Bureau is determined to restore Pan African Parliament’s image - Charumbira - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Sunday, September 4, 2022

Bureau is determined to restore Pan African Parliament’s image - Charumbira

President of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), H. E. Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira has said that the Bureau of the continental parliament is determined to restore the Parliament to its position as a formidable legislative organ of the African Union.

Presenting a keynote address at the 11th Conference of Speakers of National and Regional Parliaments which took place at PAP Precincts in Midrand, South Africa from 01 – 02 September 2022, Chief Charumbira noted that the Bureau of PAP has demonstrated uncommon determination, tenacity, unbridled resilience, and incomparable commitment to restore the Pan African Parliament to its position as a formidable legislative organ of the African Union (AU)”.

He informed the presiding officers that PAP has recorded tremendous reservoir of goodwill and restored its depleted continental influence and prominence within the AU family. As a result of the efforts of the Bureau and the determination of members of this Parliament, we have re-established our reputation as an indispensable institution in strengthening Africa’s democratic institutions, democratic culture, good governance, transparency and the rule of law by our return and participation to the joint AU-PAP election observer and peace keeping missions particularly in Kenya and Angola.

The Bureau under my leadership has, by this accomplishment including others quite too numerous to mention, demonstrated our determination to rid this parliament of those attributes that has undermined its continental reputation and denigrated its original position as a formidable legislative organ of the African Union. I can confidently affirm that we are united today more than ever and the past is behind us and the task to revive, reposition and reinvigorate this continental Parliament has already begun with remarkable success.

He informed the gathering that as part of the Bureau’s efforts to rebrand and reposition the continental parliament, a three-day capacity building workshop with the theme “Reviving, Renewing, Repositioning and Reinvigorating the Pan-African Parliament” was conducted where PAP parliamentarians not only addressed how to rebrand PAP but also discussed some of the challenges facing the African continent.

As a result of that workshop, specific recommendations were made such as the utilization of indigenous solutions to healthcare issues as manifested in the “Madagascar experience. We also reviewed critical institutional challenges to PAP’s optimal performance including amendments to our Rules of Procedure and restructuring our committees to create more compatible thematic alignment” he said.

According to Chief Charumbira, the intensity and ferocity of the impact of Covid-19 to our institutions have revealed fundamental weaknesses not only in our healthcare delivery system but also in our institutional capacity to build resilience to such large scale disruptions. Consequently more questions have been raised about our parliament’s performance, our capability to adjust to rapidly evolving circumstances and capacity to sustain the oversight and fundamental parliamentary scrutiny of government functions and policies in the midst of global crisis.

Speaking on the African Union theme for 2022 “Building resilience in nutrition on the African continent: Accelerate the human capital, social and economic development” noted that one of the most vital indicators of Africa’s economic strength and sustainability have been the Agricultural sector, which contributes an average of 14% of sub-Saharan Africa’s Gross Domestic Product and an incredibly high employment capability for about two-thirds of the working population in Africa, particularly women and youth. 

Unfortunately, a great many of our people – a whopping 21% of Africans on the continent suffered from food insecurity and/or hunger in 2020. The outbreak of the global Covid-19 pandemic further exacerbated this ugly trend with an additional 46 million people who reportedly became hungry in Africa.

This is rather puzzling and troubling when you consider that up to 60% of arable land in the world is situated in Africa and if only substantial leadership in agricultural transformation is adopted, our potential capacity to meet global and particularly continental food needs will be a manifest reality. This growth trajectory gives impetus and justification for the 2003 African Union Maputo declaration and the CAADP principles aimed at increasing allocations in our national budgets in the agricultural sector to at least 10%.”.

He bemoaned the reported docking of ship load of grains from Ukraine on the shores of Djibouti observing that it is an indictment on our continent which should challenge our parliaments to reinvigorate our agricultural sector through enhanced budgetary allocation so as to capacitate our farmers within the continent to meet these needs.

Is this not a missed opportunity for neighbouring African nations to have supplied the grains thereby taking advantage of the disruptions caused by the Russia – Ukraine conflict” he queried.

This expectation is further reinforced in the Malabo declaration of 2014 where the AU reaffirmed its commitment to the principles of CAADP to provide strategic and effective leadership for the eradication of hunger, reduction in poverty, enhancing intra –African trade in agricultural goods and services and for enhancing Africa’s resilience in agricultural production and use of natural resources.

Despite these initiatives designed to raise economic growth through agriculture-led development, the numbers of food insecure people in Africa is on the rise. This underscores the imperative of our intervention as leaders of Africa’s legislative powerhouses substantially capacitated to implement budget priorities to ensure that we establish turn around strategies to achieve the objectives of the Malabo Declaration by 2025.

If we take this bold step to reflect these goals in our national budgets, we will motivate sufficient investment in modern agriculture and radically transform Africa’s agricultural sector with a potential to meet Agenda 2063 aspiration for inclusive and sustainable development.

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