During the 35th conference of the African Parliamentary Union (APU) underway in Kigali, African parliamentarians and speakers present have agreed that without a strong and committed leadership that has a shared vision, good governance and poverty reduction are nothing but dreams.
This conference is held after the APU Executive Committee Session (26-27/11/2012) and the Meeting of African Women Parliamentarians Committee (28/11/2012).
"Good governance is reflected in special programs to eradicate poverty. These programs have to touch health, education, women, youth and various vulnerable groups," said Jean-Damascene Ntawukuliryayo, the president of Rwanda's senate.
He gave the example of Rwanda's poverty eradication programs like Girinka, Ubudehe, SACCOs, etc. "These are only possible through good governance," said the senate president, adding that without strong leadership with a shared vision, good governance cannot be achieved, and therefore poverty reduction will be always a dream. "We know what to do and how to do it, why should our continent still lag behind?"
The APU's chairperson Edna Madzongwe commended Rwanda's dynamism in national peace and reconciliation. She stated that African parliamentarians should be leading in promoting participatory democracy, where everyone is represented in his country's leadership. "Rwanda's parliament, with the highest proportion of women worldwide, and the different social strata represented (disabled, youth, etc), is an example," she pointed out.
Madzongwe said also that lawmakers should seek solutions for some African countries facing strife that threaten to halt their economic growth and peace promotion. "Democratic good governance is clear only when translated into health and economic progress, and improved living standards. We have to work for Africa's sustainable human development," she remarked, adding that unemployment and poverty should be eradicated first.
For Rwanda's speaker of the chamber of deputies, Rose Mukantabana, this conference is a great opportunity to build and strengthen the partnership between African parliamentarians towards working together to lift the continent out of poverty. "Considering the two main themes of our conference being 'strengthening democratic governance to achieve social, political and economic growth,' and 'the role of parliamentarians in poverty reduction through implementation of poverty reduction strategies,' I believe that as parliamentarians we'll learn from each other and share experiences towards playing our parts."
Mukantabana added that good governance is key to lasting peace, security, human rights promotion and sustainable economic growth. "We have to promote leadership with a shared vision, so as to make our poverty reduction and good governance goals a reality."