African leaders commit to regional integration, development, cooperation

African Heads of State and Government have declared their commitment to advancing integration, development and cooperation within the continent.

Mr Dele Alake, Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

The leaders, representing the Bureau of the Assembly of the African Union (AU), Chairpersons of the eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and Regional Mechanisms (RMs), concluded the Fifth Mid-Year Coordination Meeting of AU in Nairobi, Kenya on Sunday with the adoption of a draft declaration.

The meeting was chaired by President Azali Assoumani of Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union.

It was attended by President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria and the Chairperson of ECOWAS, as well the Presidents of Kenya, Egypt, Gabon, Djibouti, Libya, Senegal and DR Congo.

The leaders expressed their support for initiatives aimed at boosting connectivity and tourism within Africa, including the implementation of E-visa facilitation.

They also pledged to champion the ratification of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons to effectively support the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agenda.

The leaders vowed to support the operationalisation and expansion of key initiatives such as the AfCFTA Adjustment Facility, Payment and Settlement System, and Guided Trade Initiative, aiming to enhance trade facilitation and economic cooperation.

Earlier at the meeting, Tinubu, in his capacity as the Chairperson of ECOWAS, presented a comprehensive report on the progress and challenges faced in regional integration.

He emphasised ECOWAS’ commitment to promoting stability, democracy, and economic growth in Africa, underscoring the sub-regional organization’s dedication to good governance, rule of law and democratic values.

Tinubu reaffirmed ECOWAS’ readiness to actively combat security challenges, and work towards the integration and prosperity of the region.