AU emphasises peace for economic developmentPosted on Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 by Bernama, Addis Ababa in News
African leaders attending the 19th Session of the African Union (AU) on Sunday called on the continental body to reign in simmering conflicts to achieve peace necessary for the continent’s economic development.
The summit is running under the theme “Boosting Intra-African Trade”, Zimbabwean news agency New Ziana reported.
The leaders called for peaceful interventions to arrest crises in Mali and Guinea Bissau, where governments were unconstitutionally removed from power, Sudan and South Sudan which are on the brink of all-out war, and Democratic Republic of Congo where rebels have renewed their rebellions against the government.
The precarious situation in Somalia and unending disturbances caused by terrorist groups in Nigeria also came under the spotlight.
President Yayi Boni, the AU chairperson, said it was imperative for the continental body to facilitate unity, improve mechanisms for conflict prevention and management to facilitate political and socio-economic integration of the continent.
“We have to pull our efforts together so that Africa reaffirms the political will to take its destiny into its own hands and to take care of the responsibility to run the affairs of the continent by forging win-win strategic partnerships with the rest of the world,” he said.
“Peace and security are indispensable for development, we have to, in the face of these developments mobilize the African people so that we work hand in hand to meet the objectives of integration and continental development,” he added.
Boni also called on African Heads of State and Government to address the food security question as this continued to spark trouble across the continent.
He proposed that next year be made the year of agriculture and food security, encouraging African leaders to set goals to save 31 million Africans from poverty and 12 million children from malnutrition.
“Yes we can overcome these two challenges if we devote more effort in the agriculture sector,” President Boni said.
Outgoing AU commission chairperson, Jean Ping called for focused leadership to pull the continent out of its challenges, if it is to benefit from its massive resources.
“The economic future of Africa depends on the existence of strong and visionary political leadership capable of mobilizing the people around common objectives and on the basis of effective institutional framework,” he said.
Ping urged Africa to increase trade with the rest of the world to facilitate economic development, which would help eradicate poverty.
He applauded efforts to resolve conflicts in Africa through peaceful means, and appealed for international assistance for the endevour.
Ping backed the AU’s Peace and Security Council recommendation to try and resolve the civil war in Mali through peaceful means, and not military intervention.
Meanwhile, the three recently elected African leaders, who attended the AU Summit for the first time also called for strengthening of institutions meant to promote peace and development on the continent.
The leaders are President Mack Sall of Senegal, Mohammed Morsi of Egypt and Lesotho’s Prime Minister Motsoahae Thabane.
“Our people demand of us to put behind the era of wars and political instability which were the hallmark of our continent and to urgently address the pressing issues of poverty, insecurity and access to service,” said Thabane.
Morsi reiterated the need for exploitation of resources to benefit the majority, not this is “no longer a luxury but an indispensable necessity for the realization of the aspirations of our people.”
Sall called for interventions to end the Malian crisis, which he said brought about instability in West Africa.
“United and together, we can all be successful. Let us all work for the African cause which brings us here together,” he said.
The AU summit is expected to announce measures aimed at resolving conflicts in troubled African states at the conclusion of the summit.