The New Times (Kigali)

23 November 2012

Rwanda to Host African Parliamentary Meet

Rwanda will host an African Parliamentary Union session starting next week.

Addressing a news conference yesterday, Senate Vice President, Bernard Makuza, said at least 130 lawmakers from 22 countries have confirmed participation.

According to Makuza, seven Speakers of parliament and officials from the World Bank and United Nations agencies are expected to attend the four-day session.

"The conference offers Rwanda's legislature a unique opportunity to fulfill its role in the continent's parliamentary diplomacy area" said Makuza, who was flanked by his counterpart from the lower chamber, Evariste Kalisa.

"We expect the Congo question to come up...this offers an opportunity to share our position on the matter," he said.

He said during the conference continental lawmakers shall have a chance to discuss governance and the solutions to poverty alleviation.

"The crisis in the eastern DRC is a result of historical governance problems," Makuza added.

On his part, Kalisa noted that despite the fact that the majority of African states have been independent for over 50 years, they have been marred by conflicts and poverty and parliamentarians will be looking at solutions of alleviating them on the continent.

The chairperson of political affairs committee in the lower chamber, Yvonne Uwayisenga, said women parliamentarians will also hold a meeting on the sidelines of the conference.

Formed in 1976 to offer a framework for parliamentary dialogue on democracy, good governance and sustainable development in Africa, the union currently boasts of a membership of 41 countries.

It holds annual conferences in order to discuss governance and development matters and organise parliamentary meetings in cooperation with international organisations.

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