ADDIS ABABA - The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, yesterday, officially opened the 275th Meeting at the Ministerial level, of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) which is taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Rwanda is currently chairing the PSC organ of the AU.
The Addis meeting is aimed at assessing new threats to peace and security in Africa and draw lessons from North Africa crises and Cote d’Ivoire.
At the opening, Mushikiwabo presented a paper on the security situation on the continent, titled “The New Threats to Peace And Security in Africa: Lessons Learned from North Africa Crises and Ivory Coast.”
She informed the AU ministers that security concerns remain a serious issue to all member states of the Union and should be dealt with.
“After the crises in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and the post electoral crisis in Cote d’Ivoire and having observed recent uprisings in Burkina Faso, and in Uganda, there is no better time to discuss a subject related to “New Threats to Peace and Security in Africa” than this one,” Mushikiwabo told the meeting.
“An open and frank deliberation on the matter will lead the Peace and Security Council, and indeed all AU member States, to find preventive measures to address potential threats to Africa’s peace and security.”
The minister asserted that the situation on the continent presents a danger to the hard earned peace and the path of sustainable economic prosperity that have characterised the continent in the recent past.
“The uprisings that we have witnessed have caused unnecessary loss of life and are perpetuating a negative image that Africa cannot afford,” she said.
“If the leadership of our continent does not go beyond communiqués and unimplemented resolutions, roll its sleeves and face these issues, the social unrests have potential spill-over effects to the rest of the continent and undermine the well-being of citizens”.
She called for “extraordinary solutions”, which will require that Africa’s leadership does not conduct business as usual.
Mushikiwabo further noted that if countries do not do much to generate enough wealth to satisfy their peoples’ needs, and also adopt relevant economic models, the uprisings trend would continue.
She, however, warned that the creation of wealth alone cannot solve the crises alone, but building economies that are all inclusive where all people are advanced and none is left behind.
“As we all know, the countries affected by the recent revolts in North Africa or the Middle-East are relatively wealthy,” she observed.
Mushikiwabo noted that African countries need to expand the provision of social services like access to education and health, generate meaningful employment as well as ensure food security so as to ensure sustainable development.
In reference to the 2011 World Development Report, she said that low incomes, poverty, unemployment, income shocks such as those sparked by volatility in prices, rapid urbanisation, and inequality between groups all increase the risks of violence.
She warned that African countries need to adopt their own systems which respond to the equity, justice and inclusiveness needed by Africans rather than democratic systems from other countries.
Meanwhile, prior to the meeting, Mushikiwabo paid a courtesy call on Jean Ping, the Chairperson of AU Commission as well as Haile Mariam Desalegne, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia.