DELEGATES from African countries are gathering at the International Relations and Cooperation Department offices in Pretoria as the African Union (AU) Summit gets underway.
The summit, which is being held under the theme: “Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”, is being held in South Africa for the first time since the formation of the AU in Durban in 2002.
It is expected that, leading to the Heads of States summit later this week, discussions at this summit will mostly be on the imminent adoption of the Agenda 2063 agreed to by member states in 2013.
Agenda 2063 is a call for action and a road map to achieve continental development goals.
It represents a collective effort and an opportunity for Africa to regain its power to determine its own destiny, and is underpinned by the AU vision to build an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, an Africa driven and managed by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.
African countries are committed to the regional economic integration which will enable the free movement of goods, services, people and capital between national markets.
This is fundamental to achieving robust and equitable growth in Africa. The regional integration agenda incorporates a range of objectives.
It is about giving African producers access to regional markets and integrating them into more productive regional value chains. It includes integrating financial markets, to enable capital to flow more readily among national economies.
It also includes promoting the free movement of labour, for more efficient regional labour markets and for improved access to skilled labour for specialist production.
All these objectives are essential to achieving structural transformation in African economies, boosting productivity per worker and therefore living standards.
Observers have said Agenda 2063 should be seen as a new phase in efforts by Africans to catalyse development of the continent and strengthen African integration and unity.
The Heads of State and Government, to take place later this week, will consider the report of the commission on the Ebola crisis, the report of the ministerial retreat on the first ten-year implementation plan of the Agenda 2063 and modalities for implementation of the alternative sources of financing the AU, the report of the peace and security council on its activities and the state of peace and security in Africa, and progress report of the commission on maternal, new born and child health.
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