OATU challenges African leaders on poverty, integration

Banjul- The Gambia (PANA) -- Secretary General of the Accra-based Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATU), Hassan Sunmonu, has listed the eradication of poverty and the full integration of Africa as some of the main issues that should attract the attention of African leaders, billed to meet in Banjul, the Gambia, 1-2 July.
Sunmonu told PANA Wednesday in the Gambian capital that the leaders should first tackle hunger as a prelude to ending poverty on the continent, in line with an old African saying that "the elimination of hunger reduces poverty".
"African governments should abandon anti-people, neo-liberal, debt-building and anti-development socio-economic policies being forced on them by the IMF and the World Bank.
People must come first," he said.
On integration, the OATU chief said it must go beyond political and economic spheres and address the issue of free movement of people on the continent.
"We call upon the summit to take decisions that will make every African have free entry to every African country.
Visas must be waved for every African entering an other African country as a first step toward fast-tracking African integration," he said.
Sunmonu said in recognition of its importance, the issue of free movement of people had dominated every pre-summit meeting held in Banjul in the past few days, calling it a "recurring decimal".
Dwelling more on integration, he called for a further rationalisation of the Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) from 8 recognised by the AU to 5, and to make it impossible for any AU member country to belong to more than one REC.
"We are satisfied that the RECs are going to work with the AU Commission to move the (integration) process forward," he said, adding that no African country could go it alone.

28 june 2006 22:14:00

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