The 36th summit of the African Union (AU) kicked off on Saturday in Addis Ababa in the presence of a number of heads of state and government of member states.
The two-day summit will discuss various continental issues focusing on the theme “Accelerating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area”
The leaders will discuss various continental issues, including combating climate change, overcoming food security challenges and ways to accelerate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
They are also expected to adopt a series of protocols aimed at accelerating the full implementation of the New African Free Trade Area.
Speaking at the opening session, Senegalese President and AU President Macky Sall stressed that African countries are still facing the crises facing the world, notably the Coronavirus pandemic and climate change, as well as the Russian-Ukrainian crisis
He pointed out that establishing peace in Africa is still a distant goal in light of the spread of terrorism in the continent’s countries, stressing the need to activate the African standby force and establish a counter-terrorism unit.
He added that the spread of terrorism in Africa threatens world peace and security, calling on the UN Security Council to be more committed to combating terrorism in Africa.
On food security and agriculture in Africa, Macky Sall said that the African continent must feed itself and contribute to the rest of the world… There are agreements to encourage production, agriculture and trade in the amount of US$63 billion with the support of the African Development Bank
He stressed the continent’s commitment to a peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue based on a two-state solution
Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamed stressed the need for Africa to strengthen its multilateral relationship with the international community to make the continent’s voice heard by focusing on a partnership with the world in accordance with the specific needs of Africans. Political stability, state fragility, violent extremism and unconstitutional change of governments in member countries are still challenges facing the continent, he pointed out. The AU has taken action against these unconstitutional changes of governments even though these punitive efforts have not brought the expected fruits, he said urging the AU Security Council to do more in the fight against these continental threats.
Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit also stressed the need to intensify joint efforts and work to confront the challenges facing the Arab and African countries. He called for the need to reach an equation that achieves the interests of all by using the enormous potential of the member states of the two organizations in various fields, so that the peoples of Arab and African countries can return to what is good.
Aboul Gheit expressed the Arab League’s commitment to stand by Sudan and support it in order to complete the transitional period, especially through the framework agreement signed last December.
He also called on the Libyan parties to resort to a political solution and overcome the obstacles that prevent the holding of elections, in order to reach a stage of political stability that preserves the unity of the country and its sovereignty, and ends the presence of militias and foreign forces. He also called for strengthening dialogue with neighboring countries.
On the sidelines of the summit, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry participated on behalf of President Abdel Al-Fattah Al-Sisi in the meeting of the committee of African heads of state and government on climate change, held within the framework of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.
Minister Shoukry, chairman of the UN climate change conference COP27, delivered a speech during the meeting highlighting the high-level African participation by many African presidents and leaders in the climate conference held last November in Sharm el-Sheikh, which reflected the commitment of the continent’s countries to international climate action, and demonstrated the political will of African countries to work to address climate change at all levels.
He pointed to the keenness of Egypt, which hosted the climate conference on behalf of the African continent, to put the climate priorities of Africa at the heart of international climate action, reviewing the most prominent results of the conference in this regard, foremost of which is the establishment of a fund to finance the treatment of losses and damage caused by climate change, in support of the efforts of developing countries in this regard.
Shoukry also highlighted the other results of the climate conference that support the priorities of the African continent in the field of climate, where he demanded International financing organizations to review their policies to provide the necessary financing to developing countries in the face of climate change, in addition to approving an action program for a fair energy transition that takes into account the various economic and social dimensions of countries. The conference also addressed the topics of food security, water, protection of ecosystems, and affirming the role of forests and oceans in containing emissions
He also launched a number of initiatives on the topics of water, adaptation, agriculture, energy and hydrogen, stressing that these results would not have been achieved without the support of brotherly African countries and all relevant African actors and institutions.
The meeting was chaired by Kenyan President William Ruto, in his capacity as the current chairman of the Cahusc, in the presence of a number of African leaders and Environment Ministers, the chairman of the African Union Commission and the African Commissioner of Agriculture and environment.
During the meeting the position of the group of African negotiators in the international climate negotiations was reviewed, as well as the African climate commissions made presentations on the environmental situation in a number of regions on the continent.