Thursday, July 29, 2010
STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY PROFESSOR BINGU WA MUTHARIKA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI AND CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN UNION AT THE OFFICIAL CLO
HIS EXCELLENCY DR. BINGU WA MUTHARIKA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI
CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN UNION
HIS EXCELLENCY PROFESSOR BINGU WA MUTHARIKA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI AND CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN UNION
AT THE OFFICIAL CLOSING CEREMONY OF THE
15TH ASSEMBLY OF THE HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT OF THE AFRICAN UNION
27TH JULY, 2010
YOUR EXCELLENCY, MR. YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA;
YOUR EXCELLENCIES, HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT AND OTHER HEADS OF DELEGATIONS;
YOUR EXCELLENCY, SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UN SECRETARY GENERAL;
YOUR EXCELLENCY DR. JEAN PING, CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION;
DISTINGUISHED INVITED GUESTS;
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
I wish to begin by expressing once again, our heartfelt gratitude to the Government and People of The Republic of Uganda, for hosting us and putting in place, excellent facilities, which have gone a long way to contribute towards the successful conclusion of our meeting. I also wish to congratulate Your Excellencies, fellow Heads of State and Government for your rich and active participation in the Summit deliberations, which is a demonstration of your commitment to ensure that our organization lives up to our people's expectation.
Your Excellencies and Dear Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Having reached a successful conclusion of yet another Summit, the challenge which now remains is implementation of the Decisions and Declarations we have made. You will recall that in my acceptance speech early this year, in Addis Ababa, I lamented over the fact that our organization is very good at passing Declarations and issuing Declarations but with little to show on the implementation side. I wish to repeat what I said, that time for passing of Decisions and Declarations is long gone and its now time for action and more action so that our people are able to see tangible benefits of their countries being member states of The African Union.
This Summit has discussed challenges facing the majority of African women and children and has also discussed challenges facing the majority of women and children and has identified solutions to these as outlined in the Actions for Accelerated Achievement of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Development in Africa. The Actions we have adopted, can only be achieved by employing strong commitment and political will for implementation at continental level but also through implementation at national level. This is important because there is a tendency to think that all what we agree here has to be implemented by the AU Commission only, when, in fact, we could achieve more if we were to adopt and incorporate what we agree during Summits in our own national programmes and programmes of our respective Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
In order for our continent to achieve meaningful development, we need peace and security to prevail over Africa, that is why the African Union always places peace and security as its priorities. During the Session we have noted with satisfaction, positive developments taking place towards good governance and consolidation of democracy in most African countries through the holding of free and fair elections. As Chairperson of The Union, I wish to encourage all countries to continue along that path.
While expressing satisfaction with the general peace and security prevailing in most parts of Africa, the Session has noted with concern over lack of progress in finding solutions to the political problems in Madagascar. I therefore, would like to appeal to all stakeholders involved in mediation process not to place personal interests above the national interests.
Our meeting did also review the situation of Somalia where the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) continues to fight against The Al shabab militants. While we have renewed our support for The Transitional Federal Government, there is need for us as African Union and indeed the international community at large, to take a step further than merely expressing solidarity. The Transitional Federal Government and people of Somalia need help, and The African Union should take a leading role in the promotion of peace and reconciliation in Somalia. In this regard, I wish to commend efforts being taken by member states of The Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for the role they continue to play in finding solutions to the Somali problem. The African Union, also wishes to express its appreciation to the Troop Contributing Countries to AMISOM, namely Burundi and Uganda, for their invaluable contribution to peace in Somalia and for the sacrifices made.
Your Excellencies, Dear Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen;
The Session, as you will recall, also tackled other global challenges such as climate change. It is important for our continent to be an active participant on matters related to this global problem. In this regard, I would like to appeal to all member states to champion the African Common Position on Climate Change at various fora as we prepare for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 16th and 17th Conferences of States Parties which are due to take place in Mexico and South Africa in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Effects of climate change are there for all to see and we in Africa have to play our own role in mitigating its effects. In this regard, let me take this opportunity to applaud the efforts of Prime Minister Zenawi in championing climate change issues in The African Union.
