Ethiopia: AU Commission chair voices stronger civil society role in ending violent conflicts

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) – African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat on Monday outlined his five-point vision for a peaceful continent, calling on the civil society to play a more proactive role in ending conflicts and calling for justice, peace and cooperation of all players.

In his maiden speech before the 29th session of the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Assembly, which opened here with more than 24 leaders in attendance, Mahamat called for measures to reduce political tension and an end to poor economic governance.

The newly appointed AUC Chairperson said that despite its obviously “classical shortcomings", the AU had managed to grow its international image through active participation in multilateral arrangements and partnerships, which have had a positive impact on economic growth.

“New technologies are present in all parts of Africa,” Mahamat said, referring to the growth of technology, including a mobile phone revolution, which has billed Africa as one of the leading users of technology around the world.

On conflicts and conflict resolution, the Chairperson, who has been at work for slightly less than three months, said the suffering of refugees in Somalia, South Sudan, Central Africa Republic, Lake Chad region and the Boko Haram menace, should “prick the conscience of everyone.”

He said achieving the vision of silencing the guns of war in Africa was the responsibility of all institutions in Africa. This would require an end to poor economic governance and isolation of the youth from decision-making processes as well as encouraging political participation of the youth.

Mahamat said his tenure would focus on “strategic development” with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) agency being consistently reformed institutionally.

He also assigned a greater role to the African countries representing the continent at the UN Security Council to ensure they put African interests before anything else.

He said the African countries in the Council bore a greater responsibility to voice Africa’s concerns.

And in an uncharacteristic and a bold approach, Mahamat turned to the African leaders and asked them to make detailed consideration of any decisions, the implications of taking those decisions and the impact of those decisions in order to restore the AU credibility.

“I will betray my conscience if I do not tell you this,” Mahamat said, in reference to the growing political tension around Africa. He said important changes were taking place around the world which required the AU to heighten its capabilities and capacity to react.

“There are widespread terrorism threats and hotbeds of tension exist. There is increasing instability and increased political tension,” he said.

During his three months tenure as AUC Chairperson, he said an agreement was signed with the UN to enhance coordination and to build consensus on how to deal with peace and stability.

The AU has also enhanced its continental image through high-level engagements, including with the Group of 7 industrialised nations, where the AU Chairperson, President Alpha Conde of Guinea, represented the continent and at the Group of 20 most influential economies of the world, where the Vision 2063 was popularized.

Mahamat said the continent increased its visibility and is now preparing better to take care of its own problems by establishing a peace fund.

He said he planned to implement all aspects of the AU reforms and target 2018 as a year of economic recovery, when growth is expected to peak at 4.3%.

On relations between Morocco and Sahrawi Republic, Mahamat said the fact that Morocco had become a member of the AU brought hope for a consensual end to the crisis. He said his approach would be through anticipation and proactive response to conflicts.

He also warned against further “infinite decisions” which remained unimplemented and kept in drawers, saying they constituted a threat to AU credibility.

-0- PANA AO/AR 3July2017

03 july 2017 16:46:31

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