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African envoys meet in Ethiopia on AU summit preparations

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- Members of the African Union (AU) Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) on Tuesday met at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, on the framework of the 22nd AU summit.

The ambassadors met for their 27th ordinary session ahead of the session of the AU Executive Council meeting and the summit of heads of state scheduled for Jan. 27-28 and 30-31 respectively at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The AU meetings are set for Jan. 21-31 with the theme of “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture: Harnessing Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development.”

In her opening remarks of the PRC meeting, Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma, Chairperson of AU Commission, noted that the focus would be on the internal affairs of the commission in the year 2014 to better support its policy organs, including the PRC and member states.

In particular, we shall build a strong institution, an institution that retains Africa’s best minds and skilled professionals,” she said. “In order to bring much needed and lasting change, we will look at the challenges the Commission faces and address them accordingly.”

The commission continues working with regional economic communities (RECs) and member states to empower African people, especially women and youth, promoting investment in health, education, public services, sciences, research and innovation, said the chairperson.

It works also to promote peace and security, good governance, democracy and human rights, she said.

Efforts will also be made to implement policy frameworks to foster sustainable development, increase agricultural production, food and nutrition security, grow agro-business and intra-Africa trade, develop blue and green economies, and sound environmental and natural resource management, she added.

The commission also works hard to speed up infrastructure development to connect the continent, and foster environments for inclusive economic development, industrialization, beneficiation of mineral resources, private sector development and intra-Africa trade, she said.

The chairperson stated that the commission’s work on the different areas would be guided by the theme of the union—the Year of Agriculture and Food Security.

Dlamini-Zuma reiterated concern over the security situations in Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan.

The Peace and Security Council, IGAD and the AU Commission are working tirelessly to forge a peaceful solution to the conflicts,” she said. “Our collective efforts are not only to end the bloodshed, but also to address the recurring and root causes of these conflicts, in order to building lasting peace and stability. “

The progress made in Mali, Somalia, and Madagascar should make Africans more resolute than ever to fulfill the pledge of the Golden celebration of the pan-African organization to end conflicts and silence guns by 2020, noted the chairperson.

In her opening remarks, Kongit Sinegiorgis, Ethiopian permanent representative to AU, who is also Chairperson of the PRC, emphasized on addressing challenges the AU Commission and AU member states are facing to help improve implementation capacity.

Kongit underlined need to reducing number of decisions adopted by policy organs to give adequate time for implementation.

Otherwise, adopting so many decisions and not getting them implemented will have no meaning to our people and render our organization weak and ineffective,” said Kongit.

She also underscored the need to deliberate on ways of enhancing institutional capacity of the AU Commission.

The ambassadors are expected to exchange views on specific reports including among others the reports of the Advisory Sub- committee on administrative, budgetary and financial matters; sub- committee on programs and conferences; sub-committee on structures; multilateral cooperation; economic and trade matters; sub- committee on contributions; including the annual report of the AU Commission and that of the African Court for Human and Peoples’ Rights.

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