The African Food Basket Concept, which I have launched during this Session, is a focused approach that highlights agriculture and food security as the spring board for economic growth. While it is an initiative of The Republic of Malawi, it is my hope that it will be adopted and owned by all member states so that together we achieve its goals and objectives for the benefit of our continent. I also call upon our cooperating partners to support the initiative so that together we achieve sustainable meaningful development in Africa and beyond.
Your Excellencies, Dear Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen;
I wish to conclude by expressing, once again, my profound gratitude to Your Excellencies for the support you continue to give me as Chairperson of The African Union and I look forward to your continued support.
At this juncture, I wish to declare the 15th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, officially closed.
God Bless Mother Africa.
God Bless the African Union
I thank you.
African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, H.E. Jean Ping
ADDRESS BY H.E JEAN PING, CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION ON THE OCCASION OF THE 17TH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
22 JULY 2010, KAMPALA
VERSION 7 OF 21 JULY 2010
Madam the Chairperson of the Executive Council,
Right Honorable Eriya Kategaya, First Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister for East African Community Affairs of the Republic of Uganda,
Excellency the Executive Secretary of the ECA,
Distinguished Heads of Delegation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me, first and foremost, [to add my voice to that of my predecessor] to renew, on behalf of the Commission and on my own behalf, to the Government and to all our Ugandan brothers and sisters seriously afflicted by the two bomb attacks perpetrated in Kampala, a little less than two weeks today, our sincere condolences and our unflinching support. Our special thoughts go to the family of the victims. We take this opportunity to wish the injured a speedy recovery.
I would like to thank the Representative of the host country for his words of welcome, to which I add my own. I would also like to ask him to kindly convey to the highest Authorities of his country and to the people of Uganda our most sincere thanks for the brotherly hospitality extended to all of us since our arrival so as to make our stay a pleasant one, and for the excellent facilities provided to ensure fruitful deliberations on the occasion of the 17th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council.
Since your last January session, many events have taken place in the world and on our continent.
For instance, the world economy is showing signs of recovery although its development remains volatile as evidenced by public debt crisis, global instability, unemployment, the euro crisis, record deficits and fragile balance sheets of banks.
For Africa, notwithstanding the slight decline in growth, generally-speaking, our countries have demonstrated a remarkable capacity for resilience. Growth is back on track and we are one of the regions of the world with a promising future. Today, Africa is called upon to at long last “forge a place for itself”, in the world political order as demanded by Abbé Sieyes for the “Third Estate”. Indeed the year 2010 proclaimed as Africa Year, may be the turning point of the continent’s take off and we all have a role to play in this.
The Commission, for its part, is aware of the scope of its responsibility in this exercise, the magnitude of which can only strengthen our resolve to forge ahead, more than ever before in our human and institutional capacity building, and in the reforms and improvements to be made to ensure transparent and accountability-driven management of the resources entrusted to us.
Given the opportunities available to the Continent, one of the major objectives to which I attach particular importance and which I plan to place at the heart of our preoccupations at the threshold of the second half of my mandate, with the support of Member States and our partners, would be the launching of the implementation of the major programmes and projects identified for the development of the continent, side by side with the abiding quest for an Africa at peace with itself and the rest of the world and working to assert its place in global governance. Consistent with this endeavour are the common position taken in Copenhagen and continued mobilisation under the aegis of CAHOSCC in the lead up to the important Cancun meeting.
Allow me, at this juncture to thank Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for his unrelenting efforts to enable Africa to speak with one voice on this occasion.
During the reporting period, the Commission has pursued its efforts towards the implementation of the continental integration agenda and the consolidation of peace and security on the continent, on the basis of the guidelines of the 2009-2012 Strategic Plan and of shared values of good governance.
To this end, emphasis was placed on fast tracking the process for the operationalisation of the Continental Peace and Security Architecture, strengthening initiatives for the settlement of existing conflicts and the consolidation of restored peace, pursuing conflict prevention efforts, combating terrorism, disarmament related issues, reforming the security sector, protecting civilians within the context of peace operations, as well as maritime security and safety.
The Commission has in this context continued its efforts aimed at strengthening the interconnection of the early warning systems of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the Situation Room of the African Union through its VSAT programme.
