PAP President urges Committees to identify challenges facing Africans and develop work plans that respond to them - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

PAP President urges Committees to identify challenges facing Africans and develop work plans that respond to them

President of the Pan-African Parliament, H. E. Chief Fortune Charumbira has urged the Permanent Committees of the Parliament to utilize its sittings “to conduct a microscopic environmental scan, draw up a detailed list of the challenges facing African citizens and develop work plans that prioritize and respond to the identified issues.”

H. E. Chief Charumbira stated this on Monday in his opening speech at the March 2023 Committee Sittings of the Pan-African Parliament at the seat of the Parliament in Midrand, South Africa.

He reminded the parliamentarians that their focus must remain firmly fixed on the needs and expectations of the African citizenry and only then can PAP remain relevant as a continental oversight and representative institution.

“In addition to the priority areas that we set through our work plans, our Committees must also be at the forefront of facilitating the implementation of resolutions that we make in plenary. At the October Plenary session alone, we adopted at least twenty-seven (27) resolutions and our Committees must spearhead the implementation of resolutions that fall under their purview. We risk not being taken seriously if we do not take action on the commitments that we make. Making declarations and resolutions is only half the story. Without action and implementation we will not grow beyond pointless rhetoric. We cannot and must never be associated with the idiom “all sizzle and no steak.””

Speaking on the challenges facing the continent, H. E. Chief Charumbira stated that “Our people still face the looming threat of food insecurity and malnutrition (Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment); the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government, the expanding threat of terrorism and violent extremism across the Continent (Committee on Cooperation, International Relations and Conflict Resolution);the growing refugee population, displacement of our citizens and statelessness arising from conflicts (Committee on Justice and Human Rights); energy insecurity which has resulted in skyrocketing prices of fuel and economic instability (Committee on Transport, Industry, Communication, Energy, Science and Technology), the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic which have exacerbated poverty, unemployment and youth unrest (Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs); illicit financial flows which are bleeding the continent of its much needed financial resources (Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs); disparate and inconsistent legislative frameworks which are a hindrance to the common African market (Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline); the triple scourge of drug abuse, drug and human trafficking which is decimating the demographic dividend that we should accrue from the youth (Committee on Gender, Family, Youth and People with Disability); the legacy of a colonial education system which does not foster entrepreneurship and innovation and undermines African cultural values (Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism and Human Resources); restrictions on the movement of people and goods between African countries which impinge intra-Africa trade and the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters); and, increasing cases of financial irregularities committed with impunity that have affected the effectiveness and efficiency of the AU and its Organs (Committee on Audit and Public Accounts).”

Speaking on the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AFCFTA: Acceleration of AFCFTA Implementation” H. E. Chief Charumbira stated that the major concern was on the slow implementation of commitments made by Member States to the actualization of the AFCFTA.

“PAP Committees have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that Member States and AU Organs are held to account for the commitments they make towards the implementation of AFCFTA. Committees must thus review their work plans to ensure that they include activities aimed at facilitating the accelerated implementation of the AFCFTA. However, before moving on to the 2023 Theme, Committees must also review what they did in the preceding year and the tangible outcome and impact of their activities in support of the 2022 Theme of the Year, “Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent.The lessons drawn from the preceding year should be harnessed in enhancing the effectiveness of our Committees in fulfilling their mandate and driving the attainment of the 2023 Theme of the Year.”

He stated that PAP must play its part in driving the attainment of Agenda 2063 and other AU Flagship Projects, among them, the Integrated High Speed Train Network, Formulation of an African Commodities Strategy, Implementation of the Grand Inga Dam Project, Establishment of a Single African Air Transport Market and the Great African Museum.

“Clearly, the dream of  “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international arena” requires all hands on deck. It is imperative, therefore, that our Committees work with other AU Organs, national and regional Parliaments in pursuit of our mandate and driving the objectives of the Union.”

“I throw down the gauntlet to our Committees and say, if by now you have not yet met the Commissioner in charge of the issues under your purview, you are in danger of losing the plot. If  by now you are not clear on the strategic thrust of the Commission and other AU Organs which are critical to the work that you do, you risk ploughing a lonely furrow in the wrong direction. We must thus make every effort to create mutually beneficial synergies with Commissions, other AU Organs, national and regional Parliaments and regional economic communities. This is why the Bureau has invited resource persons from diverse institutions to interact with the Committees during this session and consolidate collaboration in pursuit of the Pan African vision. We are all, ultimately, working for Africa. As PAP we must live up to our operative mantra in both word and deed, “One Africa, One Voice.””

The opening session of the Committee Sittings had in attendance, Hon. Candith Mashego-Dhlamini, representing His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa as the Guest of Honour; Rt. Hon. Lady Justice Tujilane R. Chizumila, Judge of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights; Ms Jane Marie Ogola Ongolo, UNODC Regional Representative for Southern Africa; Mr. Idriss Lallali, Acting Director of the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism; Professor AbdellatifZerga, Director of the Institute for Water and Energy Sciences of the African Union University; Professor Mirjam Van Reisen of the European Parliament; Mr. Pierre Larrouturou also of the European Parliament; and members of the Pan-African Parliament.



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