ADDIS ABABA – The 40th Ordinary Session of the African Union’s executive Council of foreign Ministers has kicked off in Addis Ababa ahead of the leaders summit over the weekend.
The Summit is being held under the theme “Building Resilience in Nutrition on the African Continent: Accelerate the Human Capital, Social and Economic Development”.
Delivering an opening speech at the session today, the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat has covered several critical issues that need the attention of the Union.
His speech, however, gave much emphasis on the the increasing security threats that are causing humanitarian disasters in Africa, whose economy has already been negatively impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“Peace and security have been seriously threatened in many regions of the continent,” said the chairperson.
The threats, he said, “have many faces in various parts” of the continent including intra-state conflicts, and expansion of deadly terrorism.
The unconstitutional ways of government changes have increased in the past couple of months, he said, expressing his deep concern over the “attempted coup” in Guinea-Bissau. Today’s session also began a couple of days after the AU decided to suspend Burkina Faso from its membership until constitution order is restored in western African nation.
The Chairperson also spoke on the progress of continental progress against Coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and other pertinent issues.
He said progress in vaccination has been very low with less than 10% of the African population fully immunized.
“We are convinced the production of vaccines, which has made progress in many countries, will counter this trend and provide vaccine access to the majority of our population,” he said.
In Spite of the pandemic, Mahamat said “we have to improve our health system”.
The Chairperson of the AU, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, has appealed to the executive council for the implementation of the continental bloc’s instruments to address institutional deficits.
Mahamat expressed his expectation that bold draft decisions be submitted to the leaders’ summit which are also a subject of the ongoing executive council’s session.
The foreign Ministers are currently considering the draft agenda, draft decisions and declarations.
They will forward these documents with appropriate recommendations for the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, scheduled for Feb 5 and 6, 2022, according to the AU.
Leaders of more than 25 African countries are expected to participate in the summit, while others are expected to be represented by their prime ministers and foreign ministers.