Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Africa-Arab summit ends with calls to boost ties

HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Sabah

HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al- Sabah

KUWAIT: The 3rd Africa-Arab Summit ended yesterday with calls for stronger economic ties between the Arab world and African states and urged accelerating the pace of implementing development projects and programs. At the end of a two-day meeting, the summit issued the Kuwait Declaration which stressed on the need to enhance and accelerate all forms of cooperation, especially in the economic field, between the Arab world and Africa.

Arab and African leaders, meeting for the second summit since 2010, also praised HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah for his announcement on the generous $2 billion offer for African states. At the opening of the summit on Tuesday, the Amir announced a $1 billion in soft loans for African states over the next five years and a similar amount as investments and investment guarantees to be coordinated with the World Bank.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah told a press conference after the summit that Kuwait will coordinate the $1 billion investments with the World Bank in infrastructure projects in accordance with a plan that will be made public soon. The minister acknowledged there are huge challenges before Arabs and Africans to achieve integration, but both sides have the desire to achieve a real partnership. Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Arabi said that the summit's results will achieve an important leap in African-Arab economic relations, adding that the summit highlighted the key role of the private sector in stimulating stronger economic integration.

The leaders called on the African Union and Arab League to coordinate with financial institutions and funds to form a "work team" to fund the implementation of projects. The Kuwait Declaration calls to enhance cooperation and coordination between African and Arab countries to combat terrorism in all its forms and transnational crime and support international efforts in this regard.

In the declaration, the leaders called for and supported the setting up of the Africa-Arab Technical Coordination Committee and other strategies to enhance cooperation and facilitation over migration issues and coordination of migrants of both regions for the mutual benefit of the two partners. They also expressed concerns over the security and social protection of migrants.

The declaration calls for enhancing cooperation in the field of energy aimed at jointly developing new and renewable energy sources as well as expanding access to reliable and affordable modern energy services in the two regions. It also calls on the African and Arab financial institutions and the private sector to work in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the General Secretariat of the Arab League to support the implementation of the infrastructure development programs of the African Union, such as the Programs of Infrastructure Development in Africa, and those of the League of Arab States, with a focus on transport, sanitation and telecommunications.

The declaration also reaffirms the need to strengthen cooperation in the field of cooperation and scientific research programs and share best practices in these two fields through the organization of joint activities. The declaration urged member states to take actions and measures, including the establishment and rationalization of joint structures deemed essential for the effective implementation of the joint action plan adopted at the previous summit in Libya three years ago.

The leaders announced in the declaration their approval for the creation of a joint Africa-Arab Financing Mechanism to finance programs and projects, and request the Africa-Arab Coordination Committee to determine the sources of funding and modalities of contributions, operations and management of the mechanism. It also calls on upon the Africa and Arab regions and their financial institutions as well as the private sector and civil society to support the creation and operation of the Africa-Arab Mechanism and provide the necessary financial and technical assistance in the partnership process.

The declaration calls upon African and Arab financial institutions as well as relevant stakeholders to support the acceleration of the Africa-Arab inter-regional trade in accordance with the Joint Action Plan 2011-2016. It also declares its support for the organization of Africa-Arab fairs every two years alternately in Africa and Arab regions and undertake other trade promotion activities. The leaders called for strengthening the capacities of the African Union Commission and the Arab League and provide them with all necessary means, including financial and technical support to enable them to effectively implement the Africa-Arab Partnership Strategy and Joint Action Plan 2011-2016, as well as the Kuwait Declaration. The declaration calls for institutionalizing meetings of the Monitoring and Follow-up Mechanism of the Africa-Arab Partnership and strengthen inter-secretariat consultations.

The leaders also agreed to apply the principle of rotation in hosting Africa-Arab Summits and therefore agreed to hold the 4th Africa-Arab Summit in Africa in 2016. In another resolution, the leaders recognized the need to improve the operation of the implementation and follow-up mechanisms created by the second Africa-Arab summit for effective implementation of the Africa-Arab Partnership Strategy and joint action plan. As a result, the resolution urges the Coordination Committee to undertake an in-depth study on ways and means to activate and strengthen partnership mechanisms including the Commission, the Technical Committee and the Development Forum for Endorsement by the policy organs of both sides.

The leaders also called to convene the meeting of the Coordination Committee of the Africa-Arab Partnership at a ministerial level once a year and at the senior officials' level every six months. The leaders however expressed the need to rationlalize the establishment of joint institutions to avoid duplication of efforts. They also underscored the need to strengthen cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, transport, communication and energy, and urged member states to provide all the necessary financial and technical support for the implementation of the proposed activities.

By B Izzak

Pin It
This article was published on 20/11/2013