The President of the Republic, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, has admonished leaders of the African Union (AU) to remain focused on the impressive and laudable work of reforming and keeping the Continental Body afloat in the interest of the African people.
President Weah acknowledged that tremendous progress was made under then Chairman of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
He called on his counterparts to work assiduously for “more targeted and practical actions which will ensure that reform in the African Union structures translate into tangible benefits in the lives and livelihoods of our people.”
Making remarks at the 34th Extraordinary Session of the AU held on Saturday, February 6, 2021 via video-conference, President Weah emphasized the urgency to finalize outstanding proposed structures as the AU is gravitating towards electing new leadership that will effectively and efficiently lead the organization and deliver key priorities under the Structural Reform plan.
President Weah stated: “To achieve this, we as leaders will have to take deliberate steps, collectively and in our respective countries, so that the impact of these reforms is manifested through stronger continental economic integration, ease in trade and commerce, and free intra-continental movement.”
President Weah reaffirmed Liberia’s commitment to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement.
He stressed that he has made the ratification of the Agreement a top priority of his Legislative Agenda for 2021. “Once ratified by all member states, ACFTA will become an even stronger tool for economic growth on the African Continent,” he said.
On the issue of the Quota System, the Liberian Leader accentuated the importance of its full utilization by all AU Member States, noting that the Liberian delegation was in support of the proposal by the R10 Team.
According to the Quota System, the august body should give important consideration to the principle of solidarity and payment of contributions.
“My delegation would like to state that this key component should not be the sole choice of the Commission, but should also be in conjunction with member states,” the President emphasized.
In another development, President Weah has bemoaned findings of the Forensic Audit Report conducted by the organization as not encouraging. He expressed optimism that the right thing can be done, beginning with the implementation of the recommendations of the Report and the extension of such audit to other organs of the African Union.
He said the Liberian delegation was also in line with the decision to adopt the budget for the year 2022, without any funding gap in accordance with the golden rules.
On the burning issue of insecurity on various parts of the Continent caused by insurgencies and terroristic activities, President Weah called for urgent and tougher action to suppress the situation.
He warned that “the persistent attacks by terrorists in some parts of West Africa, including Mali, where troops from the Liberian army are serving under a multi-national peace-keeping force, need urgent attention.”
The Liberian Leader made particular mention of the rising threat to Maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, stating “we must adopt stringent measures to curtail this unacceptable situation.”
He extolled the former Chairperson of the AU, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, for his incredible contribution, while at the same time thanking the new Chairperson, President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo who he said assumed the leadership of the Union at a challenging time.
The 34th Extraordinary Session of the AU ends on Sunday, February 7, 2021.
Liberia’s delegation also includes Ministers Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah (Foreign Affairs), Ledgerhood Rennie (Information, Culture and Tourism), Trokon Kpui (State Without Portfolio) and Maritime Commissioner, Lenn Eugene Nagbe and Advisor Emmanuel Shaw.