Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Africa: AU Chairman - Africa Can and Should Solve its Own Problems

SOURCE Republic of Equatorial Guinea

African Union (AU) Chairman Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, said that Africa was capable of solving its own problems and once again called on African nations to take the lead in resolving African issues. This has been a consistent theme of his AU presidency.

In his address to the conference, the AU chairman said, "Africa must manage its own matters, and make its own decisions, confront its problems and solve its crises. We have managed to do so in Liberia, Sierra Leonea, Rwanda, Burundi, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among others."

Mr. Obiang stressed the importance of finding peaceful solutions for the problems that affect the African continent and elsewhere. "All these problems can only lead us toward a solution," he said. He cited food shortages, political disturbances, climatic change, economic crisis, destructive natural disasters, and numerous active and violent conflicts as examples of the difficulties Africa is undergoing.

Presiding over the conference, the AU chairman recalled his surprise at the escalation of violence in the African continent, yet his trust in Africa's values and culture, and how with the help of other continents, Africa will know how to overcome its current situation. "From the most remote times, Africa has always played a predominant role in the development of our planet," he stated.

As he said at the 2010 Global Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, President Obiang highlighted the importance of the changes occurring in his own nation. Policy reforms regarding extractive industries, an increase in the social development fund, an exhaustive legal reform, a renewed cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the preservation of natural areas and protection of the environment are some of the priorities outlined in Equatorial Guinea's Horizon 2020 development plan, which was set in motion by President Obiang to move the country toward a sustainable and emergent economy.

The AU Chairman was joined by other prominent speakers, including Al Gore, former United States Vice President, Kofi Annan, ex-Secretary General of the United Nations; Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, among others.

To access AU chairman's full speech at the first conference tailored to address Africa's challenges, taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, please click here.