Organizations striving for Africa's integration are called upon
on Wednesday to work cooperatively in order to deliver efficiency
at the opening ceremony of the ninth ministerial meeting of the
African Union (AU).
"Performing institutions are vital for building-blocks in the
integration process. We must therefore ensure that the institutions
created to promote the integration objective are not only enabled
to do so individually, but also work cooperatively and in synergy
among themselves to speed up the process," said Dr.Isatou
N'jie-Saidy, Gambian vice president and secretary of state for
She expected this meeting to "provide an opportunity to evolve
new strategies for forging ahead towards the all-important goal
ofintegrating our continent, both politically and
"Integration is vital to our prosperity, security and
development. There is therefore the need for a serious
examinationof the mandate and functions of each and every one of
our regionalintegration bodies, with a view to ensuring that they
deliver effectively on their mandates," said Saidy.
Abdoulie Janneh, UN under-secretary-general and executive
secretary of UNECA (United Nations Economic Commission for
Africa),echoed her view at the opening ceremony.
"Although the African Union currently has eight formal RECs
(Regional Economic Comminities), the reality on the ground is that
Africa has at least 14 inter-governmental integration
organizations, each of which has its own identity, its own treaties
and its own protocols, and they also have their own governance
structures and membership, many of which overlap," said Janneh.
"Therefore, while the rationale for Africa's integration is
already clear and compelling, a well coordinated and harmonized
aproach to establishing Africa's common market is now urgently
needed," he concluded.
Regional integration and rationalization of the RECs are
dominant themes of this two-day AU ministerial meeting, held in
preperation for the seventh AU summit due to take place on July 1
Other issues high on the agenda include post-conflict
construction in Darfur, situation in Sudan, the Middle East and
Palestine, reform of the United Nations, and bird flu.
(Xinhua News Agency June 29, 2006)