FDA III paves the way for the African Union

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The third Forum for Africa's Development (FDA III) ended Friday in Addis Ababa with a unanimous declaration on the way forward to attain regional integration and set the African Union on course.
The declaration, which comprises 100 essential points, recognises first that "unity is the single most vexing issue concerning Africans throughout the continent to the other".
It also acknowledges that that political and economic integration will make it possible to attain the aspirations of Africans in all walks of life.
"Integration demands that governments renounce their sovereignty, both in political and economic fields, so as to ensure the advent of a more prosperous, stable, democratic and powerful community", the document said.
It reminds African leaders of their "heavy responsibility" in the conduct of the ongoing process.
However, the 1,000 FDA III delegates highlighted the need to involve Africans of all backgrounds -- citizens of both sexes, elected representatives, civil society organizations, intellectuals and Academics, as well as the private sector and the Diaspora -- in the enhancement of a strong African Union.
It also recommends that annual civil society meetings be held before the African Union Summit next July in South Africa.
Moreover, civil society and private sector consultations should take place as soon as possible to produce a document meant to formulate Africa's contribution to the next G-8 summit scheduled in Canada.
"The emancipation and representation of women are expected to be a crucial aspect in setting up the Union, its representation institutions and programmes, including NEPAD", the declaration said.
It strongly recommends "the full involvement of elected parliamentarians in all the aspects of the process leading to full functioning of the African Union, through regional bodies like the African Parliamentary Union" as a means of harnessing popular support for the African Union.
In this regard that, the document highlights that "the goals of the Forum for Africa's Development and the will to turn the African Union into a participatory body are complementary to each other.
In this perspective, the OAU Secretary General and the ECA Executive Secretary were mandated to take advantage of the ADF process and determine how to strengthen links which exist between their respective institutions.
Regional and sub-regional organizations, governments and other actors, including the media, were urged to "provide information on all aspects of the African Union to the Africa people, as widely as possible, by using the media and all languages".
To this end, the setting up of an advisory committee made up of eminent media specialists in Africa was announced, much to the satisfaction of the journalists present at FDA III, who suggested it Friday in a statement.
"Today's African leaders and African peoples as a whole, have a historic opportunity to make their dream come true.
African cannot afford to fail in this noble undertaking", the FDA III consensus declaration read.
"If the energies and determination of the African peoples, men and women of all sectors in the continent, are mobilised to join in this common effort, a strong and democratic African Union will eventually see the light of day.
Africa must unite!" the document said.
It will be submitted to the meeting of the OAU council of ministers scheduled to 12-14 March in Addis Ababa.
It will also be transmitted to the inaugural summit of the African Union scheduled next July in Durban, in South Africa.
Meanwhile, the Fourth Forum for Africa's Development (ADF IV) will take place in 2003 on the theme of governance, in concrete compliance with the principles laid down by article 30 of the AU Constituent Act.
This provision highlights that "governments which come into power through anti-constitutional means will not be allowed to take part in activities of the Union".
OAU Secretary General Amara Essy and ECA Executive Secretary Kingsley Amoako, co-chaired the closing ceremony that was marked by an acclaimed speech given by famous Nigerian writer, Wole Soyinka.

10 march 2002 20:35:00

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