The Independent (Kampala)

Africa: AU States to Celebrate 50th Anniversary

A meeting by the Heads of the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank Group has resolved that the member states will celebrate 50th anniversary of OAU/AU in May 2013.

The heads who include; Nkosana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and Dr Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss a number of issues.

"The roles and responsibilities of our institutions for Africa's development, and the need to coordinate our activities in setting the agenda to support Africa's socio-economic transformation as we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the OAU/AU in May 2013," the read the press releases.

The heads of the African Union say the opportunity presented to us is to reaffirm the spirit of Pan Africanism and African solidarity, which inspired the political evolution of the continent in the last 50 years, and is now critical for realizing Africa's socio-economic transformation.

The AU in that regard recognizes the progress the continent has made in several areas, including peace, and security, good governance, economic growth, regional integration and attracting investments, we reflected on the key challenges, opportunities and priorities facing Africa going forward, drawing on the experience of the last 50 years.

The OUA/AU heads welcomed the continent's resilience in the face of the recent global financial and economic crises but commit to further action with all relevant stakeholders to enhance Africa's economic independence, reduce vulnerability and diversify its relations within the global economy.

Noting that Africa's economic growth needs to focus on equity, inclusiveness, the preservation of natural capital and creation of decent jobs, especially for the youth and women saying that, "The time is ripe for a paradigm shift and a change in mindset towards realizing the vision of a continent that is integrated, prosperous and peaceful, and a dynamic force in the global arena."

AU has emphasizes that Africa's challenge is economic transformation, which agenda should be led by Africans. To achieve this objective, we commit to explore all avenues for mobilizing sources of finance including tapping into Africa's own resources and global financial opportunities.

They however, acknowledged that external partners have contributed to Africa's progress through instruments such as the Africa Development Fund (ADF) to which we remain committed. We will actively explore Africa's participation in these financial mechanisms.

To support the vision of Africa's leaders to transform the continent over the next 50 years, WE REAFFIRM the commitment by the three pan-African institutions to collaborate closely with Regional Economic Communities and other partners to foster the agenda of an integrated and prosperous continent.

The heads agreed to engage with Africa's leaders and peoples in articulating and preparing such an African led transformation agenda for the next 50 years, saying, "We shall pursue this discussion in the upcoming African Union meetings and through consultations with Regional Economic Communities, Partners and other stakeholders to realize the vision of the African Renaisance."

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