AU Executive Council meets ahead of summit

  Abuja- Nigeria (PANA) -- The Executive Council of the Africa Union (AU), comprising Foreign Affairs ministers of the 53-nation regional body, began a two-day meeting here Thursday, ahead of the mid-term assembly of heads of state and government of the Union on Sunday.
   Nigeria's foreign minister Olu Adeniji opened the meeting, which he said would "prepare the grounds" for the summit.
   Setting the tone for the meeting, he said: "If Africa was proactive, this could be a decisive year in which Africa takes its rightful place in decision making and the maintenance of international peace and security.
"   On issues of health and food security, Adeniji said the continent must maintain a "determined and sustainable effort to overcome those challenges by way of implementation".
   The minister also urged the council to focus on declarations that would address the challenges facing the continent in practical ways.
   In his remarks at the opening, K.
Amoako, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), underlined the importance of the flow of additional aid to the continent.
   "For Africa to make the big push, it requires stronger and more effective outside support," he said, noting, "Current flows of foreign direct investment are inadequate to kick start growth.
" Amoako added: "Our economies are still not developed enough for domestic private savings and tax revenues to play a prominent role in stimulating increased investment.
"   He said Africa "needs aid for the big push to generate growth, which will be self-sustaining in the long term.
"   "Evidence from other parts of the world indicate that where the growth process succeeds, aid tapers off," he added.
   The meeting will consider the report of the Permanent Representatives Committee, which met earlier at the same venue, and take briefings on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the United Nations reform.
   The council will also deliberate on, among others, food security in Africa, merger of the African court on Human and Peoples Rights and the Court of Justice of the AU as well as HIV/AIDS, which is ravaging the continent.

27 january 2005 15:15:00

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