African and Arab Ministers meet to action Partnership in Development and Investment
AUC Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma Photo: AUC
Kuwait City, 17 November 2013- Ministers from African and Arab countries are meeting in Kuwait City today in preparation of a meeting of their heads of state and government from the 19th to 20th November under the framework of the third Africa Arab summit. The theme for the summit is “Partnership in Development and Investment”
The one day ministerial meeting is considering recommendations made by a senior officials meeting that was held from the 14th to 15th of November. The specific documents and topics being reviewed include the joint activity report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States; the proposal for the rationalization of the implementation and follow up mechanism of the Africa Arab partnership; the report of the 2nd meeting of African Arab Ministers of agriculture and food security; the proposal to strengthen Africa Arab cooperation on migration; proposal concerning the establishment of Africa Arab financing mechanisms for joint Africa Arab projects and activities; outcomes and recommendations of the Africa Arab Economic Forum; the report on the performance of the Africa Arab cultural institute; the draft Kuwait Declaration, draft communiqué on Palestine and draft resolutions. Outcomes of the ministerial meeting will be presented to the meeting of Heads of State and Government from the two regions to be held from 19th to 20th November.
Under a joint strategy adopted at the 2nd meeting of the partners in Sirte, Libya in 2010, the Arab Africa partnership is anchored by four pillars, namely: political, peace and security; economic, trade and finance; agriculture and food and security; and socio-cultural cooperation. In this respect, the African Union and the League of Arab States have worked together in the past three years to translate into action, the Africa-Arab Partnership Strategy and the Joint Action Plan 2011-2016.
“In the areas of peace and security, the two sides have taken practical measures to create direct working relations between their peace and security Councils in order to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure complementarity in dealing with issues of common concern in Africa and the Arab World”, said AUC Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma when she addressed the opening session of the ministerial meeting today.
As she elaborated further on progress made since the Sirte summit, Dr Dlamini Zuma noted that the Africa-Arab partnership has also seen efforts to move forward the trade, economic and financial agenda of the Strategy and the joint Action Plan, although the progress was hindered by institutional and financial challenges. Encouraging steps were also taken, she added, to create a joint mechanism to deal with the challenges of migration, and also to implement other socio-cultural projects which are aimed at enhancing people to people interactions. At an institutional level, the Chairperson highlighted that relations between the Commission and the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States in the past three years have shown progress.
Ties between Africa and the Arab region are strengthened by geography, history and culture. However, the formal partnership between the two sides was initiated in March 1977. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabbah Khallid Al Hamad Al Sabbah said the historical and cultural linkages, and the fact that the African Arab regions form 24% of world GDP, enhances the chances of the partnership to achieve its aims of enhancing the livelihoods of their peoples. “We have enough natural resources to achieve results”, he said. 70% of Arabs are Africans and nine out of 22 members of the Arab League are also members of the African Union.
Dr Nabil Al Araby, Secretary General of the League of Arab States appreciated the cooperation and coordination by the African and Arab sides in international forums, specifically applauding African support for the Palestinian people. He also congratulated Africa for establishing itself as a nuclear free zone through the Pelindaba treaty adopted in Cairo, Egypt, on 11 April 1996 and which entered into force on 15 July 2009, adding that the Arab region is also working to do the same.
African Union Commission