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23.04.2012 Africa

AUC Chairperson Receives Delegation of African Ministers in Charge of Maritime Related Affairs

By African Union Commission (AUC)
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 23, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Dr. Jean Ping, received in his office at the AUC Headquarters on Friday, 20 April 2012, a Delegation of Ministers in charge of Maritime Related Affairs from South Africa, Algeria and Cameroon.

The Delegation was comprised of Hon. Mrs. Souad Bendjaballah, Minister Delegate in Charge of Scientific Research of Algeria; Hon. Mr. Thabang Makwetla, Deputy Minister of Defense of South Africa, who was accompanied by Mr. Silumko S. Sokupa, Advisor to South Africa's Minister of Defence; and Hon. Mr. Jean Baptiste Bokam, Secretary of State for Defense of Cameroon.

The Ministers were in the Ethiopian Capital to attend the first ever meeting of African Ministers in charge of Maritime Related Affairs, which took place in the African Union Conference Centre in Addis Ababa on Saturday, 21 April 2012.

Welcoming the Delegation, the Chairperson underscored the importance of Oceans and Seas to wealth and job creation, socio-development and competitiveness in Africa, cognizant of the fact that the Continent is a big island surrounded by several bodies of water.

He acknowledged, with regret, that since independence and until recently, Africa had paid little attention to its Oceans and Seas and their enormous wealth; a situation which has allowed people from other parts of the world to freely exploit Africa's maritime resources and dump toxic waste in and around the Continent's waters.

In an effort to reverse this situation and cognizant of the need for collective action in this domain, the Chairperson added, the African Union in 2009 launched a study which culminated in a document titled 2050 Africa's Integrated Maritime Strategy (2050 AIM-Strategy).

At the request of the Chairperson, the Coordinator of the 2050 AIM-Strategy Task Force, Mr. Samuel Kamé-Domguia, explained the objectives and substance of the multi-decade Strategy.

“It articulates an overarching, coherent, multilayered African-driven long term common vision to address Africa's maritime challenges and opportunities,” he said, adding that the Strategy envisages setting up a High-Level College of Champions (HLC2) to spearhead its implementation.

“The College of Champions is composed of a handful of very high profiled Africans, whose mandate is to leverage, through sustained lobbying across the Continent and around the world, the necessary tangible and intangible sources of power, political will and buy-in, as well as marshal the required resources for the implementation of the 2050 AIM-Strategy,” Mr. Kamé-Domguia explained.

“Your work, therefore, is of crucial importance to current and future generations of Africans,” the Chairperson told the Ministers, adding that the Commission remains at their disposal to help advance the reflection on the 2050 AIM-Strategy and its implementation.

The Ministers sought clarifications on various aspects of the proposed continental maritime strategy and pledged the unconditional commitment of their respective Governments to its support and implementation.

The African Ministers in Charge of Maritime Related Affairs, during their meeting on Saturday, 21 April 2012, were subsequently briefed on the outcome of the 4th African Maritime Cross-Sectorial Experts Workshop on the 2050 AIM Strategy which took place on 19-20 April 2012. They agreed to meet again to further discuss this very important issue before the end of 2012.

Prior to its implementation, the 2050 AIM-Strategy will be reviewed and approved by the AU Permanent Representatives Committee and ultimately the Executive Council and the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, during the January 2013 AU Summit.

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