Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Though much progress has been made to ensure the freedom and dignity of African peoples, achieving the economic emancipation of the continent remains a daunting challenge, Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and current chair of the African Union (AU) Executive Council, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said.
“Various policies and strategies have been tried and tested in the past, but we all know that they did not succeed in taking us to the Promised Land,” Tedros said at a retreat of the Council, being held in the North-west Ethiopian city of Bahir Dar.
African Foreign Ministers are holding the three-day retreat ahead of the 24th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council to reflect on the views articulated by the civil society in their respective countries about the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the future that Africans in general want.
The Council is due to meet here next week in preparation for the 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly, scheduled to be held at the organisation’s headquarters from 30-31 Jan. 2014.
According to Tedros, the progress achieved over the last decade in promoting peace and stability as well as ensuring rapid economic growth has rekindled a new sense of optimism that Africa's renewal is beginning to happen.
“However, there is need to sustain the momentum by consolidating peace and stability in our continent and accelerating rapid economic growth with a view to bringing about the desired structural transformation,” he said, noting that recent developments demonstrated a deficit in governance and democratisation.
“If we want to claim the 21st century as ours and realise the African Renaissance, there is a need for a paradigm shift in our political and socio-economic governance and development,” Tedros said, stressing the need for “capable leadership which is free from rent seeking behaviour, fully committed to Africa's transformation agenda and tirelessly works to break the vicious cycle of poverty.”
But as Africans strive to meet their goals, he said, a favourable global environment would be vital for achieving their vision while they properly analyse their challenges and threats.
Hosted by the Ethiopian Government in collaboration with the AU Commission (AUC), the retreat is expected to generate more views for enriching a framework document jointly developed by the AUC, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Agenda 2063.
The document, ‘Agenda 2063: A shared Strategic Framework for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development’, is the outcome of a wide consultative process and it is intended to be adopted at the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in June/July 2014.
Besides the AU Foreign Ministers, participants at the ministerial retreat include members of the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC), ECA Executive Secretary Carlos Lopez, AfDB President Donald Kaberuka and senior officials of the AUC.