Furthermore, I am pleased to note, during the period under review, the involvement of Member States in the activities organised by the Commission to mark the Year of Peace and Security in Africa. I had the strong feeling that the belief that a lasting peace is possible on the continent was shared by all and that the willingness to achieve this initiative which called for our collective participation was the motivating factor of each and every one. One of the highlights will be 21 September 2010 proclaimed by a United Nations resolution as the International Day of Peace.
On the ground, however, we cannot but acknowledge with pain the fact that peace, stability and democracy in Africa are still fragile, as evidenced by the recent bomb attacks experienced by our host country. The Commission continues to deploy a lot of efforts in its activities to support peace processes in the various Member States concerned such as The Comoros where an Agreement for the management of the interim period was concluded in Moroni on 16 June 2010, under the auspices of my Special Envoy and the completion of the electoral process leading to the election of the new President from the Island of Mohéli scheduled for mid-January 2011.
In Madagascar, the efforts invested to reach an agreement on a consensual and all-inclusive transition have yet to pay off, despite the combined endeavours of the AU, SADC and our international partners.
In Somalia, the priority of AMISOM as Africa’s emblematic operation backed by the International Community is to support, among other things, reconstruction of the security sector institutions and to backstop the peace and reconciliation efforts of the Federal Transition Government (FTG) of which the Agreement of 15 March last concluded with ASWJ at the African Union Headquarters was an encouraging result. Given all these relevant factors, today it is of the highest importance that bold political and legal measures are taken to significantly enhance the strength, the resources and equipment of AMISOM.
The beginning of the normalisation of relations between Djibouti and Eritrea through the mediation of Qatar is commendable, and it is hoped that it will not flounder but inexorably lead to the settlement of differences between Eritrea and Ethiopia as well as impact positively on the situation in Somalia. [We hope that the efforts of the Personal Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Western Sahara will also be successful.]
As regards the situation in The Sudan, there has been significant progress on the ground, particularly from the security and political perspectives, following the April 2010 general elections in respect of which a High-Level African Union Group played a commendable role and AU observers were sent. Similarly, consultations with the Sudanese parties concerned on issues related to the referendum and a post-referendum period were initiated by the High-Level Panel on Sudan at Mekele, Ethiopia on 21 June 2010. As for Darfur, the efforts deployed were geared towards the establishment of an inclusive political process involving all the actors, including the warring factions, the political parties, the civil society, the displaced persons, the dignitaries and other concerned social groups. An Advisory Body on Sudan co-chaired by the African Union and the United Nations has been put in place to coordinate and strengthen the support of the International Community working for peace in the country.
Significant initiatives were also undertaken by the Commission under the integration, development and cooperation pillar.
In the area of education which plays a primary role in the realisation of the Vision and Mission Africa has set for itself in terms of development, the Commission has deployed efforts towards the implementation of the Plan of Action for the Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006-2015). Today, higher education and scientific research feature among the main pillars of the continent’s development architecture; I am pleased at the commitment and enthusiasm demonstrated by our Member States and our partners vis à vis the flagship project for the establishment of the Pan-African University which is reaching a decisive stage in its implementation process. The Commission is awaiting a decision of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government for the effective take off of the first institutes of the Pan-African University.
In the area of Science and Technology, the efforts of the Commission supported by Member States and institutions or partner countries have culminated among other things to the organisation in 2009 of the African Union Science and Technology Award, renamed this year as the “African Union Kwame NKRUMAH Science Award” and the signing on 6 July last of the Headquarters’ Agreement of the African Science, Technology and Innovation Observatory with the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and the proposed launch of the Science and Technology Decade (2011-2020).
It is no secret to anyone that more than half of Africa’s population is young and what that represents as an asset, if one also takes into account the size of this population. Cognizant of these assets, our Heads of State and Government in January 2009 proclaimed 2009-2018 as the Decade for Youth Development and Empowerment which provides among other things for an African Union Youth Volunteer Corps that actively associates the youth to development processes in Member States.
At this juncture, I would like to express here my wholehearted gratitude to the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for having accepted to host the training session of the first contingent of the African Union Youth Volunteer Corps.
In the Health and Hygiene sectors, the Commission’s efforts were focused on the pursuit of the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA). Thirteen (13) Member States have launched this campaign nationwide and eight (8) others would do so by the end of the year. We hope that during this Summit which is being held under the theme “Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa”, and at the end of the deliberations which we trust will be productive, the other Member States will come on board.
