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“Pan-Africanism should not only be a Slogan” … Bio Urges African Union Assembly

President Dr Julius Maada Bio

His Excellency, President Dr Julius Maada Bio, in his statement to the just concluded 34th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly, urges his fellow leaders to fully utilise Africa’s development value and unique cultural heritage for recovering and rebuilding the continent for the betterment of all Africans.

 President Bio argues that Pan-Africanism should not only be a slogan, but a pathway to remain cohesive on all aspects of the UN reform process, and to continue to speak with one voice in the unity of purpose until the demands of the Common African Position, as articulated in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration, are achieved.

President Bio’s address at the Summit, which was held virtually, was based on the efforts of the Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government – C10 – which he chairs. While thanking C-10 members for the diverse ways they continued to support the work of the Committee in implementing their mandate to canvass, promote, and defend the Common African Position on UN Security Council Reform, Bio also provided an update on the 21st Report, adopted during the 33rd Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in February 2020. 

“This past year has been challenging due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on lives and livelihoods. This has also affected the work of the Committee and the Intergovernmental Negotiations process in New York,” he notes, adding that that has also adversely affected the implementation of recommendations of the twenty-first report and its decision on the reform of the UNSC last year.  President Bio goes on to state that the intergovernmental negotiations continued to be challenged by the very complicated nature of the various positions and proposals of the UN member states, which were divergent in substance with inherent nuances, adding that there was also the issue of continual divergence on procedural matters related to the reform process. 

“In such a complicated process, the road ahead may be long, rocky and hard, but we should persevere and stay focused on building on the gains made in canvassing, promoting, advancing and defending the Common African Position on United Nations Security Council Reform. Only that will eventually lead to achieving decisive progress in the not-too-distant future,” he says. The Sierra Leonean leader then calls on the African Union Assembly to map out areas of inter-African cooperation on investing in, developing, promoting, and trading in cultural goods and services in innovative ways to support various facets of inclusive development “in the Africa we want.”

He concludes he statement with the suggestion that Africa can start with local initiatives at scale, learn from peer countries, adopt best practices, and work to reap the benefits of this renewed emphasis on cultural renaissance.

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