Addis Ababa — President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi is expected to leave today for the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to attend the 33rd African Union ordinary session of heads of state and government scheduled for February 9-10.
During the summit, the President will participate in a high level forum on Agenda 2063 as a panelist.
President Masisi is also scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the third Africa Business Forum to be hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
In an interview with BOPA, Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Unity Dow underscored the need for Botswana to participate in global discussions.
It was imperative for the country to share its values with a community of like-minded countries, she said.
Dr Dow said Botswana’s voice was necessary for influencing decisions on issues affecting the continent.
“It is important for Botswana’s voice to be heard, otherwise other people will speak for us,” she said.
The ministry’s permanent secretary, Mr Gaeimelwe Goitsemang said Botswana’s voice was important on issues affecting import and export routes, intra trade and other issues of vital interest.
Such meetings, he said, were also important for protecting the country’s national interests as well as for unlocking its economic potential.
Meanwhile, Botswana’s permanent representative to the AU, Mr Zenene Sinombe said the theme for this year’s summit: ‘Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development’ was interconnected with last summit’s theme on Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.
He said the theme cut across a number of years and was a buildup of other themes.
“Through this theme, we want to give opportunity to our heads of state to help us define good robust African solutions to African problems,” sated Mr Sinombe.
He said the leaders would reflect on whether foreign military interventions were still relevant and how member states should work on financing the union to deal with problems bedeviling Africa.
The ambassador said there would be thorough discussions around this year’s theme so that detailed comprehensive matrix on which steps to take towards silencing guns in the continent was undertaken.
Stating that there was a strong nexus between peace, security and governance, Mr Sinombe pointed out that socio economic development could not be realised when guns were still heard.
He explained that there would be discussions on the root causes of migration as people were displaced all over the continent in search of greener pastures resulting in friction with locals within a given jurisdiction.
Mr Sinombe said an extra ordinary migration conference was planned for sometime this year to come up with practical solutions to the identified problems.
He said peace was paramount for achieving the Africa yearned for and for smooth intra trade and development.
Quoting Peace Research Institute in Oslo, he said compared to 2005 when there were only six countries in active conflict and seven armed conflicts in Africa, the number of armed conflicts had risen to 17, showing the continent’s failure to silence the guns.
Source : BOPA
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