President Obiang Asks for Greater Investment in Agricultural Sector
June 30, 2014 | 0 Comments
Equatorial Guinea’s President, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon[/caption] President, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (http://equatorialguineainfo.blogspot.com), asked African countries to invest heavily in their agricultural sector to decrease their dependence on the developed world, ensure food security, and significantly reduce hunger in their countries. He made his remarks at the closing session of the Assembly of Heads of State of the African Union (AU). President Obiang said that Africa should reorient itself to ensure its independence and security of African states through the safe production of its own consumer goods. “Africa cannot be content to continue with the current dependence on the economies of the developed world. Africa is sailing upstream against a dependency that prevents them from moving toward sustainable development. Africa should rethink its relationship with the developed world to reduce as far as possible the gap that prevents access to development,” said Obiang. “The development of agriculture can greatly reduce this dependence,” he said. “Africa can ensure food security and significantly reduce hunger in our countries. Africa should heavily invest in agricultural development to transform itself in order to accelerate growth to increase production and productivity,” said Obiang. President Obiang proposed to the African Union the establishment of a program that focuses on the organization and exploitation of markets to promote trade and food security and to eradicate hunger, malnutrition and rural poverty. This will also reinforce the fight against climate change and agriculture. He said that Equatorial Guinea is already investing in its agricultural sector. “As part of our diversification plan, Equatorial Guinea currently focuses on [agricultural] production to achieve these goals. It is imperative to ensure the security and stability of our states, since agriculture is the most vulnerable sector in times of instability, war and terrorism.” said Obiang “It’s no coincidence that this session focuses on the issue of agriculture and food security in Africa. We cannot talk about the development of Africa if there is no agricultural development to ensure food security and avoid lifelong dependence on imports of consumer products.” He noted that Africa counts on the support of organizations focused on agriculture and ways to improve the sector, and urged continued support for those organizations. “The African Union must recognize and financially support the structures of non-governmental organizations, businesses and institutions created in Africa to support agriculture, such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).” Obiang linked democratic and economic development. “Africa must contribute to a democratic development aimed at achieving economic development of society and the welfare of its citizens. It must be a democracy that seeks conflict reduction, he said.” Obiang also urged his fellow Africans to prioritize South-South cooperation, a cooperation that respects the principles of equality. “The last decade has marked considerable advancements of the African states. Many of them aspire to economic emergence in the near future. Nonetheless, the continent continues to be a victim of endemic diseases and insecurity that require a unified solution of the states.” Obiang said it was a great honor for Equatorial Guinea to host the 23rd African Union Summit at “a moment that is crucial for the world nations as they struggle to find solutions to economic crises, security, hunger and poverty, and climate change that affect the world.” He said, “The participation of the heads of state and numerous guests in this summit shows the interest and commitment that Africa and its partners have to find solutions to current issues.” A session on agriculture and food security under the slogan “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture, for Shared Prosperity and Improved livelihoods, through Harnessing Opportunities” was held in the afternoon. ]]>
AU Says It's Progressing to Military Force by End of 2015
June 30, 2014 | 0 Comments
Africa is making progress towards a regional military force by the end of next year, a senior African Union official said on Wednesday, as local leaders urged less reliance on foreign intervention. Delays in implementing the African Standby Force (ASF) forced African states to request French intervention to tackle crises last year in Mali and Central African Republic. African officials have voiced skepticism that the 5,000-strong force, under discussion for more than a decade, would be ready by next year’s delayed deadline, prompting African leaders to approve a stop-gap rapid reaction force last year. Smail Chergui, the 54-nation African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security, said four of the five regional brigades due to make up the Standby Force were in an advanced state of readiness, including the North African one. At a a meeting to mark the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Peace and Security Council, he said “progress is being made to have [the Standby Force] fully operationalized by December 2015.” The Peace and Security Council was providing analysts to regional blocs in Africa for a continent-wide early warning system for conflicts, aiming at improving prevention, he said. Chadian President Idriss Deby said a series of conflicts across Africa – from South Sudan to Central African Republic – were a reminder its leaders that the continent needed to do more to strength its own security institutions. Ahead of a two-day summit of the African Union, which officially opens on Thursday in the capital of Equatorial Guinea, Deby called for more resources to be channeled into the AU’s Peace and Security Council. “It is time for us to take our destiny into our own hands,” he said, noting the rise of armed Islamist groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria presented a new kind of challenge for the continent’s security. However, South African President Jacob Zuma urged closer cooperation between the AU’s Peace and Security Council and the U.N. Security Council, in light of the continent’s limited resources to tackle crises on its own. “We need to do more to address the root causes of conflict on this continent,” Zuma said, urging the African Union to work more on crisis prevention and do work in post-conflict countries to prevent relapses into violence. More than 90 percent of the AU’s peace and security efforts, including its AMISOM mission in Somalia, are funded by external actors such as the European Union and United States. *Reuters]]>
