration with Oxfam, among otherpartners.The Forum is to take stock of what African governments are doing tofight inequality, raise awareness about the levels of inequality andcome up with “realistic and timebound” actions necessary to combat thecontinent’s inequality.Mukupa Nsenduluka, a policy officer at TJNA who spoke at the launch ofthe ECOSOCC PAM activities said the Forum was inspired by the 2022 AUTheme on Food Security and Nutrition, noting that the dialogue wouldseek to address Agenda 2063’s goals 3 and 20, the successfulrealization of which requires adequate financing and domestic resourcemobilization mechanisms necessary to finance nutrition and foodsecurity.“Having realized that Agenda 2063’s aspirations and goals cannot beachieved without adequate financing, we have identified the extractivesector, which includes mining as well as the oil and gas sector inAfrica, as the key sectors that can finance these [food and nutritionsecurity] aspects of Agenda 2063 through optimal tax revenuecollection and value addition,” said Nsenduluka.And speaking at the PAM launch, Peter Kamalingin, Oxfam Pan Africanprogram director, stated Oxfam’s renewed commitment to the ideals ofPan Africanism as contained in its recent global strategic frameworkwhich seeks to end the prevailing global economic system it describesas “ exclusive, extractive, colonial and racist” pointing out the needto always have the right analysis of challenges facing the continentso as to shape the right narrative and propose right solutions to thecontinent’s endemic problems.“We need to decolonize the way we describe problems and the way wepropose solutions as we cannot import development and this is why oneof our most critical areas of interest is to increase researchknowledge. Most importantly, we need to invest in people and buildtheir agencies which will allow them to organize and this is why thecivil society is important, because they are the means through whichcitizens can relate constructively with their governments,” Kamalinginnoted.Another activity being organized as part of the ECOSOCC PAMcelebrations is a dialogue forum on ‘Leveraging Africa’s extractivesector for nutrition and food security financing’ to be hosted on July13, in collaboration with the Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA), amongothers.This 1-day Forum is to focus on the role of the extractive sector intackling Africa’s domestic resource mobilization challenges.Another activity lined up for ECOSOCC’s commemoration of the 20thanniversary of the AU is a 3-day Citizens’ Forum on Democracy andUnconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa (July 11 -13), incollaboration with the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).Other ECOSOCC activities put together for July are a 1-day HighlevelDialogue on Gender Inequality and Food Systems in Africa (July 13), aswell as an E-symposium on the 2022 AU Theme of the Year (July 29),among other activities.ECOSOCC Pan-African month was organized in collaboration with variouspartners, some of whom gave brief remarks on their Pan-African Monthevents as well as the importance of reigniting the spirit ofPan-Africanism. Mukupa Nsenduluka, Policy Officer at Tax JusticeNetwork Africa; Peter Kamalingin, Oxfam Pan Africa Programme Director;Maunda Hermis Zambia Representative of Joining Forces Alliance; andYavi Madurai, Executive Director of Pan African Business Women’sAssociation (PABWA) gave remarks at the launch.To learn more about the PAM, please visit www.ecosocc.au.int ANDhttps://www.auecosocc.org.

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