My report also gives an overview of the activities undertaken as part of the implementation of the instruments for the protection of the rights and welfare of the child and the promotion of youth development, including the conclusions of the Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth held last April at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. With regard to sports, we are proud of the excellent organisation by South Africa of the first ever World Cup in the African Continent. It was a veritable continental festival, as this country we hold so dear demonstrated all its skills and know-how in terms of hospitality and provided all the infrastructure facilities needed for this world event. It is worth highlighting also the mobilisation shown by several countries to celebrate Africa Day on 25 May 2010 on the chosen theme “Building and Maintaining Peace through Sports in Africa”. May I more especially mention Ghana and South Africa which celebrated this Day with great pomp and pageantry. We hope that all the other Member States will join the subsequent celebrations of this historic Day. Mozambique should also be commended for the arrangements it is making to host the 10th All Africa Games in September 2011.
In the priority area of infrastructure and energy, the Commission has mobilized considerable resources to conduct the necessary studies for investments, among which I would like to mention just a few examples.
The Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) which we launched here was prepared with the collaboration of the African Development Bank and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency. € 7.8 million has already been secured from our development partners to provide the Union with a continental infrastructure development vision by the year 2030.
As regards energy, despite its vast potentials, the 37% energy access rate is the lowest in the world. An evaluation programme currently underway, to the tune of about € 60 billion, would, among other things, make it possible to achieve 15500 MW of new renewable energy installations.
The 2020 Hydroelectricity Initiative aims at the promotion of potential sites such as the Inga in DRC which with a potential of 40 000 MW could provide electricity supply to close to 400 million people.
The exploitation of the geothermal potential in East Africa estimated at 14 000 MW would contribute significantly to energy security. The outcomes of the study on the exploitation of solar energy estimated at more than 100 000 MW will be tabled before you at the next January 2011 Summit.
In the transport sector, the Commission’s efforts are currently focused on the implementation of the major regional infrastructure projects. These include projects for the completion of the missing segments on the major transport corridors including transcontinental highways such as:
The Dakar-N’djamena-Djibouti corridor, the Djibouti-Libreville corridor, the Beira-Lobito corridor;
The Kinshasa-Brazzaville bridge and the Gambia bridge project;
The Cotonou-Niamey-Ouagadougou link feasibility studies.
In the ICT sector, the Pan-African network for Tele-medicine and Tele-education has already been installed in 34 Member countries of the Union to the tune of US$135 million. The harmonisation of ICT policies continues within the context of a € 6 million project. The same goes for the broad band network development project and the regional infrastructure data base interconnection system.
These efforts supplement those initiatives in Member States and the Regional Economic Communities, and it is worth pointing out here that there is need to define the priorities not within national borders as in the past, but rather in a regional context.
With regard to agriculture and the environment, whereas the agricultural sector witnessed a net growth at continental and regional levels, the fact remains that in 2008, only 9 African countries met the CAADP 6% annual agricultural growth target. During the last 9 months, 18 Member States have signed their CAADP Compacts, including 12 in ECOWAS and 6 in COMESA.
The Commission with the help of specialised agencies of the United Nations system and of AfDB and ECA, has developed a programme aimed at increasing agricultural production and laid the foundations for agro-industries in Africa.
The Commission also undertook a new action aimed at strengthening risk management and the protection of our investments in agricultural production. To this end, we have convened a RECs high level task force, experts and partner agencies to reflect on how to obtain rapid results. The creation of the African Risk Management Capacity (ARC) with the technical assistance of the World Food Programme (WFP) forms part of this initiative. This is a Pan-African Common Disaster Risk Fund which allows participating Member States to have access to ready cash in the event of severe drought, flooding and cyclone.
The preliminary results show a 50% savings on the diversification of drought-related losses across Africa. This concept was approved by the Conference of African Ministers of Finance meeting in Lilongwe last March.
