AU Commits 2020 Deadline To End Conflicts In Africa

High Level Panel

The African Union, AU, has reiterated its commitment to silence guns in Africa and achieve good governance, democracy and sustainable peace across the continent by the year 2020.

This was the major decision taken by the Union’s 3rd Annual High Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa: Trends, Challenges and Prospects (DGTrends) at the King Fahd Palace Hotel, Dakar, on October 31, 2014 at the end of a two-day meeting.

This commitment comes on the sidelines of violent protests in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso against the government of President Blaise Compaore. A situation which Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo said was regrettable, given that it happened at a time when Africans have resolved to end violence on the continent.

“A regrettable situation because Africa ought to have passed this situation and it is a real democratic regression for Burkina” stated Obasanjo.

The dialogue held under the theme, “Silencing the Guns: strengthening Governance to Prevent, Manage and Resolve Conflict in Africa”. The AU has set 2020 as its target for silencing the guns in a bid to deepen the post-Cold War peace dividend among Member States and as part of the Africa Agenda 2063 framework.

During the opening ceremony, Senegal’s Minister of African Integration and Good Governance, Khadim Diop, greeted the presence of the eminent experts and noted that “violence in Africa constitutes a new threat for the continent.”

“The theme of this dialogue shows sufficiently that the causes of violence in Africa emanate from bad governance” stated Diop.

Democracy has an intrinsic value in terms of broadening the frontiers of civil and political liberties. It equally has an instrumental value in promoting socio-cultural, economic and environmental rights. The process of nurturing and consolidating democratic governance on the continent relates directly to the extent to which the twin-values of democracy – intrinsic and instrumental – are realized on a more sustainable basis.

According to participants of the dialogue, sustainable development cannot be achieved under conditions of conflict, especially violent conflict that generate insecurity and political instability.

The main objective of the Third High Level Dialogue was to explore the structural root causes of conflicts in Africa and propose policy measures through which governance systems can be strengthened to address violent conflicts on the continent.

According to the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr. Aisha L. Abdullahi, Africa has registered the highest number of displaced persons and 40.000 others could die as they attempt to sail across the oceans, as they flee for safety.

On his part, Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, said African leaders are very sensitive on issues concerning conflict evasion. He suggested that positions should be proposed to former Heads of State in order to prevent them from hanging on to power.

“There are even director positions in the African Union University where we have chosen to appoint these presidents while waiting for calm in their countries or to find them other jobs in missions” said Olusegun.

He noted that the prolonged violent conflicts in Africa have registered a significant loss of lives on the continent, retarded economic development and environmental degradation and slowed democratization.

The dialogue was convened by the African Union Commission, AUC, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme,UNDP, Africa Governance Institute,AGI, the Government of the Republic of Senegal and supported by Germany through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ.

The dialogue was attended by Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, the AU commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr. Aisha L. Abdullahi, UN Special Representative and Head of United Nations Office for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, experts from AU Member States, AU Organs, and Regional Economic Communities, the private sector, development partners, Civil Society Organisations, Philanthropists, the academia and think tanks across Africa.

By Jude Fuhnwi in Dakar, Senegal

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