Minister calls on Member States to ratify AU Agenda

Accra- Mrs Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has called on African Union (AU) member states to ratify the flagship projects of its Agenda 2063 to facilitate its implementation and foster holistic integration and unity.

According to her, notable among the projects were the African Passport and the Free Movement of People, the Establishment of a Single African Air Transport Market and the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area.

As evidence of our commitment to the agenda, Ghana deposited its instrument of ratification to the CFTA at the African Union Commission (AU) on May 11, 2018, together with Kenya to become the first members of the AU to do, she added.

The Minister said this at the Flag-Raising ceremony to mark the 55th AU Day in Accra, on the theme Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.

The event was attended by traditional rulers, members of the Diplomatic community in Ghana, Ministers of state, Parliamentarians, members of the security forces, the clergy and students.

Mrs Botchway and Mr Bernard Ehui Koutouan, the Acting Dean of the Diplomatic Community jointly inspected a guard of honour parade mounted by members of the security forces.

She said the theme reminded Member States of the need to constantly fight against corruption and impunity on the continent, if we are to place ourselves on a sustainable path to a prosperous and peaceful Africa.

She said the adoption of the AUC on Preventing and Combating Corruption in 2003 and the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption in 2009, reflected the existence of the relevant architecture for fighting corruption on the continent.

Mrs Botchway noted that in relation to theme, Ghana had demonstrated effort in the setting up of the National Anti-Corruption Plan and the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to help prevent and fight corruption.

She was encouraged by the strides that AU Member States have made with some of the key aspirations of the Agenda 2063, which had strong linkage with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The Minister was of the view that the ideals and values of the Agenda would only come to fruition and reflected appropriately in the lives of Ghanaians when the nation nurture the right environment and stimulate government into exercising the political will to integrate these goals.

She announced that the country would host this year’s PANAFEST Festival slated from July 2018 to August 2019 to mark the 400th anniversary of the first landing of enslaved Africans in James Town, the capital of the English Colony on the continent of North America.

The event would be on the theme Beyond 400 Years: Reaching Across Continents into the Future.

Mr Koutouan expressed his heartfelt tribute to the Founding Fathers of the AU and call for Africa integration and unity to harness its resources and maximized the benefit for national development.

The AU Day is being observed as a statutory public holiday in Ghana, The Gambia, Mali, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Source: Ghana News Agency