African leaders meet in Nairobi to accelerate continental integration

Ahram Online , Sunday 16 Jul 2023

The African Union's fifth Mid-Year Coordination Meeting (MYCM) kicked off in Nairobi on Sunday, bringing together various regional economic groups and mechanisms to accelerate continental integration.

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The African Union's fifth Mid-Year Coordination Meeting (MYCM) kicked off in Nairobi on Sunday, bringing together various regional economic groups and mechanisms to accelerate continental integration.The theme of this year’s meeting is the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The meeting is being led by Kenyan President William Ruto with the participation of the President of Comoros Ghazali Osmani, who currently presides over the African Summit.

The summit aims to address crucial issues of African integration, division of labour, and the roles played by the African Union and regional economic groups on the continent.

During the opening session, Ruto urged African countries "to provide leadership towards a new industrial age for Africa." He also called upon the IMF and World Bank to come up with a fair financial system, saying that "some of the financial debt crisis we have is because of the unfair financial system that makes Africa pay higher interest than others."

The agenda also included a review of the implementation of continental and regional declarations in Africa.

The ministerial-level meeting preceding the heads of state’s participation adopted the theme of education for the AU in 2024.

The MYCM, established in 2017, serves as the primary platform for the African Union, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Mechanisms (RMs), and member states to jointly assess and accelerate continental integration.

Egypt’s participation

In addition to Presidents Ruto and Osmani, notable participants in the meeting include President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt, who chairs the African Heads of State and Government Committee for development issues in the continent, as well as President Ali Bongo of Gabon, President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.

President El-Sisi, who arrived in Nairobi on Saturday, is expected to deliver a speech presenting Egypt's ambitious two-year roadmap for its presidency of the Steering Committee of the African Development Agency (NEPAD).

The NEPAD is the African Union’s body responsible for organizing and financing projects and programmes to achieve the continent’s sustainable development goals.

The Kenyan president lauded El-Sisi’s presidency of the NEPAD Steering Committee, which Egypt assumed in February.

Ruto also noted NEPAD's remarkable achievements, especially in issues related to regional and continental integration.

He also thanked El-Sisi for Egypt's success in hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in the Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh in November last year.

The climate conference served as an opportunity to find a solution to the biggest challenge facing the world, which is climate change, he further said.

"We are determined to lead this continent and confront our challenges," he went on to say.

The Egyptian president will also deliver another speech during the session on the environment, climate change, and the blue economy.

Source of solutions

Addressing the opening session, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that Africa is the source of solutions to worldwide challenges.

The world is now facing unprecedented challenges prompted by the coronavirus outbreak, climate change, and the war in Ukraine. Africa is being burdened by these challenges, she said.

The meeting provides an excellent chance to materialize the aspirations of the African people and the 2063 Agenda, she added.

She said that the African countries are fully supported by the UN, citing the G-20 general secretariat call for taking measures to ease the repercussions of climate change.

She said climate change has placed more burdens on the African continent, calling for fostering integration among African leaders to defend African interests at international forums.

 

 

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