Ministerial Working Group on Tourism meets in Seychelles to brainstorm on making Africa the preferred destination for tourism in the context of AU Agenda 2063
March 18, 2014 | 0 Comments
The African Union Ministerial Working Group on tourism sector development strategy have concluded a two-day brainstorming meeting on 14 March 2014 in Seychelles in view to strategise on how to make an African brand through tourism while attracting visitors to chose Africa as major destination. Key speakers at the opening ceremony of the Ministerial Working Group include, Dr. Elham Mamoud Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union, Mr Jean-Paul Adam, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Alain ST Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism of the Republic of South Africa and Mr Regis Immongault, Minister of Mines, Industry and Tourism of the Republic of Gabon in the presence of the Ambassador of the Republic of Seychelles in Addis Ababa, Mr. Joseph Nourrice, representatives of the diplomatic corps in Seychelles, AUC officials and invited guests. Addressing the participants Commissioner Elham Ibrahim recalled that the idea of organizing the Ministerial working group meeting, was initiated and discussed in Seychelles some times ago, between the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles. “For sure, there could not be a better venue for this meeting than this place which embodies the very spirit of tourism of our continent. For me, the name Seychelles immediately creates in my mind, images of all that is beautiful with Africa.”, she noted. The Commissioner underscored that the Ministerial Group Meeting will define the long term aspirations of the continent in the tourism sector. The African Union Commission, Commissioner Elham Ibrahim said, is in the process elaborating its long term strategy for speeding up development and integration of the continent. “This strategy which envisages Africa’s prosperity in the next fifty (50) years since 2013 is known as the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063. It will be comprehensive and articulate on the aspirations of the African peoples in all their socio-economic endeavors”, she underlined. The Commissioner added that, the African Union Commission is well aware of the huge direct and indirect contribution of tourism to the economies of African countries at both macro and micro levels. (See complete statement of the AUC Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy on the AU website: http://www.au.int ). The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles reiterated the need for AU Member States to strengthen the role and place of tourism within the political discourse in Africa so as to build on the African brand by harmonising policies on the tourism sector. Minister Jean-Paul Adam reassured the AU Commissioner that his country will work with the AU Commission to further strengthen this sector to achieve all the dreams expressed in the 2063 agenda. The Minister of Tourism and Culture of the Republic of Seychelles, on his part , hoped that the Ministerial working group will prepare a robust long-term strategy on tourism in Africa that will strengthen the role of the private sector and take into account the promotion of air connectivity among other infrastructures within the continent. “It is important for us as Africans to better connect our countries to create shared opportunities”, Minister Alain ST Ange added. He pointed out that Africa has a huge tourism potential in all aspects of the sector such as natural environmental wonders, exotic wildlife and plants, ancient cultures and historic relics. All these have not yet been well exploited and promoted to the extent of generating commensurate benefit to African countries. A presentation on the AU Agenda 2063 was done during the Ministerial Working Group on Tourism. According to the agenda, the Ministerial working group was called upon to identify and implement interventions that are required to optimize the role of tourism as an engine and a catalyst for economic development and growth in Africa. Some examples, within the AU Agenda 2063 framework were highlighted such as: undertaking joint marketing including packaging and promotion of cross-border tourism attractions; promoting joint projects for infrastructure development and investment– for example, promoting African cross-border investment in hotels, airport, roads, ports; capacity building for people working in the tourism industry; and removing tourism visa constraints among others. *SOURCE African Union Commission (AUC)/APO]]>
Press Statement of the Peace and Security Council on Elections in Africa
March 18, 2014 | 0 Comments
