Africa Needs Coordination to Implement Decisions, Achieve Dev’t Target: AU Commissioner

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Addis Ababa February 2/2022/ENA/ African Union Commissioner Musa Faki said coordination is needed to effectively implement decisions of the summit and to mitigate existing challenges in order to achieve development target in Africa.

The Commissioner made the remark at the opening of the 40th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council (Ministerial Session) of the AU that kicked off today in Addis Ababa.

During the occasion, Musa Faki said the level of implementing the decisions of the summits is low mainly due to lack of financial capacity and coordination.

According to him, Africa is facing COVID-19 and insecurity challenges that are the main sources of socioeconomic crisis undermining development and need accurate measures.

The pandemic has caused socioeconomic crisis, including, disruption of health system and increasing inflation, the commissioner noted.

The continent needs 154 billion USD to respond to the COVID-19 impact and achieve the agenda 2063 target, he said.

The progress in vaccine is low in Africa, with less than 10 percent fully vaccinated, and less than 11 percent partially vaccinated, Musa stated.

He pointed out that AUC reform is progressive in technology and gender sectors, and it needs to expand to other institutions and agencies.

Ensuring transparency and accountability in administering financial resources have been improving, he added.

Musa admired countries that eased Visa restriction for African fellows to the implementation of African Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA).

UN Economic Commission for Africa Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe said Africa like the rest of the world today needs to build resilience against a number of threats, including climate change, cyber security risks and pandemics, infectious diseases, weak governance and conflict.

Africa is also facing challenges of food security, debt burden, ineffective trade and lack of technology, she stated.

East Africa countries and the Sahel region have been prone to drought caused by climate change, she pointed out.

Songwe stressed the need for improved intra-regional trade that can help improve stability of supply and even lower prices.

“It is important to leverage the AFCFTA, ECA estimates that following its implementation, the AFCFTA is expected to boost intra-Africa trade in agrifoods by 42 percent, services by 40 percent and industry by 39 percent,” Songwe said.

She has also pointed out the use of technology including artificial intelligence and finance pool for Africa to bring economic progress.

“But for Africa these risks come on the heels of depressed growth , high levels of unemployment and an increasingly closing civic space.”

She added the COVID-19 pandemic caught Africa unprepared, “our insurance systems were not deep enough and as a collective we needed to come together to respond.”

Songwe further noted that “20 years after the birth of the AU created to reinforce solidarity the continent was tested.”

“It was time when there were no donors rushing to the aid of the continent,” she observed, adding that masks of nationalism and protectionism replaced multilateralism and global solidarity.

She added “Africa is surviving the health pandemic but our economies are stretched.”

The economic cost to manage the pandemic has been high, debt to GDP has raced up.

The economy in Africa is affected by the challenges, lack of infrastructure connectivity and finance and it needs solidarity to ensure economic resilience.

Vice chair of the Executive Council and Foreign Minister of Senegal, Aissata Tall Sall, after lauding Ethiopia and the AU for the organizing and  hosting the summit, stressed that insecurity, coups, extremism, are threatening foundation of states and undermining development.

She pointed out the challenges posed from the pandemic.

She underscored the need for coordination to mitigate the challenges and respond to the socioeconomic challenges.

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