President Paul Kagame, yesterday, said that a successful federation, particularly in Africa, should be driven by the common interest of development and prosperity.
The President, who was speaking at the 5th International Conference on Federalism, in Addis Ababa, pointed to the imperative of good governance in achieving the development that African countries seek;
“Our states need to be functioning at optimal level for effective service delivery, regardless of the political structures and governance systems we may ultimately choose.”
Pointing to the expectation of the African people, who need to overcome poverty, hunger and disease, President Kagame, called for closer collaboration among African nations, particularly through greater economic regional integration, to enable Africa to better compete in the global market.
He gave the example of the East African Community which is working towards political federation;
“… the citizens understand the challenges the federation may pose, but more importantly, see the opportunities it offers and are willing to tailor the process to suit the interests of the over 130 million citizens who stand to benefit,” Kagame said.
He noted that where federations work; the system builds strong economic foundations needed for the future, as well as establishes conditions for political stability and security.
Other speakers at the opening session of the conference, which ends December 16, include President Girma Wolde-Giorgis and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, President Boni Yayi of Benin, President Omar Bashir of Sudan, and AU Commission President, Jean Ping.
The focus for this year’s conference, which is being held in Africa for the first time, is “Equality and Unity in Diversity for Development”. The conference is part of a series initiated in 1999 by the Forum of Federations, as a platform for experience sharing on issues related to federalism.
Previous conferences have been hosted by Canada, Switzerland, Belgium and India.