Participants from across Africa are gathered at a workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa, brainstorming on a roadmap that will spell out key activities for the implementation of the African Solidarity Initiative (ASI) and the mobilization of support for post-conflict reconstruction and development on the continent, organizers said Thursday in a statement obtained by PANA here.
The workshop, jointly organized by the African Union(AU) and the New Partnership For Africa’s Development (NEPAD), is sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and chaired by the Former Prime Minister of the Central African Republic, Mr. Anicet Georges Dologuele.
In a statement, the Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD, Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, represented by his Special Assistant, Mr. Ibrahim Gourouza, stressed the need for participants to be precise and concrete in their proposals.
He reiterated the need for a paradigm shift in Africa’s development philosophy, adding that Africa has everything it needs to pull itself out of poverty.
According to Mayaki, “The ASI is not about charity. It is an initiative grounded in the African social value of solidarity: neighbours helping neighbours”.
Mayaki said as the development vehicle of the AU, NEPAD will work closely with all relevant African Union Commission (AUC) departments to achieve this goal.
The ASI was launched at the 19th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa in July. It was in pursuant to a decision by African Heads of State and Government at the 18th AU Summit in January 2012.
ASI has the objective of mobilizing support within the Continent for post-conflict reconstruction and development in countries emerging from conflict in Africa. It is also out to consolidate peace in countries where it has been achieved.
ASI is also premised on the fact that despite the progress made towards the achievement of the common objective of a conflict-free Africa, there is a growing need for renewed efforts towards post-conflict reconstruction and peace building.
The Initiative is part of the AUC programme in Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) within the Department of Peace and Security.
Speaking at the workshop, the Director of the National Office for the Coordination of Peace Missions in South Africa’s Department of International relations and Cooperation, Ms. N.M. Dwabayo, commended the African Union Commission for its tireless efforts towards the implementation of AU decisions.
These include the organization’s policy on PCRD, adopted by African Heads of State in Banjul, Gambia, in June 2006.
Dwabayo added: “Launching the ASI was part of he AU’s endeavour to promote African solidarity and mutual assistance and propel the Continent to a higher level of development and self-confidence, driven by the motto: Africa helping Africa.
“It is time to turn this motto from a slogan to reality. This Initiative needs to be implemented as soon as yesterday.”
More than 50 participants are taking part in the three-day conference, which ends on 26 October.
They include experts from several African countries emerging from conflict such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and South Sudan.
Other participants are senior government officials from various African countries, representatives of African and non-African cooperation and development agencies, representatives of various African Union Commission (AUC) departments, AU Liaison Offices, Regional Economic Commissions (REC’s), bilateral and multilateral Partners.
Apart from proposing a roadmap that formulates key activities for implementation over the next three years, the workshop would lay the groundwork for a major African Solidarity Conference (ASC).