By Ekemini Ladejobi
Addis Ababa – Moussa Faki, Chairperson, African Union ( AU), says free trade is solution to the development of continent.
Faki said this when he declared open the 31st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the 29th AU Summit on Friday in Addis Ababa.
The theme of this year’s summit which began on June 29 is entitled: “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in the Youth.”
“Free trade is solution to Africa’s development; it would further create jobs for the continent’s teeming unemployed youths,’’ he said.
Faki also stressed the need for reforms in the AU to enable it gain respectability among comity of nation.
“There is the need to speak with one voice; this is crucial to Africa’s success in the world stage.’’
Faki, who also spoke on peace and security situation in the continent, said in order to achieve this, Africa must take charge of its needs.
He added that dialogue was the only solution to conflict and war.
The AU Chair also spoke on the need for African women to be fully empowered, adding that the AU’s commitment is key to its implementation.
Faki further reiterated the need for follow up on the decisions taken by the leaders of the continent on the AU’s agenda 2063, formulated in January summit.
The agenda aims to help Africa achieve “the African we want,’’ as captured in the AU vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful continent, driven by its citizens and represented a dynamic force in the global arena.
Also, the Acting Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Abdallah Hamdok said that the economic projections of Africa is currently at 3.2 per cent and may rise to 3.8 per cent in 2018.
He suggested that the AU must leverage on factors, such as commodity prices, youth unemployment, empowerment and education among others to grow and “ weather the shocks.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of the executive council include Ministers of Foreign Affairs of 55 member countries of AU.