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AU Spotlights Strategic Partnership with Emerging Powers
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The strategic partnership between Africa and the emerging powers including China, India and Brazil has been spotlighted on the AU agenda.

At the 13th Ordinary Session of African Union's Permanent Representatives Committee concluded in Addis Ababa on Thursday, the ambassadors to the AU has given their consideration to the Task Force report on the strategic partnership with the three countries.

A meeting of the Task Force, composed of eminent African experts from both the private and public sectors, research institutes and development partner institutions, was held last November at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, aimed to provide guidance for the development of a framework document for the establishment and operationalization of Africa's strategic partnerships with the three countries.

The Task Force put forward recommendations that Africa's strategic partnership with the emerging powers should be consistent with the clearly articulated vision and development strategy of the AU as embodied in the Strategic Plan of the Commission and the NEPAD program, and Africa must face the emerging powers as a united continent and strengthen its integration agenda.

It also recommended that the priorities of Africa in the context of partnership should include acceleration of industrialization, infrastructure development, agricultural development, technology and knowledge development and acquisition, human capital development, enhancement of market access, and development of modern services sector.

And the immediate objective of the partnership is effective industrialization of the continent, the development of service industries, and the diversification of African economies. The partnership should harness the experiences and comparative advantages of the partners in achieving this objective.

Meanwhile, a media strategy and program highlighting the positive image of Africa should be developed and marketed globally and especially in partner countries.

The Task Force report also emphasized that Africa must make efforts to understand the cultures and values of the strategic partner countries and vice versa. A program of cultural exchange must be an integral element of the strategic partnership framework.

There is a need to incorporate an effective monitoring, evaluation and follow-up mechanism in the partnership framework, according to the report.

The report urged AU to assess every two years the partnership with the emerging powers, and coordinate the assessment every five years of all partnerships in which Africa is engaged with the rest of the world to ensure that they are consistent with the interests and needs of the peoples of Africa.

(Xinhua News Agency January 26, 2007)

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