Chairperson Ping Urged Joint AU-RECs-ECA-AfDB Coordination Committee to Accelerate the Integration Process of the Continent

AU The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Mr. Jean Ping, urged the joint AU-RECs-ECA-AfDB Coordination Committee to speed up actions leading to the effective implementation of its programmes in a bid to concretise the integration of the continent.

Mr. Ping was speaking on Monday 8 November 2010, while chairing the Eighth Meeting of the Joint AU-RECs-ECA-AfDB Coordination Committee in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania hosted by the East African Community (EAC), in the presence of Ambassador Juma V. Mwapachu, Secretary General of the EAC and Mr. Ratamne Lamamra, Commissioner for Peace and Security in the AUC and Dr. Rene Kouassi Nguettia, Director of Economic Affairs of the AUC and Mr. Joseph Birungi, of the EAC.

The Chairperson of the AUC commended the EAC for the continuous efforts aimed at accelerating the integration process of Africa. He recalled that long before the independence of most of the African states, several African leaders had called for the creation of regional economic blocs, convinced that the future belonged to big continental bodies.

The Chairperson, however, noted that despite this pioneering role, the regional integration process in Africa had been hindered by several challenges, including problems related to infrastructure development, funding, the free movement of persons, peace and security issues and the latent but ever present debate over the speed and scope of integration.

Chairperson Ping commended the Regional Economic Communities, such as the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC),  for taking measures to ensure the free movement of persons and exhorted other RECs to do the same.

Speaking later, Ambassador Juma welcomed the delegates to Tanzania, and in particular to the Zanzibar island. “As we meet here today we cannot fail to be seized of the enormity of the mandate of the RECs as the building blocks of the African Union”, he said, adding that there are challenges of a global dimension, such as climate change and unfavourable terms of trade, both of which require joint efforts and effective responses of essentially national but also of regional nature and scope.

The ECA Chief Executive further explained that the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite is a unique model that should be hailed and replicated in other parts of Africa. “The fact that we have structured this platform is clear recognition of the seriousness we place on our collective quest to share insights and experiences to better deliver on our lofty mandates” he underlined.

The meeting which took place at the Diamond La Gemma Dell’Est Hotel in Zanzibar brought together high Officials of the African Union Commission (AUC), the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and African Development Bank (AfDB), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Community of Sahel Saharan States (CEN-SAD), East African Community (EAC), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the European Commission (EC).

The main objective of the meeting was to exchange views on African and world economic, political and environmental issues as well as consider and adopt the report of the  two working groups:  the report of the Secretariat Officials Committee that focused on the  Minimum Integration Programme (MIP) , Agriculture, Infrastructure and Education amongst others,  under the umbrella of the Department of Economic Affairs of the AUC, on the one hand, and the report of the on Peace and Security issues including the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) 2010 and the implementation of the AU-EU capacity building component of the Africa Peace Facility (APF) chaired by the Department of Peace and Security of the AUC.

Both reports were adopted by consensus during the meeting under the chairmanship of Mr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the AUC.

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