African leaders unite to champion integration, development, and cooperation

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At the recently held Fifth Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of the African Union (AU) in Nairobi, Kenya, the African Heads of State and Government collectively expressed a strong commitment to fostering integration, development, and cooperation across the continent.

A wide range of leaders were in attendance, including those representing the Bureau of the Assembly of the AU and chairpersons from the eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs). The meeting concluded with the unanimous adoption of a draft declaration, reinforcing their shared commitment to advancing continental unity and cooperation.

The meeting was presided over by President Azali Assoumani of Comoros, the Chairperson of the AU. Among the distinguished attendees were President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria and Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as well as Presidents from Kenya, Egypt, Gabon, Djibouti, Libya, Senegal, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Key aspects of the agenda included the bolstering of connectivity and tourism initiatives within Africa. This includes plans to expedite the introduction of E-visa facilitation, which is expected to significantly ease intra-African travel. Furthermore, the leaders committed to promote the ratification of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, a vital step that would contribute to the realisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agenda.

Building on these objectives, the leaders also affirmed their support to operationalize and broaden key initiatives such as the AfCFTA Adjustment Facility, Payment and Settlement System, and Guided Trade Initiative. These measures are designed to enhance trade facilitation and foster stronger economic cooperation among African nations.

President Tinubu, in his capacity as the Chairperson of ECOWAS, presented an exhaustive report detailing the progress and challenges faced in the area of regional integration. He stressed ECOWAS’ dedication to fostering stability, democracy, and economic growth across the continent, demonstrating the sub-regional organisation’s steadfast commitment to upholding the rule of law and democratic values.

Significantly, President Tinubu further reiterated ECOWAS’ resolve to tackle security challenges head-on, demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to actively work towards a unified, prosperous, and integrated Africa.

In essence, this high-level meeting represents a significant stride in advancing intra-African cooperation and integration, aligning with the continent’s broader vision of collective growth and development. The commitments expressed by the African leaders in this forum provide a powerful testament to their collective determination to achieve a thriving, interconnected, and prosperous Africa.

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