Niamey- Niger (PANA) -- African Union (AU) Commissioner for economic affairs Vijay Makhan on Tuesday in Niamey commended the existing good relations between the Community of Sahel- Saharan States (CEN-SAD) and the continental body.
Addressing the opening of the 9th CEN-SAD Executive council session, Makhan said that in the era of large groupings and globalisation, "Africa must pull itself together and forge its destiny.
" He pointed out that under the draft protocol between the AU and regional economic groups, efforts were being made to harmonise activities "so as to attain the goals of the Abuja treaty and accelerate continental integration, in accordance with the Sirte declaration.
" "We are also keenly following the efforts being made by CEN-SAD to promote integration within its space and win the community challenge," the AU commissioner for economic affairs added.
He commended the liberalisation of inter-state trade within CEN- SAD, adding, however that this is bound to fail if there is no interaction between the populations and particularly among economic operators.
Meanwhile, Makhan urged African regional economic groupings to reach an agreement with the AU Economic commission on a properly laid-down strategy to streamline their activities and assess their approach.
The adoption of a joint and concerted position under the auspices of our continental organisation will be an additional opportunity to strengthen our cohesion, Makhan said.
He welcomed the creation of a CEN-SAD special solidarity fund whose objective is to reduce the suffering of people affected by conflicts and urged other economic groupings to follow the example.