Sudan: African Union welcomes Resumption of Oil production in South Sudan, and it’s Export through Sudan.
Addis Ababa-April 12th, The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma notes that this marks another major step in the improvement of relations between Sudan and South Sudan, as well as a turning point in the economic fortunes of both countries, which have suffered greatly since oil production was halted in 2012. The visit of President Salva Kiir al Mayardit in Juba on, 12 April 2013, will provide a further opportunity for the two Heads of State to consolidate the progress made in their relations in recent weeks. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma urges the importance in agreeing on the implementation of the June 2011 Agreement on Temporary Arrangements for the Administration and Security of the Abyei Area, in particular as it relates to the establishment of the Abyei Area Administration, Abyei Area Council, and the Abyei Area Police Service.
Recent progress and commitment shown by leaders of both countries is seen as an important stepping stone for the upcoming round of negotiations to be convened in Addis Ababa under the AU High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP). The Chairperson calls for the international community to continue supporting the AU in tackling outstanding issues.
Central African Republic hunt for Kony Suspended , 12th of April 2013
The Hunt for fugitive warlord Joseph Kony has been put on hold as the new government is said to be not cooperating with the African Union mission, Uganda’s top military official said. The search is suspended until further notice from the AU on the mission. The AU’s mandate allowed central African troops to be deployed in the country, in specific Bangui, where rebels deposed a president and took the capital more than a week ago.
About 3,000 African troops, the bulk from Uganda, are currently deployed against Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army in Central African Republic, where a former rebel leader named Michel Djotodia has since appointed himself president. The AU has suspended Central African Republic’s membership and imposed travel restrictions on the country’s self-appointed leaders.
Currently , the AU’s army is deployed and stationed in Central Africa, with orders to suspend their hunt. However fears are lingering over the consequences if the AU’s troops where to be withdrawn. Kony , who over the years has taken advantage of weak governments,would get a lifeline if those deployed to catch or kill him are forced to leave Central African Republic.
“catastrophe for civilians in the Central African Republic” if the African troops left the country, said Kasper Agger, a researcher with the US-based Kony watchdog group.
“A full withdrawal of the Ugandans will also mean that the Americans have to leave as well,” Agger said. “All the top commanders of the LRA are in the Central African Republic. That is where the centre of gravity of the operations should be. This will only give the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) a new safe haven.”
Public Dialogue about Human Rights and the protection of Personal Freedoms, Banjul, The Gambia, 13th of April 2013
Representatives of the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union and the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies shared their plans to bring citizens across Africa together in a Public Dialogue about human rights and the protection of personal freedoms at all levels of African societies.
“We at the African Union are committed to bringing the concept of African Shared Values to the people of Africa, in ways that they can understand and accept,” said Dr. Salah Hammad Siddiq, human rights expert for the African Union Commission. “Shared Values are the basic beliefs, ideals and principles that we as Africans agree can best unite our countries and our continent,’ Hammad explained
The Department of Political Affairs of the African Union is sponsoring a series of Shared Values Conversations in major cities of Africa through September of this year. Future Conversations are currently planned in Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Johannesburg.
According to Salah Hammad, reporters and broadcasters are important tools for communication in helping the African Union promote the importance of Shared Values , especially to youth. Hammad also called upon the media to open up their own dialogue with the public, through radio call-in programs or social media forum, in order to hear from people of diverse outlooks.
Dr. Hannah Forster, executive director of the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, called upon the media to work with organizations such as the African Union, to learn more about human rights and the protections provided under many country laws, as well as NGO’s in educating the African public about democracy and human rights.
13th Meeting of the Panel of the Wise of the African Union, Addis Ababa , 13 April 2013
Chaired by Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, former Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and Member of the Panel of the Wise, the meeting took the theme of “institutionalization.” Preceded by the Second Retreat of the Panel of the Wise and similar structures within the Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, from 11 to 12 April 2013.
The initial Retreat took place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 4 to 5 June 2012, during which participants agreed on the need to strengthen, coordinate and harmonize their relations, reach out to local and national conflict prevention and peacemaking initiatives and actors and bring their Mechanisms under one umbrella – the Pan-African Network of the Wise.
The Addis Ababa Retreat, brought together Institutions and actors in mediation and conflict prevention at all levels, reviewed and adopted the Framework for the Functioning of the PanWise.
In it’s closing deliberations , the panel agreed to swiftly submit the “Framework” to the peace and security council and through it to the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments at the Summit in May 2013.
Sixth Conference of African Ministers in charge of Integration (COMAI ) 15-19 April 2013
Attending the conference will be the African Union Commission, and the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA)
The conference is an annual statutory meeting, institutionalized by Assembly Decision. Since its institutionalization, five Conferences have been held to date. The common theme and agenda of these talks being Governance of Integration, how to improves Africa’s integration. With the purpose of allowing discussion on the progress of integration at the regional and national level. The conference also address bottlenecks and recommended solutions to overcome constraints.
In addition to discussing integration, COMAI will also address specific objectives, such as ; Reflect on the theme of the Organization of African Unity (OAU)’s 50th summit, namely – “Pan Africanism, and African Renaissance.” And Prepare the first summit on Development and Integration as per Assembly.
COMAI will offer the opportunity for Ministers of Integration to provide their own perspectives on the creation of the second Bloc of combined Regional Economic Communities (REC) and how the continental free trade area can be better mainstreamed and integrated into national development plans.
With many plans and discussions in action, COMAI has achieved certain outcomes. One of the major ones being recommendations from Ministers to key integration players, namely Member States themselves, REC’S, the African Union Commission (AUC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Regional Integration is strongly seen as a strong collective response by the continent to overcome challenges imposed by globalization, in terms of ; competitiveness, production and supply capacities, trade, investment, finance, technology transfer, knowledge development and innovation as well as skilled human resource capacity. It has also been considered as one of the best means for the continent to stem the adverse effects of Africa’s balkanization in the aftermath of colonialism.
Much progress has been made in terms of Regional Integration in Africa. Tangible progress through greater promotion of trade related infrastructure such as custom single windows, development of transport infrastructure and power interconnection projects, tariff reductions and growing levels of intra-regional trade within some Communities.
Despite tangible progress, Integration remains largely fragmented. Impacted by problems of inadequate human and financial resources, poor coordination and information exchange at the various institutional levels and poor implementation decisions.
Liwaeddine Fliss, a Policy Officer of Economic Integration and Regional Cooperation, working in the African Union Commission notes:
“For Africa to keep pace with these reasonable expectations, governments and regional and continental institutions alike must step up to the mantle by hastening the pace, depth and delivery of integration agreements, while engaging in continuous dialogue with the African citizenry who in themselves breath practical reality into the functionality of integration, constitute the main drivers of the process and on whom its impact will be felt the most – whether negative or positive.”