Ahead of the 22nd summit of African leaders in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Executive Council of the African Union (AU) Saturday engaged in a three-day brainstorming session on critical issues relating to the continental agenda for 2063 and the state of the Union. The session is part of the first AU Ministerial Retreat, organised at the Ethiopian northwestern city of Bahir Dar, outside the capital Addis Ababa, under the theme “Defining Agenda 2063 for Africa”.
Participants are also discussing the implementation of the Strategic Plan for 2014-2017, and revisiting AU structures, decision making processes and its implementation mechanisms for an effective delivery on set objectives.
The retreat is hosted by the Ethiopian Government in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC).
It presents an opportunity to 'revisit some of the debates, in a more convivial atmosphere', according to AUC chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
She noted that as Africa just emerged from the collective reflections on Pan Africanism and African Renaissance, and as it looks ahead towards the next 50 years, the decision to hold the retreat is 'well-timed'.
It will enable the Executive Council to add its collective contribution 'towards the Africa we want and the milestones we must set towards this end', Dlamini Zuma said in her opening remarks.
Also speaking, the Ethiopian foreign minister and chairperson of the AU Executive Council, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also emphasized on the significance of the Agenda 2063 for the future of the African continent and achievement of the African Renaissance.
He highlighted that the continent needs to address issues such as the economic emancipation, peace and stability, accelerating rapid economic growth, governance and democratization.
Africa also has the need to tackle the issue of leadership and the need for a critical mass of people with a developmental mindset, in order to realize its long term agendas, he added.
According to the AUC, the overall objective of the retreat is to give clear direction and guidelines on the key areas of Agenda 2063 for subsequent elaboration and devising best ways and means of improving the functioning of the AU structures, institutions and processes.
Agenda 2063 will be considered by the 22nd ordinary session of the Assembly of AU Heads of State and Government on 30 January, and the final adoption is expected at the 23rd ordinary session of the Assembly in June/July 2014.