The 29th Assembly of the African Union, AU, has taken off in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital with far reaching decisions meant to transform and reposition the continent.
One of such issues is the peace and security, with the objective of ‘silencing the guns’ by 2020.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat; at the opening ceremony of the summit used the opportunity of his first address to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, to call for strong partnership between the AU and the United Nations, especially in peace and security.
He also sought other collaborations with the European Union, EU, on issues of peace and security and the fight against terrorism and radicalism as well as economic, democratic and electoral governance.
“In order to deal with all conflicts, the AUC has decided to give priority to prevention and anticipation. The regional groupings and mechanisms are to intensify their actions, in close cooperation with the relevant bodies of the African Union,” he said.
Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat called for better alignment between the decisions made by the AU and their implementation.
Speaking also at the opening ceremony, Mr. Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union, called for a new era of self-reliance to drive development and end poverty on the continent.
Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Nigeria’s Amina Mohammed, re-echoed the importance of the youth agenda and commended the theme of this year which is “Investing in our youth will reap dividends for our future.”
She also commended African countries for welcoming and integrating refugees, into local communities saying this should be emulated throughout the world.
The launch of the AU reforms was the Commission’s second task.
The Chairperson in this respect, paid tribute to Pan African commitment of the current Chairperson of the Union, President Alpha Conde of Guinea and President Idris Deby Itno, the immediate past Chairperson of the Union.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda ,who is leading the AU reform process and providing concrete recommendations and guidance for implementation, was also recognized.
He outlined the projects of the AUC: “Humanitarian action in solidarity with the victims of drought, famine and forced displacement would be the third area of action. The fourth priority would be strategic development issues by executing some integral projects for the benefit of African people.”
The Chairperson also highlighted the imperative to speak with one voice as the fifth course of action.
President of the State of Palestine and Chairperson of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, thanked the African Union for the continued support to achieve a Palestinian State living side by side with the State of Israel as an independent State with distinct borders.
He appealed to African countries to continue their strong stand with the people of Palestine to achieve lasting peace in the region.
The 29th Assembly of the AU has a full programme for the next two days, including reviewing the report of the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Mr Paul Kagame, on the Institutional Reform of the AU; discussions on the theme of the summit, “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in the Youth”; deliberating on reports on peace and security, implementation of Agenda 2063; and the 2018 budget of the African Union.
In addition the swearing-in of the Commissioners for Human Resources, Science and Technology, and for Economic Affairs are expected to hold on the sidelines to conclude the summit; there would also be a world press briefing on the 4th of July.