. Building resilience key to tackle pressing threats
BY EPHREM ANDARAGCHEW
ADDIS ABABA-Special attention should be paid to tackle Africa’s peace and security challenges, African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said, calling for the communities’ active involvement in the peace building endeavors.
The chairperson’s remark came here yesterday while opening the 40th Ordinary Session of the African Union Executive Council, being held under the theme Building Resilience in Nutrition on the African Continent: Accelerate the Human Capital, Social and Economic Development.
Mahamat stated that Africa has in recent months witnessed a democratic recession in several member states following the unconstitutional changes of government through coup d’état. This has posed grave security and stability concerns for the regions and the continent, coupled with threats of terrorism, conflicts, and weak governance, which remain a threat to the humanitarian situation in Africa and the fragility of States.
“The threats are in different phases; intra-state conflicts, the growing crisis in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa, threaten to destabilize by large scale, our states that have been fragile due to the deficit of political, social and economic governance.”
The chairperson alsohighlighted that the Commission has made commendable jobs in combating the Coronavirus pandemic and for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and other pertinent issues. The commission’s ability to translate the summit decisions into reality and to mitigate pressing challenges; however, challenged by financial constraints and lack of coordination.
Hence, it is important to strengthen the financing of systems of the continent since Africa currently needs 154 billion USD to achieve the Agenda 2063 targets and to give an effective response to the negative impact of the COVID-19, he elaborated. Meanwhile, success has been demonstrated in improving vaccines, working to ensure transparency and accountability in administering financial resources. The reform of the AU Commission, the implementation of AfCFTA, and the eased Visa restriction for African are also in a good position.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa Vera Songwe said on the occasion that Africa needs to build resilience against a number of threats namely climate change, cyber security risks, pandemics and infectious diseases as well as weak governance and conflicts.
As to her, Africa has been affected by different threats when the masks of multilateralism and global solidarity were replaced by masks of nationalism and protectionism. “It is time for our leaders and most deprived citizens to be on par with each other dealing with the negative impact of economic depression, the pandemic, and all-rounded crises of the continent. It is also important to improve our health systems and manufacturing locally is afoot.”
It was stated that the number of food-insecure people in Africa increases and the COVID-19 worsened the situation. Almost one in Africa goes hungry every day and the number of hungry people on the continent will reach 282 million in 2020. Also, early childhood development, better health, better education outcomes, better labor force participation and high returns that increase economic output have been affected by lack of nutrition.
In order to address these challenges, it is important to have partnership’s intervention in public, and private sectors, at local, national, regional, and global levels. The intervention should also target key areas: climate resilience agriculture, infrastructure investments especially, in the road, renewable energy, and access to electricity and telecommunications, the under-secretary elaborated.
Besides, innovating financing, development of market infrastructures and fostering a conducive business environment, and leveraging the AfCFTA are worth equal consideration. “However, Africa is surviving a health pandemic but our economies are stretched. Accordingly, food prices have been on the rise and pose threats to the purchasing power of the poor.”
It is important to improve trade, especially intra-regional trade which can help to improve stability of supply and even lower prices of food availability, she remarked.
The February 3/2022