African Union leaders: Rising world right-wing worrying
25 Jan 2017 - 16:22
By Seleshi Tessema and Addis Getachew | AA
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia: Africa today is challenged by potent global trends calling for the member states to strengthen their solidarity, most notably the international rise of the far-right, said African Union Commission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma Wednesday.
She made the remarks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa at the opening of the 30th Ordinary Session of the union’s Executive Council, made up of African foreign ministers ahead of the upcoming leaders’ summit slated for Jan. 30.
“We are building Africa’s future in a fast-changing world with contradictory trends,” she said, citing Brexit and the rising far-right in both the U.S. and possibly in critical European elections this year.
Zuma was particularly critical of the new Donald Trump administration, which she said “threatens the consensus on climate change, attacks hard-won women’s rights, and move towards protectionism.”
Abdalla Hamdok, acting executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, echoed her ideas.
“The outcome of the U.S. elections and Brexit are two examples of dissenting voices against globalization,” Hamdok said. “We [Africa] may experience a loss of momentum towards negotiating development-friendly trade agreements.”
Citing what he called “global mega-trends,” Hamdok said the world financial landscape is seeing dramatic changes hurting Africa’s capacity to finance its development.
According to him, implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require an estimated $3 trillion a year. “For Africa alone, financing needs are estimated at $638 billion a year.”
During their two-day meeting, the foreign ministers will be looking into the agenda items submitted to them by the Permanent Representatives Committee, made up ambassadors accredited to the African Union.
According to the program made available by the AU, the summit will be an eventful one, including the election of the AU Commission chair, deputy chair, and seven commissioners.
At AU headquarters interest groups are busy promoting their favorite candidates. Five countries are campaigning for their respective candidates from each of Africa’s five regions: Eastern, Central, Western, Northern, and Southern.
Other important issues include reforming and financing the continental body, implementation of free trade pacts, and the security situation in Mali, South Sudan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Central African Republic.
Meeting on Jan. 30, the leaders will also decide on Morocco’s bid to rejoin the African Union – a hotly debated issue, a diplomat close to the AU who preferred to remain anonymous told Anadolu Agency.