Addis Ababa February 21/2023/ENA The eastern Africa region needs to have a coordinated approach to address pressing issues and come up with solutions, AU Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) representative said.
In an exclusive interview with ENA at the margins of the recent AU summit in Addis Ababa, AU Eastern Africa Standby Force representative Steve Lalande, said regional organizations mechanisms are closer to the ground in the region and building blocks for continental integration.
“Of course, there are issues that can be solved very quickly. There are issues that you know take time because we come from different regions, different countries. Each member state is a sovereign nation. They also have ways of addressing issues, but when we come together, we find solutions,” he stressed.
According to him, integration starts in the region and as this progresses, it is possible to have inter-regional integration that eventually leads to continental integration.
We have Vision 2063 and “it is up to us Africans, our governance to come together and work together to find solutions, and surely work towards the vision that we all aspire.”
Asked about African solutions to African problems, the representative said there are different programs, which some are a little bit more advance. One of the fantastic things now is we have the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which is being implemented; and this is good news.
“There are various programs, various issues that are being dealt with individually, at different pace. So I think we will get that. But, obviously it needs us to come together and address those issues together. This is African solutions to African problems.”
In eastern African region we have a number of organizations to address various issues so as to find a way to come together with a coordinated approach, Lalande stated.
The Union is a fantastic platform that brings together all member states so that they can come up with an agenda and address them.
Responding to the question about Ethiopia’s effort to ensure peace and stability in the region, he stated that “we consider the political capital of Africa to be here in Ethiopia. So we have great expectations about Ethiopia’s role in facilitating this dialogue, coming together.”
The Eastern Africa standby force is one of the five standby forces in five regions of Africa. It is a regional organization whose mandate is to enhance peace and security in the region. It consists of military, police and civilian components.