AU summit opens with focus on development, peace and security

Monday, February 10th, 2020 01:43 | By
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during the 33rd Ordinary session of the assembly of the African heads of states at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, Feb. 9, 2020. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)

Speakers at the 33rd session of the African Union (AU) summit that opened on Sunday in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, voiced views on development, peace and security and economic empowerment of women in Africa.

In his opening remarks, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU commission, noted that both manmade and natural disasters are challenging livelihoods of Africans, underlining on the need to have solidarity and strengthened efforts to address them and build on positive achievements.

Stating that the year 2019 has been with challenges of both manmade and natural ones in the world, in general, and Africa in particular, the Chairperson underlined on the need to constantly mobilize all energies in order to take up those challenges.

 Reiterating that persistent terrorism and instabilities due to conflicts in different parts of the continent, in which civilians and uniformed personnel die every week while children are away from schools, Mahamat called for solidarity with countries in those regions, including the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and the Lake Chad Basin.

"This deficit of active solidarity is one of the fragilities of our systems of resistance and our overall capacity of continental resilience.  I strongly wish that this African solidarity be the spearhead of the international support of our partners in the world," Mahamat said.

 "Our countries have made significant efforts in order to respond to the various challenges and demands. These efforts must be maintained and strengthened in order to avoid that our youth could take the perils path of immigration or to seek refuge in the terrorist doctrines," he noted.

In his capacity of the incoming chair of AU, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa noted that Africans should take the opportunity created with the African continental free trade area (AfCFTA) to spur industrialization, and thereby achieve Africa's aspiration of integration and prosperity.

 "The African Continental Free Trade Area that we adopted last year will enable us to work together through intra-Africa trade as it will re-ignite industrialization and pave the way for Africa's integration into the global economy as a player of considerable weight and scale."

"It is the realization of the dream of our fore parents to see the rich resource of our continent being marshalled for the collective benefit of all Africans," Ramaphosa has noted.

He has also urged fulfilling of responsibility by African leaders towards realizing the aspirations of development, peace and integrity on the continent.

In his opening remarks, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres dwelt upon three areas including addressing poverty, climate change, and also silencing the guns.

The Secretary-General has noted significant improvements in living standards, including access to quality education, health care services, food security, basic social services and infrastructure.

"But, progress remains slow and uneven when it comes to eradicating poverty and ending exclusion," Guterres said.

The Secretary-General has also underlined on the need that peace, social cohesion and sustainable development requires women's contribution and leadership.

Reiterating that women have an essential role in conflict prevention and political transition, Guterres called for stepping up efforts to ensure effective the effective implementation of the women, peace and security agenda in Africa and beyond. (Xinhua)  

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