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Progress in Africa requires intl cooperation governance reform

         Date: 2012-01-13

           Tag: Africa, Africa reform

Summary: Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairperson of the AU Commission, said the crisis is not just an AU problem but is also a threat to global peace.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - The African Union (AU) is calling for more international cooperation to tackle the crisis in Somalia and ensure regional stability, an AU senior official said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

Erastus Mwencha, deputy chairperson of the AU Commission, said the crisis is not just an AU problem but is also a threat to global peace.

"Look at the challenge of piracy. It is not only affecting Africa but global trade as well," he said.

"Here in Somalia, the AU has been going at it alone for a long time," he said, adding that the deteriorating situation is a global threat and requires a collective effort, as well as ongoing reform, to tackle it.
 

Governance reform

To reach such consensus, governance reform is vital. But Mwencha said governance reform in Africa is a process rather than a single event.

"The world seems to expect Africa to build a modern government instantaneously, but it is a process," he said.

The AU Commission is running a program called the African Governance Architecture, which will strengthen coordination among AU organs and institutions and enhance their capacity and effect on good governance, democracy and human rights.

Mwencha said the future of China-Africa cooperation is "very bright", adding that China could one day be a major destination of African exports.

"We see a lot that can be done in terms of government, trade, transportation, technology, education, health and food production," he said.
Common ground

To tackle the ongoing food crisis in the Horn of Africa, the AU in August organized a fundraising conference comprised of AU members and regional financial institutions.

"This was a forum to raise awareness and mobilize our member countries," he said, adding that $350 million in relief assistance was pledged during the conference to address the humanitarian crisis.

He also said that "the door is open to international aid".

Obtaining a consensus in the AU is difficult but not impossible because its members share common ground on an increasing number of issues such as climate change, natural disasters and hunger, Mwencha said.

"In the face of diversities, we can find common ground, which we can present on the international arena. We can also do the same when it comes to global trade," he said.


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