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30th AU summit concludes with call
for African unity, eradicating corruption 

ADDIS ABABA  Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The 30th African Union (AU) summit concluded on Monday with a call for strengthening the African unity and the fight against corruption.

The summit, which was held at the headquarters of the pan African block in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa from Jan. 22 to 29, underscored the need to eradicate corruption and poverty in the African content together with fast tracking the realization of AU’s flagship Agenda 2063.

Paul Kagame, Rwandan President and current Chairman of the African Union, said in his closing remarks that the summit “was successful with major decisions that would go a long way in helping the continent achieve its short, medium and long term goals and prosperity of Africa.”

Kagame further underscored the substance of the summit’s outcome with a potential “to drive the continent forward.”

According to Kagame, the summit mainly stressed Africa’s independence, “pulling together its resources, work together, be more efficient, and more effective with one voice and support each other.”

Kagame, however, stressed the change of mindset and hard-work towards the realization of the expected African unity and the reform process of the union.

“Africa isn’t going to remain as a place that keeps depending on the kindness of other parts of the world,” Kagame affirmed, adding that “there are things that we can depend so much on ourselves.”

“If we have problems we mobilize resources and deploy resources to get the results we want,” he added.

According to Kagame, the reform process has mobilized African leaders towards improving the situation in Africa and together leading the African continent forward.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, also said that “the choice of the fight against corruption is a very relevant choice.”

“This scourge is impacting the development of Africa,” he said, adding that “it is a necessary imperative to fight corruption, which is a matter that has to be everyone’s concern.”

According to Mahamat, the fight against corruption “is very, pertinent and very important and has to be everybody’s struggle.”

The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), the free movement of persons and goods, and the implementation of Yamoussoukro decision on the single market and liberalization of air transport in Africa, were amongst of the major discussion topics of the summit, according to Mahamat.

The two days session of the African Heads of State and Government has also launched the Solemn Commitment on the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).

The consideration of the report of the Executive Council, the Annual report of the Chairperson of the Commission for the period January to December 2017, and the report on the implementation of the Assembly Declarations were also part of the summit.



African first ladies, AU launch campaign against HIV/AIDS

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) and the Organization of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) on Monday launched a new campaign, aiming to help end childhood AIDS in Africa by 2030 and keep mothers healthy.

The new campaign is expected to support the continent’s efforts to prevent new infections and childhood deaths.

The campaign, launched during the OAFLA General Assembly on the sideline of the 30th AU summit, aims to unite people and organizations at local and global levels to advance healthcare delivery that will contribute to ending childhood AIDS, according to the AU.

To achieve its goal, the campaign will first focus on 2020 global targets for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission as outlined in the AU’s catalytic framework to end AIDS, TB and eliminate malaria in Africa by 2030.

“While Africa has made unprecedented progress in responding to the AIDS epidemic, the response to childhood AIDS is lagging behind,” said Roman Tesfaye, first lady of Ethiopia and president of OAFLA.

“To end the AIDS epidemic in Africa, we must act now to prioritize the use of knowledge and the implementation of tools that exist, to keep children AIDS-free and their mothers healthy,” she said. “Preventing new HIV infections will transform Africa’s broader health and development agenda and provide our children with a healthy and hopeful future.”

There are up to 1.4 million children living with HIV in Africa south of the Sahara, which is over half of all children living with HIV globally, according to the AU.

Children are at greater risk of the potentially fatal consequences of HIV than any other age group, and detection and treatment levels remain low, said the AU.

Of the total number of children living with HIV, around 50 percent are not receiving treatment, and of these untreated children 50 percent die before they are 2 years old, it said.

The campaign will drive for increased investments to strengthen health systems and achieve maximum impact where the burden is highest, said Marie-Goretti Harakeye, who heads AU’s Division for AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases.


AU to host conferences on crises in Sahel region, Lake Chad basin

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The African Uunion (AU) will host two conferences later this year on the crises in the Sahel region and Lake Chad basin, an official said on Monday.

Smail Chergui, commissioner at AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), said the Sahel region crisis conference will be held in a few weeks’ time in Nouakchott, Mauritania, to be followed by a conference on Lake Chad basin crisis shortly after that.

“We assessed during this AU summit candidly that we don’t need to adopt any more documents,” he said. “Now is a question of implementation, and promoting better exchange of information between our member states security services.”

Chergui said he will be meeting United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey D. Feltman on Tuesday to discuss the situation in the two regions and preparations for the upcoming conferences.

The Sahel region, encompassing Eritrea from the east to Mauritania on the west, has in recent years been gripped by insecurity with attacks perpetrated by extremist groups and criminal networks.

An armed force comprised of Sahelian countries Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mauritania, named G-5, has been established with the help of the European Union, the United States and the AU to combat crime and terrorism.

The Lake Chad basin, comprising Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger, has been wracked by attacks from terror group Boko Haram.


AU unveils plaque inaugurating single African air transport market

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) on Monday inaugurated the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) in the framework of the ongoing 30th AU summit in Ethiopia’s Capital Addis Ababa.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who is the current chair of the 55-member African bloc, and Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, have unveiled the plaque on the premises of the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, marking the inauguration of the SAATM.

The SAATM is a flagship project of AU Agenda 2063, which aspires to create a single unified air transport market in Africa, the liberalization of civil aviation in Africa and as an impetus to the continent’s economic integration agenda.

According to the AU, the launch of SAATM is expected to spur more opportunities to promote trade, cross-border investments in the production and service industries including tourism, resulting in the creation of an additional 300,000 direct and 2 million indirect jobs.


African Union and China enjoy strong partnership: AU official

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) has a “very strong” partnership with China based on mutual respect, a senior AU official told Xinhua on Monday.

“We have very strong partnership with China, and we work in different fields of our cooperation with China,” said AU Director for Political Affairs Khabele Matlosa.

The partnership is based on mutual benefit and should be sustained and further strengthened, Matlosa said on the sidelines of the 30th AU summit, in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.

“Going forward, we have to stick to the principle of mutual respect, mutual trust, and mutual benefit, so that both sides benefit from this partnership,” said the director.

Matlosa noted that terrorism is a major threat to peace and security as well as governance and development in Africa.

“Therefore, we need to also partner with different actors, including China, to address this menace on the continent,” he added.



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