President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and African heads of state at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. February 10, 2019. Press Photo
CAIRO - 10 February 2019: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received the chairmanship of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government from Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame for a one-year term.
That was on Sunday in the opening session of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
President Sisi thanked Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Kagame. The president expressed his appreciation for his predecessor in the AU chairmanship as remarkable progress has been accomplished in the realm of institutional reform within the union.
The president also congratulated his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa for his election to chair the AU in 2020.
Call for Unity
President Sisi highlighted that more than half a century has passed since the founding fathers gathered in 1963 to establish the Organization of African Unity which turned into the African Union in 2002.
Sisi cited late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser saying in that convention, “That should be a charter for every African. We shall hold meetings on the official and popular levels, and start our journey on economic cooperation towards a joint African market.”
“Since then, Africa achieved a milestone in accomplishing its dreams, overcoming obstacles, and facing challenges that have emerged. We got rid of colonization, although its impact has persisted. We are still working hard to establish factors of peace, security, and stability, and to attain economic integration and continental merging,” the president said.
The president asserted the importance of unity to meet African targets citing the words of late Ghanaian leader Kwame Nkrumah, “Our division is weakness. In our unity, Africa can be one of the greatest powers in the world.” The president said that Egypt supported independence from colonization in the continent.
Conflicts Resolution and Reconstruction
“I would like to affirm the importance of the “African solutions for African problems” principle which is the only way to deal with mutual challenges. Africa is more capable of understanding the complications of its own problems and the privacy of its situation. Thus, it is the most able to find serious and practical solutions to serve the interests of its peoples, and safeguarding them from foreign intervention and falling victim of contemporary patterns of exploitation. Those contemporary patterns that do not match its reality,” the president said.
“Despite of our endeavors to contain conflicts in the continent, and our ambitious plans to eliminate armed conflicts by 2020, there is still so much to do to,” the president added highlighting that conflicts have been detrimental to development hopes.
The president stressed that development is crucial to uproot crises calling for his counterparts to revive and enact African Union Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (AU PCRD), and to set executive plans that inhibit the relapse of countries that experienced conflict, and help with institutional capacity-building for them to assume their mission of protecting their homelands.
The president said he aspired to launch the African Union Center for Reconstruction and Development as soon as possible to achieve the aforementioned goals while preserving each state’s privacy and right to draw its own road map.
Terrorism and Extremism
The president asserted that terrorism would remain a “malign tumor threatening nation states. and hijacking the dreams of its peoples.” He added that counterterrorism requires the identification of its supporters and funders, and confronting them with a collateral and revealing framework. Despite our awareness of the difficulty and complexity of such battle, it is the ideal way to eradicate terrorism and deter it.
That does not undermine the obligation of facing extremism that gives rise to terrorism, and the necessity to strengthen the institutions of the nation state.
The president launched the first edition of Aswan Forum for Peace and Sustainable Development to be a continental platform in Aswan for political leaders, intellects, opinion leaders, peace leaders, and development partnership.
Refugees and Displaced Persons
In relation to the summit’s theme, the president named widespread conflicts, terrorism, extremism, climate change, poverty, water scarcity and drought as the main elements pushing people to leave their homes. He said that there are eight million African refugees. Ninety percent of which moved to fellow African countries. He added that Africa has 18 million displaced citizens.
The president said that it is crucial to abide by the Kampala Convention signed in 2009 on persons displaced within Africa.
The president said that the development approach should consist of mega continental and regional projects that would create jobs for Africans, and programs that would rehabilitate societies paving the way for the displaced to return to their homes. That is in addition to establishing economic zones that would attract investments.
The president asserted that African countries should cooperate to face climate change by expanding into the sector of renewable energy calling for developed countries to abide by agreements in that realm as those affect the climate the most and benefit from its resources the most.
The president said that he would ensure sustaining cooperation with current allies to come up with executive plans, and coordination with international organizations. The president called for international funding entities to support development in African countries “reminding them with the uniqueness of each country and the necessity to adapt their criteria accordingly.”
The president also stressed the importance of the promotion of Fintech in the continent, and the acceleration of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The International Scheme
The president highlighted that African countries were able to achieve much by adopting joint stances on international matters, and that must continue to assert each state’s right to have its own programs to achieve development and the continent's right in just representation in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Women and Youth
The president expressed his support for African women saying they must “get equipped with education and willpower” asserting that it was the duty of African leaders to achieve women empowerment.
The president addressed youth saying, “take part in building the future of your countries rather than departing into dangerous adventures” referring to illegal migration. He also warned them from getting manipulated by terrorism promoters.
Leave a Comment