The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 424th meeting held on 12 March 2014, was briefed by the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission on elections in Africa during the first quarter of 2014. The briefing focused on upcoming national elections in Guinea Bissau, Algeria, Malawi and South Africa. Council commended the Department of Political Affairs for its comprehensive report on upcoming national elections in Africa during the first quarter of 2014 and requested the Department to submit to it a list of national elections to be conducted in AU Member States during 2014. Council further listened to the statements made by the representatives of Algeria, Malawi and South Africa on the state of preparations of the upcoming elections in their respective countries. In this regard, Council commended these countries for the efforts they are making to ensure smooth conduct of their elections. Council requested the Department of Political Affairs to make quarterly briefings on national elections in Africa to the PSC as part of AU efforts towards conflict prevention on the continent. Council encouraged the Commission to deploy both long-term and short term election observer missions in countries holding elections and to mobilize necessary resources to this end. *SOURCE African Union Commission (AUC)/APO]]>
Newly Established “African Union Foundation” Holds Inaugural Promoters’ Meeting in Addis Ababa
February 5, 2014 | 1 Comments
Following the convening of the African Union Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa, the inaugural promoters’ meeting of the newly established “African Union Foundation” was held. The meeting was led by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma, who is also the founder as legal representative of the African Union. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission presented, the objectives of the Foundation for voluntary contributions towards financing African priorities at the Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In attendance were the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, Mr. Erastus Mwencha, the AU Commissioners, the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Mr. P.J. Patterson,and first members of the inaugural council and guests. Established by the AU Assembly in May 2013, the African Union Foundation aims to finance African priorities through voluntary contributions. The mission of the Foundation is to “mobilize resources in support of the African Union’s vision of an integrated, people-centered and prosperous Africa, at peace with itself and taking its rightful place in the world”. To accomplish this mission, the Foundation will focus on five key programme areas in its first five years: 1) skills and human resource development, 2) women’s empowerment and gender equality, 3) regional integration, 4) youth development and entrepreneurship, and 5) advocacy and support for the African Union. “It is time for Africa to mobilize our own resources in support of our development and take charge of our own destiny,” said Chairperson Zuma. The Foundation will strive to more deeply engage Africa’s private sector, African individuals and communities, and leading African philanthropists to generate resources and provide valuable insight on ways in which their success can accelerate Africa’s development. The issue of domestic and alternative sources of funding has been an intrinsic element of the continent’s commitments of the Pan African values of self-determination, solidarity and self-reliance. The AUC Chairperson called on the participants to act as good will ambassadors to the foundation. *SOURCE African Union Commission (AUC)/APO]]>
Agenda 2063 will be a peoples’ document’ says the Commissioner for Economic Affairs
February 4, 2014 | 0 Comments
The Commissioner while emphasizing the ‘bottom-up’ approach of Agenda 2063 as the feature that distinguishes it from previous developmental frameworks, highlighted the important role member states, stake holders, and more importantly the African People have to play in determining the direction of Agenda 2063 so as to truly take ownership of the developmental framework of the continents next 50 years. The already identified stakeholders are the private sector, African academics, think tanks, planning experts and development specialists, civil society organizations, the Diaspora, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), AU organs and sections of society such as women, youth and the media. Reporting the outcome of the consultative process in developing Agenda 2063, Commissioner Maruping presented the wish for a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development, the wish for an integrated continent that is politically united and based on the ideals of Pan Africanism, the wish for an Africa of good governance, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law, the wish for a peaceful and secure Africa, the wish for an Africa with a strong cultural identity, values and ethics, the wish for an Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on Women and its youthful composition, and the wish for a strong Africa that is an influential global player and partner as the consolidated aspiration of the continent. The consultative process involved establishing a technical support team for the continental level discussion on Agenda 2063, providing the forum for participants to share the vision, propose goals, milestones, key drivers, and priority actions, undertaking technical analysis and review of national plans, regional and continental frameworks and the identification of the preliminary indicators and base line information as well as the development of guidelines for national and regional level consultations. Commissioner Maruping announced the plan to submit the final draft Agenda 2063 document to the AU Summit in July 2014 and urged the media to encourage citizens to participate fully in the development of the agenda. *AU/APO ]]>
African Union Commission Launches the African Union Foundation
February 4, 2014 | 0 Comments
