In­ter­na­tional re­la­tions

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The 30th African Union Sum­mit dis­cussed the ma­jor is­sues fac­ing Africa

The 30th African Union (AU) Sum­mit in Ad­dis Ababa, Ethiopia, pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for South Africa's govern­ment to in­ter­act with heads of state and the AU, with the goal of find­ing solutions for the ma­jor is­sues fac­ing Africa.The del­e­ga­tion re­turned with a re­newed re­solve to ac­tively con­trib­ute to­wards the ideals and land­mark ini­tia­tives that is be­hind a plan to drive the fu­ture of the con­ti­nent.

Fo­cus on cor­rup­tion

Held from 22 – 29 Jan­uary at the AU Head­quar­ters, this year's sum­mit took place un­der the theme “Win­ning the Fight Against Cor­rup­tion: A Sus­tain­able Path to Africa's Trans­for­ma­tion”.

AU Ad­vi­sory Board on Cor­rup­tion Chair­per­son Bé­goto Miarom said that 2018 pro­vides a good op­por­tu­nity to take stock of progress and as­sess what still needs to be done to fight cor­rup­tion, 15 years af­ter the es­tab­lish­ment of the AU Con­ven­tion on Pre­vent­ing and Com­bat­ting Cor­rup­tion.

“Fail­ing to ad­dress cor­rup­tion in­hibits sus­tain­able long-term growth and un­der­mines hu­man de­vel­op­ment. It is the poor who suf­fer the most from cor­rup­tion.

The Mbeki Panel Re­port on Il­licit Fi­nan­cial Flows, for ex­am­ple, high­lighted the fact that lack of trans­parency leads to an­nual losses of US$50 bil­lion for Africa. In light of the grave chal­lenges that Africa faces, there is no bet­ter time to fight cor­rup­tion than now,” said Miarom.

In terms of anti-cor­rup­tion ac­tiv­i­ties, Miarom said that the AU will deepen its re­solve, fo­cus and ex­per­tise, while broad­en­ing part­ner­ships aimed at fight­ing cor­rup­tion.

“As part of the pro­gramme of ac­tiv­i­ties, we will seek to in­volve the broad­est range of ac­tors in­clud­ing na­tional anti-cor­rup­tion agen­cies, cen­tral banks, na­tional au­dit and in­ves­tiga­tive agen­cies, civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions, the youth and women,” he said.

Key dis­cus­sions at the sum­mit

Also at the heart of dis­cus­sions dur­ing the week was the

Agenda 2063, the AU's vi­sion of:

“An in­te­grated, pros­per­ous and peace­ful Africa, driven by its own cit­i­zens and rep­re­sent­ing a dy­namic force in the in­ter­na­tional arena.”

The agenda in­cludes ground­break­ing projects which could have an im­me­di­ate im­pact on so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and should be pri­ori­tised. These in­clude:

■ In­te­grated High Speed Train Net­work.

■ Africa Vir­tual and E-Uni­ver­sity.

■ African Com­mod­ity Strat­egy.

■ An­nual African Fo­rum.

■ Con­ti­nen­tal Free Trade Area.

■ African Pass­port and free move­ment of peo­ple.

■ Grand Inga Dam Project.

■ Pan African E-Net­work.

■ Si­lenc­ing the Guns.

■ African Outer Space Strat­egy.

■ Sin­gle Air Trans­port Net­work.

■ Con­ti­nen­tal Fi­nan­cial In­sti­tu­tions.

These are the flag­ship projects that the AU, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with na­tional, provin­cial and lo­cal gov­ern­ments and the pri­vate sec­tor, is work­ing on dur­ing the first 10-year im­ple­men­ta­tion phase of the agenda.

South Africa's role at the sum­mit

South Africa's del­e­ga­tion to the sum­mit was led by for­mer Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, who said that South Africa is ready to work to­wards achiev­ing the goals out­lined in Agenda 2063.

“It is grat­i­fy­ing that the con­ti­nent is mov­ing ahead with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Agenda 2063, and it is vi­tal that we are tak­ing de­ci­sions that have a di­rect im­pact on the lives of the peo­ple of the con­ti­nent. We are, in a very prac­ti­cal man­ner, re­mov­ing bar­ri­ers to trade, in­vest­ment and tourism,” said Zuma.

At the sum­mit, AU lead­ers launched the Sin­gle African

Air Trans­port Mar­ket, of which South Africa is a sig­na­tory.This agree­ment will al­low free ex­er­cise of traf­fic rights, elim­i­na­tion of re­stric­tions on own­er­ship and full lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of fre­quen­cies, fares and ca­pac­i­ties.

The sum­mit also agreed on the need to fast track the es­tab­lish­ment of the African Con­ti­nen­tal Free Trade Area, which will drive faster eco­nomic growth, trade and job cre­ation once it is fully op­er­a­tional.

South Africa had the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing elected to serve as one of the vice chairs of the Bureau of the AU, rep­re­sent­ing the South­ern African re­gion. Also in­clud­ing

Libya (North Africa), Repub­lic of Congo (Cen­tral Africa) and the Repub­lic of Guinea (West Africa), the Bureau has the cru­cial task of sup­port­ing the AU Chair­per­son in im­ple­ment­ing poli­cies.

South African rep­re­sen­ta­tives are also tasked with fa­cil­i­tat­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the AU and the United Na­tions (UN), a role which the AU ac­knowl­edged as vi­tal for the con­tin­ued well­be­ing of Africa. On the mar­gins of the sum­mit, Zuma met with UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res to con­tinue fos­ter­ing closer re­la­tion­ships with the in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion.

In light of the fact that July

2018 would have been the

100th birth­day of for­mer

Pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela, Zuma suc­cess­fully re­quested that the AU adopt the year as a cen­te­nary year to cel­e­brate the late great states­man.

“Madiba is a global icon, but he will al­ways be rooted in Africa. We must thank the AU and its mem­ber states for keep­ing Man­dela's legacy alive through a myr­iad of sym­bols and tributes,” said Zuma, who added that the sum­mit was the per­fect plat­form to launch a num­ber of cel­e­bra­tions that will be tak­ing place through­out the cen­te­nary year.

There was more cause for

South African cel­e­bra­tions, when Dr Robert Millar, Di­rec­tor of the Cen­tre for Neu­roen­docrinol­ogy at the Uni­ver­sity of Pre­to­ria, was awarded the pres­ti­gious Kwame Nkrumah Award for Sci­en­tific Achieve­ment.

Millar's re­search has con­trib­uted to the de­vel­op­ment of the pri­mary treat­ment for prostate can­cer, the sole treat­ment for pre­co­cious pu­berty and treat­ments for hor­mone-de­pen­dent dis­eases in women.

Lead­ers at the 30th African Union Sum­mit dis­cussed is­suesaf­fect­ing the con­ti­nent.

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