Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, 23 June 2014 – “We are holding this meeting and the Summit on the theme Agriculture and Food Security, at a time when our vision for the next fifty years, Agenda 2063… the Africa we want, is taking shape”. This statement was made by Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission while adressing the official opening of the 25th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, today 23 June 2014 at the Sipopo Conference Center in Malabo, Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
The Chairperson of the AUC urged the Ministers to look at progress on decisions that should consolidate the work of the Union and take the continent forward.
“We are already in Year One of the fifty years horizon of Agenda 2063. We are therefore paying particular attention to those priority areas that will propel our Agenda forward in the first decade”, she said. These include the revolution in education, skills, science, technology and innovation; harmonized curricula so that young Africans can study and work anywhere in the continent; the free movement of Africans; the Continental Free Trade Area; industrialization and economic development; and connecting all capitals and commercial centres through infrastructure, rail and roads, energy and ICT.
Addressing the theme of the 23rd AU Summit, Dr. Dlamini Zuma said Agriculture and Food Security, are critical priority for Africa.
“If we get this right, it has the potential – along with what we do with the Blue economy – not only to propel us towards our goal of eradicating poverty and hunger in one generation, but also to contribute towards the industrialization through agro-processing and the development of infrastructure”, she noted.
Dr. Dlamini Zuma reiterated that agriculture and agribusinesses are critical to the empowerment of people, especially women and youth. “The Summit debate must look at the practical actions necessary to achieve this, including modernizing and mechanizing agriculture” she said. (see complete speech of the AUC Chairperson on the AU website: www.au.int).
The Chairperson presented an overview of the issues to be considered by the Executive Council including the alternative sources of funding of the AU as well as strengthening AU Organs such as the Pan African Parliament (PAP), the African Court for Human and People’s Rights and the African Monetary Fund, with the view to enhance Africa’s integration, among others.
Key speakers during the official opening of the Executive Council were H.E Ahmed Ould Teguidi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and Chairperson of the Executive Council; H.E Agapito Mba Moku, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Equatorial Guinea, and Dr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Present at the opening were: Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, AU Commissioners; Representatives of AU Organs and the RECs.
For two days, the Executive Council will exchange views on specific reports of the Commission to be submitted to the 23rd AU Summit scheduled to hold on 26 and 27 June 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.