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African continent stays united with AU

Editor: Zhang Dan 丨CCTV.com

06-19-2015 21:29 BJT

By Liu Naiya, PhD of African Studies at Peking University, senior expert on African issues at the Institute of West Asian and African Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

On June 14-15, the 25th African Union(AU) summit on "Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa Agenda 2063" was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chinese President XI Jinping sent a message to commemorate the AU’s role in Africa's development, integration process, as well as international and regional affairs.

The AU is a diplomatic arrangement of African countries to seek a consensus on matters of regional peace, security, integration and development. The Summit of the Heads of African States is held on a regular basis, biannually or for special reasons to achieve political consultations and resolutions to be adopted with principles that are binding on Member States.

This year's AU Summit engaged in discussions on its first Ten-Year Plan along with current African peace and security topics, the fight against terrorism, women's rights, interests and development, the capital sources of African integration, as well as disease prevention and control in the continent.

In recent years, the world economy has remained in the doldrums, but the situation is better in the African Continent with its countries on average witnessing economic growth rates of over 5%. Accordingly, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Development Bank have forecast Africa's development prospects for the next 50 years starting in 2013.

The Summit has refined its priorities previously outlined in the report. Consequently, South African President Jacob Zuma pointed out that the African people appear more ambitious. He proposed to end all wars in the region by 2020, to eradicate starvation by 2025 and to achieve regional integration in 50 years to build a peaceful and prosperous new Africa.

The reality remains far from ideal. The African Continent still struggles with problems such as terrorism, spread of the Ebola virus, torture and illegal migration, which have exposed African countries’ woefully inadequate disease control and prevention mechanisms, as well as its lack of economic development capacity, bringing an urgent need to strengthen cooperation with the international community, including China to boost industrial development, acceleration of Africa's integration process while creating a united and developing new Africa that can be attractive to global talents so development issues can be resolved.

The integrated development of Africa continues to be an essential theme for the AU. The Summit had deliberated on an agreement to establishing the “Tripartite Free Trade Area” (TFTA) signed by the leaders of 26 African countries in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. The existing “Southern African Development Community" (SADC), “Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa" (COMESA) and the "East African Community" (EAC) will be integrated into the "Tripartite Free Trade Area ". South African President Jacob Zuma said on June 13 that TFTA will accelerate economic development and create greater prosperity for Africa.

Over the past 10 years, the AU and its Member States have reached a broad consensus on Africa's development and major hot-button issues through resolutions, decisions, agreements and action documents through consultations. Considering that the majority of these States had been subjected to colonial oppression, the AU regards its hard-fought independence as its life and blood, which is reflected on how Member States deal with its treatment of peace and security affairs.

Although there are severe shortages of peacekeepers and funding, the AU still advocates for solutions on sensitive issues that Africans must regularly contend with. For example for solving the Darfur diplomatic crisis and combating the militant Islamist group al-Shabab in Somalia, AU-led UNAMID and AMISOM have been set up to provide, by the international community,  the security for the continent of Africa.  

Additionally, the AU remains committed to non-vital issues, such as United Nations Security Council reform and global climate change, which can protect the interests of Africa to unite the continent for further self-improvement.


 

 

Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

 

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