The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Call for Closer Cooperation Among African Parliaments

African members of Parliament under their umbrella, African Parliamentary Union (APU) have called for cooperation between national parliaments.

"The confidence you have placed in our country will inspire us to play an even more active role

Speaking at the opening of union's executive committee session at Parliament yesterday, APU Deputy Chairperson, Edna Madzongwe, said time had come to reflect on relevance of the organisation and seek ways and means to give it new impetus.

APU, formerly the Union of African Parliaments, is a continental inter-parliamentary organisation set up on February 13, 1976.

"Faced with political, social, economic and environmental challenges in Africa and the world at large, we still need to do more to boost dynamism in our organisation," she said.

Madzongwe who is also the President of the Zimbabwean Senate said; "We must above all strive to support the efforts of our organisation by bearing in mind that we have to lay out a reform plan that would ensure that nothing would stand in the way of APU contributing more efficiently to the development and progress of our respective countries."

"Likewise, nothing must impede efforts to ensure the visibility of our organsiastion at the regional and international levels"

"The APU should do its utmost to bring all national parliaments on the continent under one parliamentary family, whose ideas, opinions, traditions and cultural expressions may differ, but are guided by the willingness to work together to promote peace and lasting development for Africa."

Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Rose Mukantabana, thanked the APU leadership for choosing Rwanda as host for the meeting.

"The confidence you have placed in our country will inspire us to play an even more active role in deepening awareness, thus stimulating collaborative efforts towards strengthening democracy, gender equality and respect of fundamental human rights in our respective countries," Mukantabana added.

The Speaker said that regional and international cooperation through which countries can exchange experience is useful and underlined that African leaders, at all levels, have a big role to play in the development of the continent and must think about strategic actions.

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