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission launched, today, 1st February 2014 the “African Union Foundation” at the Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In attendance were the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, Mr. Erastus Mwencha, the AU Commissioners, the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Mr. P.J. Patterson, invited guests and personalities. Addressing the participants, Dr. Nkosazana stressed that, although the foundation accepts funds from outside donors, there is need to have alternative sources of financing from within Africa so that Africans can claim ownership of the foundation, “we should begin to fund our development ourselves” she said. Ministers of planning and finance have deliberated on the issue but will discuss further in detail in March, she added. Moreover, the issue of domestic and alternative sources of funding has been an intrinsic element of the continent’s commitments of the Pan African values of self-determination, solidarity and self-reliance. The AUC Chairperson called on the participants to act as good will ambassadors to the foundation. Established by the AU Assembly in May 2013 the African Union Foundation aims to finance African Priorities through voluntary contributions. The Foundation will focus mainly on critical issues in line with agenda 2063. Other priorities that will be funded by the foundation include the development of skills and human resource, women’s empowerment and gender equality, regional integration, youth development and entrepreneurship in Africa. Diversity management is also one of the main issues that will be addressed as it is a very important element for peace and stability. The Foundation supports and is derived from the African Union vision of “an integrated, people centered and prosperous Africa, at peace with itself and taking its rightful place in the world”. It is created to accommodate voluntary contribution from African private sector, African individuals, Philanthropic organizations, African Diaspora, companies doing business in Africa and any other donations or contributions. The issue of domestic and alternative sources of funding has been an intrinsic element of the continent’s commitments of the Pan African values of self-determination, solidarity and self-reliance. In this regard, it is deemed necessary for the various players including public, private and civil society to be mobilized to act in partnership to accelerate the pace of integration that has thus far been largely State led. *In Partnership with APO]]>
Deputy Chairperson of the AUC H.E. Mr. Erastus Mwencha briefed the press on Institutional Capacity Building
February 1, 2014 | 0 Comments
Mr. Erastus Mwencha Deputy Chairperson of the AUC held a press conference on January 30, 2014 at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa. In the briefing he discussed issues related to capacity building and financial independence of the AU and the alternative sources of funding that are being explored. He kicked off the meeting by explaining how capacity should be understood according to the African Union. In his explanation, the first type of capacity concerns having the mandate, structure, and sustainable funding, while the second type is the capacity to develop institutions in Africa that outlive individuals and the last one is the capacity to implement which as he explained includes capacity to mitigate disasters. While talking about the Commission itself, Mr. Mwencha said that different activities are being undertaken to improve internal and external communication, improve systems and methods of engagement to improve stakeholder management and most importantly to strengthen the Commission to be more responsive to the needs of the continent. In order to achieve this, the Deputy Chairperson said a series of actions will be taken, including human resource exercises, increasing the Union’s execution rate, improving communication and corporate governance and work on alternative sources of funding for the AU institutions. In his briefing, Mr. Erastus Mwencha, stressed the need for integration to move forward with the flexibility of taking in member states that are ready, and giving the alternative for the others to join later. As an important driver for the integration, the Commission in collaboration with Council for Infrastructure Development will endeavor to facilitate the implementation of the PIDA projects, aimed at boosting infrastructure and energy. In conclusion, Mr. Erastus Mwencha said that all the actions taken will feed into the new long-term strategic framework for the continent also known as the AU agenda 2063. He also stressed the need for inputs from all stakeholders for its successful completion as the foundation laid in 2014 will set the tone and determine whether a paradigm shift towards the realization of African renaissance is achieved. *Source African Union Commission (AUC)/APO *]]>
EMAIL FROM THE FUTURE, ELECTION OF NEW CHAIRPERSON AND AWARDS TO PROMINENT AFRICANS MARK OPENING SESSION OF AFRICAN UNION ASSEMBLY MEETING
January 31, 2014 | 0 Comments