With regard to partnerships in general, the Commission has pursued its efforts aimed at strengthening the existing partnerships with the rest of the world on the basis of the relevant decisions of the Assembly. We have passed the hurdles of these past two years and were supported in our efforts by all the Member States, with the effective and interactive cooperation of our partners and regional and international organisations with whom we have concluded strategic partnership agreements. Such agreements enable us to implement the programmes and projects contained in the decisions of the Assembly and the Executive Council as well as in the Strategic Plan, and underpin both the continent’s sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals.
In this connection, the 1st High-Level USA-AU bilateral meeting was successfully held in Washington DC, last April with the aim of establishing a multidimensional partnership.
In the same vein, the 2nd Ministerial Conference on the Follow-up of the Implementation of the TICAD IV Action Plan was held in Arusha, Tanzania early last May.
I am appreciative of the efforts being deployed by Turkey since the last Africa-Turkey Summit to step up the commercial exchange flows with Africa as well as its investments on the continent.
During the period under review preparations have been made with regard to two important meetings scheduled in Libya, in October and November, respectively. These are the 2nd Afro-Arab Summit, 33 years after its first edition and the 3rd Africa-Europe Summit. In this connection, allow me to say a word about this Second Afro-Arab Summit. As the matter of fact, the low participation of African States in the preparatory meetings was noted. Consequently, I would like to make an appeal to all Member States to ensure that the Second Summit is a success. I wish to recall that this Second Summit is taking place 33 years after the first one.
During the last Session of the Executive Council, significant progress was made concerning the process for the establishment of three financial institutions as provided for under Article 19 of the Constitutive Act of the Union. This progress has been made possible thanks to the cooperation between the Commission and the Member States designated to host these institutions, namely Libya for the African Investment Bank (AIB), Cameroon for the African Monetary Fund (AMF), and Nigeria for the African Central Bank (ACB). We thank the respective Authorities of these countries for the efforts they have exerted in this regard.
Concerning the AIB, the Protocol and the Statutes of the Bank are currently being submitted for signature and ratification by Member States. Africa’s huge financing requirements underscore the urgency of these ratifications, and it is hoped that AIB will see the light of day in a not too distant future.
The texts establishing the AMF are expected to be submitted for consideration and adoption by the Heads of State and Government during the January/February 2011 Summit.
Mention should be made here of the initiative taken by the Republic of Guinea to call for the convening of an African Ministerial Conference on Innovative Financing Mobilisation Strategies. This Conference, supported by the Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development meeting in Lilongwe, will be in preparation for the 4th United Nations Conference on Financing for Development.
The international economic environment is still marked by the search for solutions to the deep crisis that shook all the economies, especially those of the major trading partners of Africa. In this context, the political will expressed by the major international business players to conclude the Doha cycle negotiations in 2010 is taking a long time to become a reality.
With the positive growth prospects that are taking shape in Africa, the LDCs are hoping for a rapid implementation of the decisions taken in their favour concerning access to duty and quota-free markets, the simplification of rules of origin applicable to their exports, finalisation of the aspects of the trade related cotton dossier.
By placing the 2011 Summit under the theme “Shared Values”, our leaders want to underscore Africa’s commitment to consolidate the democratisation and good governance process initiated on the continent. Since the transformation of the OAU to the AU, significant and encouraging progress has been made even though much remains to be done.
Worthy of mention is the slow progress made in the minimum ratification needed for the entry into force of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. To date, thirty-five Member States have signed the Charter and six have finalised the ratification process namely, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Lesotho and Rwanda.
I would like to conclude by reiterating the determination of the Commission to pursue its action aimed at ensuring an ever greater visibility and presence of Africa and to contribute to the attainment of the Union’s objectives.
In view of the importance of the mission entrusted to the Commission, be it issues of peace and security or those pertaining to economic and social development, it is imperative that it is provided with adequate and necessary human and financial resources. The time has come to gird ourselves for action so that Africa takes its destiny in its own hands.
Needless to point out in this connection that the AU, like its predecessor, the OAU, is financed solely by Member States’ statutory contributions, as well as contributions of development partners, whose limits and constraints, coupled with instability are increasingly obvious. There is no need belabouring the issue but the fact remains that today, the AU is from the budgetary and political perspective stymied in its effort to give concrete expression to the numerous projects envisaged.
I thank you for your kind attention.Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, officially closed.
God Bless Mother Africa.
God Bless the African Union
I thank you.