AU summit opens
The 55th extraordinary summit of Heads of States of the African Union opened here on Saturday with a call to speed up implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area to integrate economies of member states.
The summit lived up to its billing as the most attended with almost all Heads of States turning up.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa was also in attendance. AU chairman Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El sisi told delegates that the continent was on the right track for a new era of opening up opportunities instead of conflicts.
President El Sisi however said much still needed to be done to increase intra African trade and economic integration.
“This marks a great milestone in meeting the legitimate aspirations of our people,” he said. Pres ED is among the Heads of State attending the summit, which will be dedicated to the launching phase of the AfCFTA.
President El Sisi said establishment of the AfCFTA would ensure Africa took its rightful place in globalisation. He said the AfCFTA was the engine for development of all African countries.
“I therefore call upon all countries to ratify to be able to realise advantages of free trade,” he said. Host and Niger President Mahamadou Issoufu said establishment of the AfCFTA was lifting Africa to be the continent of the future instead of the dark continent.
Pres Issoufu lamented the failure by African countries to meet the 2023 target of ending wars on the continent and called for the speedy establishment of the African Standby Force.