Africa: Finance Own Development, AU Member States Urged

Trucks loaded with goods queue up for clearance at a Uganda-South Sudan border post.

Niamey — The African Union (AU) has underscored the need for its member states to ensure that the continent plays a significant role in world affairs by employing the right strategies to finance its own development and reduce aid dependency through the establishment of continental financial institutions.

This was said by AU commissioner for economic affairs Professor Victor Harrison during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly yesterday.

President Mnangagwa is also expected to join fellow Heads of State and Government here today for the Extraordinary AU Summit, with First Lady Auxilia Mnangagwa already here together with other First Ladies.

For too long, the AU body has been criticised for being toothless in grinding African issues since it depends on donor funding from Western countries and other well-wishers who are pushing their own agendas.

Prof Harrison said in order for the continent to achieve its Vision 2063, it must become a strong, united, resilient and influential global player, adding that the establishment of AU financial institutions -- now at advantaged stage -- is the only instrument in fighting the dependency syndrome.

"The creation of the African financial institutions is critical to mobilise African resources to transform African economies and finance infrastructure deficits for the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which is expected to be launched here tomorrow (today)", said Prof Harrison.

"The African Union has, therefore, taken steps to fast-track the establishment of the African financial institutions. In this regard, the African Union is working with the economic communities and the Association of African Central Banks to finance macro-economic convergence criteria and time lines."

Prof Harrison urged members to accelerate the ratification of an investment bank and Africa Monetary Fund (AMF).

"Together with the African Stock Exchange Association, the African Union is preparing a strategy for the Pan African Stock Exchange," he said.

In the framework of the Agenda 2063, the assembly agreed to monitor the continental integration process as well as conduct economic research analysis, promote private development, harmonisation of statistics and the acceleration of the market excellence centre. The creation of pan-African financial institutions is critical in accelerating integration and socio-economic development of the continent.

The financial institutions envisaged to promote economic integration are the African Investment Bank, Pan-African Stock Exchange, African Monetary Fund and the African Central Bank.

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