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MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, November 28, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ahead of the…
MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, November 28, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Ahead of the Third Africa-South America Summit, (ASA) billed for 2012, Senior Officials from Africa and South America began discussing mechanisms and regulations to operationalise their partnership and examining ways to implement the 2010 – 2015 Plan of Action as well as establish governing institutions and financial bodies.
The two-day meeting which opened on 22 November 2011, at the Sipoppo Equatorial Guinea, falls within the Africa and South America Partnership born in November 2006 in Abuja, Nigeria and reaffirmed during the 2nd ASA Summit held on September 2009 in Margarita Island, Venezuela.
The opening ceremony for the Senior Officials Meeting was chaired by Mr. Pastor Micha Ondo Bile, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Francophonie of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. Commending the efforts undertaken so far by the follow-up Coordinating Committee of ASA to intensify cooperation between Africa and South America as well as promote effective multilateralism for the mutual benefit of the states and peoples of the two regions, Mr. Bile reiterated the will of the President of Equatorial Guinea and current Chairperson of the African Union, Mr. Theodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, to support the partnership initiative of the two regions in all the areas of cooperation.
Addressing participants, the Chairperson of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) of the African Union, Dr. Ruben Maye Nsue Mangue said the meeting is holding against the backdrop of the decision taken in September 2009, in Margarita Island, Venezuela, which was adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union at its last Assembly session in Malabo in July this year. “Our partnership is unique in the context of South-South cooperation. We face common challenges in our respective regions and are committed to tackling them to the benefit of our peoples. In that regard, this meeting should strive to achieve productive outcomes », he noted. (See the complete speech of the PRC Chairperson on the AU website: www.au.int ).
Speaking on behalf of the African Union Commission (AUC), Ambassador John Shinkaiye, Chief of Staff at the office of the AUC Chairperson, recalled that since the 2nd Africa-South America Summit, a number of contacts have been made between the two sides including the First meeting of the Strategic Presidential Committee; and the Ministerial Meeting on the sidelines of the 2010 United Nations General Assembly which adopted the ASA Implementation Plan. The African side had submitted aproposal on an ASA funding mechanism through the establishment of a trust fund; among others.
Ambassador Shinkaiye pointed out that even though much has been done so far in the implementation process, “there is need to rededicate ourselves to the aspirations and objectives of our cooperation forum, with a view to deriving maximum benefits from our partnership » he underlined. He reiterated the Commission’s commitment to ensuring the full realization of the objectives of the ASA Implementation Plan in order to achieve “concrete, specific and viable projects and programmes for the benefit of the peoples of the two sides”. (See the complete speech of the AUC Chief of Staff on the AU website: www.au.int )
On the other hand, Mr. Bulus Paul Zom Lolo, Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia and Coordinator of the African Group of the Africa South America Partnership Forum (ASACOF), called on the participants to review the draft Regulations of the Strategic Presidential Committee, the establishment of the ASA Permanent Secretariat, the appointment of an Executive Secretary and a draft ASA Strategic Agenda 2010-2020 in order to ensure the effectiveness of the ASA partnership. “We need to provide the building block for our partnership to thrive. The action we take must be consistent with our avowed expressions of common values and aspirations made strong by shared history and culture,” he emphasised.
The South American Coordinator of the ASA Mrs. Maria Edileuza Fontenele Reis, Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs II at the Foreign Ministry of the Federative Republic of Brazil, acknowledged the active participation of Afro-descendant populations in the development of South America as well as the contribution of South American countries to the consolidation of political independence and development on the African continent. She reaffirmed her region’s commitment to foster South-South Cooperation as a major objective of both regions, in order to complement the traditional North-South Cooperation and promote sustained economic growth.
Meanwhile, both parties have agreed to continue strengthening the links between the two Regions and to foster and enhance cooperation in various areas of mutual interest.
Worth recalling that the ASA Coordination Group is made up of the following: Brazil (Coordinator for South America); Venezuela (previous host) ; Ecuador ( UNASUR residency Ex-Tempore) ; Nigeria (Coordinator for Africa); Equatorial Guinea (current host); and African Union Commission.
The ASA High Officials meeting ended on 23 November 2011, and will be followed by the ASA Ministerial meeting scheduled for 24-25 November 2011, at the Sipoppo Conference Centre in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.