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Outgoing AU chair denounces less focus on continental interests

Outgoing AU chair denounces less focus on continental interests

African Union

The outgoing African Union chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has blamed the focus on national interests over continental interests for the slow growth of the continent.

“Africa has lost over 40% of its market share, and Member states have open sky agreements with many more non-African countries, than they do with other African countries,” she said in her welcome address to the Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) of the AU.

The 32nd Ordinary Session of the PRC opened on Sunday, July 10 at the Kigali Convention Center in Rwanda’s capital bringing together all the 54 African Union Member States as well as AU officials to kick start the 2016 AU Summit.

We have more to win, than to lose from implementing our African agenda.

Dlamani-Zuma said the issue of unity and cooperation is very vital in reaching the goals of the Agenda 2063 calling for a balance between national interests and the continental common good.

“It would be difficult for us to move forward on the transport corridors that connect our countries; on the regional energy pools that must power industries and homes; on free movement of people; on regional value chains in beneficiation and manufacturing, without cooperation amongst countries and with the Regional Economic Communities,” she said.

However, Dlamini-Zuma acknowledged the commitments by member states to move towards self reliance and fund AU operations and programmes to reduce the impact of over-reliance on outside funding.

“Closely linked to our principles of unity, cooperation and solidarity, is that of self-reliance and independence. The Commission, of course, can, has tried to and must do better to ensure that it streamlines its activities to focus on Agenda 2063 priorities,” she advises.

She ended by expressing gratitude to the PRC for its role in strengthening the other organs of the Commission and called on the continental players to harmonize and build momentum towards the Agenda 2063 of the Union.

“We have more to win, than to lose from implementing our African agenda,” she said.

The South African Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been the AU chairperson since 2012 and did not apply for a second term. Her successor will be elected during this summit which will end her leadership position with the Commission.

The 2016 AU Summit has started under the theme: “2016: Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on the Rights of Women”.

The 32nd Ordinary Session of the PRC will end Monday, July 11 and then the 29th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council will start on Wednesday July 13.

The 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the AU is scheduled to take place between Sunday 17 and Monday July 18, 2016.