Ethiopian PM installed AU Chairman, pledges accelerated poverty fight

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn took over the Chairmanship of the African Union (AU) on Sunday, with a pledge to work towards the execution of various plans, including AU's internal reforms.

The new Chairman, who took over from Benin's Thomas Yayi Boni, pledged to prioritise the implementation of the AU plans seeking to boost agriculture and the goals towards industrialization.

"There is no doubt that Africa needs to sustain the growth momentum that it has been able to achieve over the last decade. This can only be done if we manage to bring structural transformation," Hailemariam said.

Hailemariam outlined his key agenda for the Presidency by calling for effective African participation in the development of the new set of UN anti-poverty goals to replace the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister regretted that Africa remained "off-track" in the implementation of the broad development goals.

He said the Summit should consider forming a group of heads of state, under the leadership of the Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to campaign for the African interests in setting of the new growth targets.

Hailemariam said Ethiopia had joined a global campaign to oversee the recruitment of over one million community health workers, adding that the campaign, launched last week in Davos, Switzerland, would advance the achievement of the MDGs in Africa.

"We can only unleash Africa's potential for the development and prosperity of our people in the prevalence of durable peace and stability in our continent," Hailemariam said.

He said the emergence of serious conflicts in parts of Africa was a setback which required urgent steps to deal with.

"We should do everything possible to help restore constitutional order in Mali, safeguard the sovereignty of country and address the humanitarian crisis in collaboration with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS)," the new AU Chairman stated.

To deal with conflicts conclusively, Hailemariam said democracy and good governance was mandatory, but this would succeed if backed by strong institutions and economic growth across Africa.

Speaking before handing over the rotational Chairmanship of the 54-State member Organisation, President Yayi Boni regretted the lack of effective structures within which the office of the Chairman operates.

He also called for the formation of a high-level panel of experts to redesign the structure of the AU, saying reforms were required to make it a more robust Organisation capable of dealing with conflicts.

President Yayi Boni regretted that his tenure was bogged down by the dispute over the election of the next Commission President. 

He also said the tradition of electing the Assembly Chairman along the regional groupings should be discarded and a system similar to the European Union (AU), which elects through votes, embraced.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 27Jan2013 

27 janvier 2013 11:51:49

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