21 January 2013, Sweetcrude/African Press Organization (APO), ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Under the theme of “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”, the 20th African Union summit officially kicked off today Monday 21st January 2013, at the AU New Conference Center, Addis Ababa, with the convening of the 25th Ordinary Session of the AU Permanent Representative Committees (PRC).
The opening ceremony was attended by Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Erastus Mwencha, AUC Deputy Chairperson, AU Commissioners, representatives of the Member States, civil society, private sector, invited guests and others.
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, in her address to the session highlighted the importance to meet the vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa by 2063 lending credence to speeding up implementation of key socio-economic, cultural and political tenets of Africa’s development.
The AUC Chairperson said that Member States, Regional Economic Communities (REC’s), AU Commission and partners across the world have a key role to play to ensure that Africa takes responsibility of its own development and thus contribute to the building of a more just and equitable world.
Reflecting on the theme of the Summit, the AUC Chairperson emphasized the key assets Africa is endowed with, including the intellectual pool of human resource capital, shared values and resources that are key in inventing and reinventing models of equitable growth and sustainable development in the continent.
Dr. Dlamini Zuma, concluded by reiterating the AU Commission’s commitment to not only providing a coordination role, but also consulting widely with all stakeholders with a view to galvanizing all views for building Africa’s strategic plan. She added that the challenges of the continent mean that 2013 will be an exciting and hardworking year for Africa. (full speech of the AUC Chairperson is available on the AU website: www.au.int)
Mr. Ferdinand Montcho, Chairperson of the PRC and Ambassador of the Republic of Benin, stressed on the setbacks of democracy in 2012, with the coup d’états in Guinea Bissau and in Mali as well as the recent escalation of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and in the Central African Republic (CAR); while also deploring hitches in the relations between Sudan and South Sudan despite the agreements reached.
Mr Montcho said, the 2012 Report of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) shows growth for Africa though it has no effect on the daily lives of African citizens. In order to promote rule of law, integration and development, Ambassador Montcho called on all Africans to mobilize, underscoring the timely celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
“It is time to celebrate and to pay tribute to the Founding Fathers, but most importantly, it will be the time to take stock of what has been achieved so far and reflect on how future should look like”, the ambassador noted..(full speech of the PRC Chairperson available on the AU website: www.au.int)
In their two-day meeting, the Ambassadors will exchange views on specific reports including the reports of the Advisory Sub-committee on administrative, budgetary and financial matters; sub-committee on programs and conferences; sub-committee on structures; multilateral cooperation; economic and trade matters; sub-committee on contributions; the progress report on the draft Strategic Plan 2014-2017 for the African Union Commission; the report on the NEPAD; the Special Emergency Fund for Drought and Famine in Africa; the headquarters host agreement; as well as that on Audit Matters among others.
The Ambassadors will also consider the revision of the rules of procedure relating to the process of election of members of the Commission as well as the working documents and draft decisions in preparation for the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, scheduled to be held from 24-25 Jan 2013.
The PRC 25th Ordinary Session will end its deliberations on Tuesday 22nd Jan 2013, and will submit its report to the Executive Council for adoption.