Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete on Monday appealed to African leaders to restrain from seeking greater political power and influence for themselves, while urging them to focus on improving Africa's economic status.
The Tanzanian leader said African leaders should put more priority on tackling economic issues and poverty to rid Africa of its global shame as the poorest continent.
In his farewell speech as the African Union Chairman, President Kikwete said African leaders should set aside more time to discuss a global solution to Africa's under-development and make greater use of the existing global cooperation.
He said Africa established better working ties with European and Asian leaders during his tenure as chairman, and stressed the need for Africans to seek a greater voice on global affairs.
The Tanzanian leader demanded that Africa must also be included in the search for global solutions to the current financial crisis, adding that Africa is part of the world and must not be ignored during this period.
The outgoing chair made a series of bold reform proposals for the AU, saying African leaders must immediately establish a budget for the AU heads of state chair to enable him tackle the various challenges facing the continent.
The statement resonated with an appeal made by the AU Commission Chair Jean Ping, who said the Commission was ill-prepared to accomplish its mandate.
Ping told the formal opening session of the 12th AU Summit on Monday that the staff of the AU was inadequate in terms of expertise and resources to deal with the challenges and the mandate of the organisation.
He said Africa was negatively affected by the global financial crisis, threatening the gains that the continent was steadily making towards ending poverty.