‘African Initiative’ Calls for Democracy, Development
A combined plan to develop Africa which will be presented to an Organization of African Unity (OAU) summit in Lusaka next week, calling on African leaders to "consolidate democracy" and urging the developed world to increase aid and investment, said AFP.
The African Initiative, as it is now known, is a merger of the Millenium African Recovery Program (MAP), led by South African President Thabo Mbeki, and the Omega Plan spearheaded by Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.
Representatives of those two presidents and of the heads of state of Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria combined the two plans at a two-day meeting in Pretoria earlier this week, and Mbeki and Wade were due to discuss the initiative in the South African capital on Saturday.
"It would have undermined the whole process if there were different plans floating around when Africa is trying to present a united front on this issue," one South African official told AFP.
"The African initiative's objective is to consolidate democracy and sound economic management on the continent," according to a 44-page summary of the plan released by the South African presidency on Friday.
"Through the program, African leaders are making a commitment to the African people and the world to work together in rebuilding the continent," it says.
"Africa recognizes that it holds the key to its own development."
In statements upon Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher’s arrival in Pretoria, the Lusaka summit was termed as historical because “it would be the last summit for the OAU that will be replaced by the African Union.” Some 36 countries have endorsed the constitutional act of the African union, said ArabicNews.com.
"Egypt has finalized the ratification measures approved by the People's Assembly on Monday," he said, adding that Egypt would be the 45th country to endorse the Document of the Union.
An official present said the Lusaka Summit would focus on means of establishing the mechanisms of the new union.
The summit, meanwhile, will probe benefiting from similar regional and international blocs such as the European Union.
"The summit and preparatory meetings will mainly deal with the process of turning the OAU into the union that will take a new shape that differs from the OAU general secretariat," the official added.
"Lusaka summiteers will look into a number of important issues, mainly conflicts in Africa such as those in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Comoros, Somalia and Angola, along with the latest peace developments between Eritrea and Ethiopia and the Lockerbie and Middle East issues," he said – Albawaba.com
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