By Fauxile Kibet
African leaders attending the on-going 32nd African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit in Adis Ababa have vowed to eradicate terrorism in the continent saying that it is cancer that has plagued Africa for decades.
The newly elected AU chairman President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt said that terrorism sponsors should be identified and shamed and at the same time condemned the recent terror attack in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
“There is a need to identify the sponsors of terrorism and address its root causes while putting counter terrorism measures in place,” President Sisi said.
The president of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Mahmoud Abbas who attended the summit on his part called on the world to reject all forms of terrorism, including religious extremism.
“We are ready to fight terrorism and extremism in all our capitals. We should all abhor all forms of terrorism and extremism,” said Abbas adding that Kenya was the latest victim of the scourge.
The leaders also discussed a commitment by African leaders to adopt dialog instead of war to resolve conflict in the continent as a way of ending decades – long conflicts and acknowledged a new Africa where democratic elections and peaceful transitions have replaced political takeovers and resultant turmoil.
Countries including Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, DRC Congo, Central African Republic and Libya were recognized for choosing peace and initiating the dialogue to resolve conflicts in their countries.
Progress made towards the ratification of the African continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) was also praised as a major step forward and more countries were encouraged to sign up to the pact.
Outgoing AU chairman President Kagame who chaired the session said the ACFTA protocol, signed less than one year ago, stands only a few weeks to enter into full force
The theme of the summit is: “The year of refugees, returnees and Internally Displaced Persons”.
Among other objectives, the summit is exploring durable solutions over the issue of refugees in Africa, including Kenya.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Africa hosts a third of the world’s refugees and internally displaced persons.
He said despite the continent’s own social, economic and security challenges, African governments and people have kept their borders, doors and hearts open to millions in need.
“Africa has set the gold standard for solidarity. Its generosity is unmatched,” the UN chief observed.
World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom, the first African to head the world body, said the continent can achieve much more if it unites for a common purpose.
For the continent to thrive, Dr Tedros said, it must take its rightful position in the world by initiating smart investments in areas of health and education.
He called for increased investment especially in primary healthcare.
The WHO boss said the establishment of the proposed African Medicines Agency will ensure reliable and safe supply of medicines to the continent and stop the proliferation of falsified medicines.