An “email from the future” delivered by African Union Commission Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has served to encourage Africa to continue its fifty year development agenda (Agenda 2063), with the confidence that it is possible for the continent to achieve prosperity, integration and peace within that time, or less. Delivered during the opening of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, the email is written to a hypothetical “Kwame Nkrom” by “Nkosazana”. Speaking from the year 2063, after the full implementation of Africa’s Agenda 2063, the email lauds the progress achieved in initiatives that are, at present, being pursued by Africa. These include programmes on achieving an integrated Africa, developing industry and manufacturing, advanced use of information and communication technologies, mastery over the oceans and their wealth, beneficiation of minerals and natural resources, intra African trade, and sufficient infrastructure. In her message to “Kwame”, “Nkosazana” talks about an Africa that has turned itself from an importer of food to a major exporter. “My friend, Africa has indeed transformed herself from an exporter of raw materials with a declining manufacturing sector in 2013, to become a major food exporter, a global manufacturing hub, a knowledge centre,” the email reads. The Africa of 2063, according to the email, isno longer a dark continent but rather one which is lit up using hydro, solar, wind, and geo-thermal energy, in addition to fossil fuels. It isan Africa at peace with itself after having tackled the root causes of conflict. The email compliments the continent’s commitment to invest in its people, especially in the empowerment of young people and women, as being key issues that made peace happen. It mentions the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the formation of Organisation of African Unity held in May 2013 as having been the start of a major paradigm shift: a point where Africa took charge of its own narrative. After reading her “email from the future”, the Chairperson sent a word of encouragement to all of Africa, that the contents of the email can be a reality. “It is impossible until it is done,” she concluded. In the meantime, Dr Dlamini-Zuma announced the appointment of Mrs Binta Diop as Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, “to ensure that the voices of women and the vulnerable are heard much more clearly in peace-building and in conflict resolution”. The opening session of the Assembly was also addressed by the Under Secretary General of the United Nations, who spoke about how the African Union and the United Nations can work together to address pressing crises and to build on Africa’s progress, announcing that “The United Nations is your unwavering partner” in the quest for advancement and growth. The meeting, which elected President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania as the Chairperson of the African Union for the coming one year and Zimbabwe as the first Vice Chairperson, also heard from the newly elected President of the Republic of Madagascar Mr Rajonarimamnianina Rakotoarimanana who paid tribute to his country men and women for making the choice for the restoration of constitutional order and going to the ballot box to elect their leaders. He proclaimed a new dawn for development, peace and security in his country but also added the urgent need for vital assistance for the country to realize its full potential. President Jacob Zuma of South Africa took the floor to express his country’s appreciation for Africa’s support during the death and burial of its former President Mr Nelson Mandela last year. He paid homage to other African countries for having supported and harboured not just the leadership of the struggle against apartheid, but also many other South African liberation fighters and activists. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Haiti, Mr. Laurent Salvador Lamothe took to the stage to deliver the message of Haitian solidarity with Africa on behalf of the country’s President, Mr. Michel Joseph Martelly. Ethiopian Prime Minister Mr HaileMariam Desalegn gave his final address as Chairperson of the African Union before handing over to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. A press release on the Prime Minister’s statement as well as the statement itself is available at http://www.au.int *Shared by APO]]>
African Union Rejects Moves that Could Destabilize Mozambique
October 24, 2013 | 0 Comments
By Peter Clottey*
A spokesman says the African Union (AU) sharply condemns any attempt by individuals or groups to undermine peace, stability and development in Mozambique.
El-Ghassim Wane says the continental body is closely monitoring security in the southern African country.
“Mozambique has made tremendous progress both politically and economically over the past decade, and we believe it is important that progress … is preserved, and that we ensure that no attempt to destabilize the country succeeds,” said Wane.
His comments came after the opposition Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) group announced its decision to withdraw from a 21-year-old peace accorded with the ruling FRELIMO party that effectively ended the country’s civil war.
In a communique, the AU called for dialogue between President Armando Guebuza’s government and the opposition RENAMO to resolve differences that could lead to renewed conflict.
“The African Union is calling for restraint and dialogue and also clearly stating the rejection of any attempt to destabilize Mozambique,” said Wane.
Some analysts have expressed concern that an end to the agreement could signal a resumption of violence between the opposition and the government.
“The only way to resolve the issue at hand is through dialogue. The government has expressed its commitment to dialogue and RENAMO should accept that offer,” said Wane. “Mozambique has come a long way, and no efforts should be spared to ensure that the gains made in the past decade are preserved and consolidated.”
Mozambique government officials told VOA that on Tuesday supporters of RENAMO attacked a police station in Maringue. There were no reports of casualties in the town, which is located in the central part of the country near a RENAMO military base.
Wane said the AU supports negotiations between the two groups.
“We strongly believe that Mozambique and Mozambicans have the means and have the capacity to resolve this issue and to overcome the challenges facing them,” said Wane. “What we felt was necessary was of course to call for dialogue and in this we welcome the commitment of the government of Mozambique to dialogue, and we are calling on the RENAMO leadership to accept that offer unconditionally.”