10th AU summit opens in Adis Ababa

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The 10th African Union (AU) heads of state and government summit opened in the organisation's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Thursday.
The meeting devoted to Africa's industrial development was held in the presence of over 30 African leaders and several distinguished guests, including the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, and the former Japanese prime minister.
On this occasion, the outgoing AU chairperson, Ghanaian President John Kufuor, called his peers to make the 21st century that of African Renaissance.
By assessing the results of his action as the head of the organisation, President Kufuor dwelt on the decisions made by the Accra summit held in July, notably the decision to audit the AU institutions and bodies and the setting up of a Ministerial Committee in charge of thinking about the process for the establishment of a federal government and the development of a roadmap to pave the way towards the United States of Africa.
Reports have been drafted and sent to the Executive Council, which devoted to most of its deliberations to these issues and the decisions, which were made, were brought to the attention of the heads of state.
President Kufuor drew two conclusions from these reports, which recommended, on the one hand, the peoples' participation in the process for the establishment of a federal government, which paves the way to the United States of Africa, and on the other hand, the reinforcement of AU Commission's role and bodies for "further efficiency of the work.
" In this regard, he asked the heads of state to base their deliberations on pragmatism, notably in the election of the members of the new AU Commission to be held during the current session.
"We must consider these elections bearing in mind that we are in a transitional phase," the Ghanaian president suggested.
Going back over the conflicts in Africa, President Kufuor was delighted with the situation in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
He also hoped for an intensification of the efforts in Darfour, Somalia, and Comoros to promote peace rapidly.
About Kenya, on which attention is focused, he explained that he visited this country as AU chairperson to try and bring peace back.
His mission led to an agreement between the power and the opposition to discuss three issues, notably the cessation of violence, resort to dialogue and agreement on a peace mission made up of eminent Africans led by the former UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, who had already got down to the job in Kenya.
President Kufuor also informed the heads of state and government present in Addis Ababa about his visit to the NEPAD and African Parliament headquarters in SOuth Africa, and his participation in the G8 sumit.
He stressed that all these actions were intended to promote the continent's development.
Previously, the AU Commission chairperson, Alpha Oumar Konare, urged the heads of state to elect his successor and give him the necessary powers to exert his authority on this body, in compliance with the recommendations of the expert committee.
President Konare did not want to dwell unduly on the conflicts in Africa, saying that the continent should not be drowned into "these conflicts, which are not inevitable.
" Nevertheless, he said he was concerned about "ethnic cleansings, genocides, which are tearing Kenya apart" and hoped that the fire would be quickly put out in this country, which used to be considered as "the hope of Africa.
" In his remarks, President Konare talked at length about Africa's industrialisation and hoped that the continent would break with the colonial logic to develop its industry.
It is within this framework that he denounced the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IFM) policies, saying that their structural adjustment programmes ruined the African industry.
Despite the marking of two decades of industrialisation in Africa, the continent has never developed its industry, Konare noted, urging the UN to further consolidate the mandate of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) that he considered as restrictive.
He also hoped for a summit conference on Africa's industrialisation to be held to mark the takeoff of this sector.
The energy sector is also a concern for President Konare, who said that Africa had only 10 percent of world oil and gas reserves.
"If the continent starts overexploiting its energy resources because the oil barrel costs 100 US dollars, it risks buying the barrel at 200 US dollars if its resources are exhausted," Konare warned.

31 january 2008 15:28:00

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