Forward looking declaration on Africa’s development – African leaders Monday adopted and committed themselves to implementation of ‘The Proclamation on the 50th Anniversary of the OAU/AU’, which spells out the continent’s development path for the next 50 years.
“The proclamation is forward looking. It is going to be supplemented by the activities we undertake throughout this year. At the next summit we will present a framework on ideas collected from all sections of populations on where, as Africans, we should be by 2063 and how we get there,” said Ethiopian Prime Minister and current chair of the African Union Hailemariam Dessalegn.
Briefing journalists on the outcome of the 21st AU Summit, Hailemariam said the document would be further complemented by the steps that member countries and the AU will take in 2014.
Different views and suggestions made by the civil society, conferences of women, youths and private sector representatives in the run-up to the summit have been incorporated in the proclamation.
Hailemariam pointed out that the issue of attaining middle-income status is important for all African countries.
“A lot of economic development has taken place within the past five decades, but during the next 50 years, Africa must be fully integrated. We hope all member states of the AU will implement their people’s recommendations expeditiously,” he said.
“One theme that ran through the session was the obvious fact of the rise of Africa. Things have changed in Africa and for the better,” said the Ethiopian premier, discounting the existing narrative about the continent as something that was not of African ownership.
The AU Chair called upon the African media to “sensitise the people about our common destiny as Africans.”
Also speaking at the press briefing, AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma explained that 2063 “is a timeline we have set for our children and grandchildren to see what Africa would have achieved in trade, in industrialisation, in infrastructure and development in general.
“If you plan for five years, you don’t have a long vision of where you want to be,” she said. “As our founding fathers planned for the future regarding independence, we have to think about the economic sovereignty of this continent.”
The Commission Chairperson said African cannot continue to depend on outside help, adding: ‘We have to mobilise the necessary resources ourselves for our own development.”
Dr. Dlamini Zuma said, among other decisions, the summit adopted a strategic plan for the AU activities from 2014-2017 but, “more importantly all member states need to participate vigorously in its implementation’.
“We also looked at issues of peace and security. We believe that sooner than later the guns should be silenced on our continent. Dialogue must continue so that parties in conflict do not take up arms,” she emphasised.
On Africa’s persistent problem of unconstitutional change of government in some countries, the AU leaders affirmed that the creation of the long-proposed African Standby Force (ASF) should be accelerated so that it could respond and react quickly whenever emergency arises.
The AU chair said many countries had volunteered to contribute both military and police personnel to the rapid intervention force, with the capability to deal with emergencies.
He said the AU Commission would work out details regarding the force.
Regarding the International Criminal Court (ICC), Hailemariam said the court’s process in Africa has degenerated “into some kind of race hunting instead of taking up cases of impunity.”
In reference to ICC charges against Kenya’s newly-elected President Uhuru Kenyatta, Dr. Dlamini Zuma said: “Now that Kenya has reformed its judiciary and Kenyans have confidence in their judiciary system, things should be left to that country.”