Konare urges African leaders to change strategy

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- African Union (AU) chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare Tuesday in Addis Ababa urged African leaders to change their strategy of dealing with the ills that have bedevilled the continent for several decades.
Addressing the opening session of the 3rd ordinary AU general assembly being held in the Ethiopian capital from 6-8 July, he deplored the ineffectiveness of various measures undertaken so far to reverse the seriously deteriorating situation throughout the continent.
"This situation is not a fatality.
It would be suicidal to give in to despair.
It is true the times are hard and all the solutions envisaged during international meetings haven't been conclusive and have failed to reverse the trend," conceded AU Commission chair.
Only the implementation of "a strategy of presence, affirmation and responsibility," could change this worrying trend, he added.
According to Konare, this strategy calls for greater unity around "an unflinching solidarity, many sacrifices, new alliances including a greater Afro-Arab fraternity in the interest of a united Africa.
" Like in the execution of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), Konare called for a strategy that could pave the way for major continental projects in the fields of culture and infrastructure, landmark initiatives in border management, free movement of people, training and the New Information and Communication Technologies (NICT).
"The implementation of such a strategy requires that we re- inforce our negotiation capacities and set up a strategy of influence.
It requires the best Africans, men and women on the continent and in the Diaspora to be prepared to work for Africa," he explained.
Konare conceded that this was a costly endeavour that will demand "more funds than what can be mobilised through the cancellation of all the debts, as aspired for during the past 25 years, or the doubling of the public development aid, as promised over the past 30 years.
" According to the AU Commission chairperson, only US$45 billion in additional financial resources would accrue from these two measures, while US$64 billion per annum is needed to implement the NEPAD blueprint alone.
"Today Africa needs a more substantial support to the tune of what Europe obtained from America in the wake of the Second World War, or what the European Union offers to its new members," Konare said.
He called for the exploration of new resource mobilisation strategies, including taxation on international financial transactions and sales of armament.
It was up to African leaders to mobilise the required funds, said Konare, who has suggested that AU member countries should contribute 0.
5 percent of their annual revenue in a bid to collect some US$1.
7 billion over three years to finance the AU Commission's projects contained it the 2004-2007 plan of action.
"We are confident that you will find the means to meet such an ambition that we will put into practice with realism and pragmatism by determining the essential stages in a hierarchical manner.
"Realism but also determination is vital because this is not a fight for tomorrow but a battle that must start now," the former Malian head of state told African leaders.

06 july 2004 14:08:00

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