Addis Ababa, 27 January 2013 (ECA) - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Africa had the experience to forge solutions to its own challenges and contribute to our global goals of inclusive growth, social justice and protecting our environment as the 20th African Union (AU) summit kicked off today in Addis Ababa under the theme "Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance" with high hopes for the continent.
“More African children are in schools, especially girls. More clinics are helping more women survive childbirth. More African women sit in Government and key decision-making positions,” Mr. Ban said.
“Our destination is clear: A future where Africa's wealth enriches all of Africa's people. Where misrule is only found in history books. Where Africa's goods get a fair price on the global market. Where global partnerships mean shared prosperity.”
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chair of the African Union Commission also hailed Africa's economic progress.
“Currently, six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are African, and the continent has been growing at an average of 5% annually for over a decade despite the global financial crisis”.
She said Africa is well endowed with natural resources, which are critical components in fast tracking industrialization on the continent.
Citing in particular China's economic success over the past 30 years, Dlamini-Zuma said she has the confidence that Africa's renaissance can be done in a short time.
"We are filled with optimism and enthusiasm that in the year that we celebrate our 50th anniversary, the continent of hope and opportunity and is on the move," she said.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who took over the Chairmanship of the African Union (AU), pledged to prioritise the implementation of the AU plans seeking to boost agriculture and the goals towards industrialization.
“There is no doubt that Africa needs to sustain the growth momentum that it has been able to achieve over the last decade. This can only be done if we manage to bring structural transformation,' Hailemariam said.
Hailemariam outlined his key agenda for the Presidency by calling for effective African participation in the development of the new set of UN anti-poverty goals to replace the UN Millennium Development Goals.
The summit was attended by 37 Heads of State and Government from across Africa, and heads of several international organizations.
The summit discussed a broad range of peace and security challenges in Africa, including armed conflict in Mali as well as the Africa Post-2015 development agenda and climate change. They also exchanged views over the report of the African high-level trade committee and progress made since the last summits on the setting up of a Continental Free Trade Area. in line with the Abuja Treaty road map
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