JB proclaims peace at Africa-Arab summit

Malawi President Joyce Banda on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, addressed the 3rd Africa-Arab Summit at Bayan Palace Conference Centre in Kuwait, where she emphasized that international peace and security are prerequisites for rapid development.

The 3rd Africa-Arab Summit which opened on Tuesday, November 19 and ended on November 20, 2013 was held under the theme “Partners in Development and Investment.”

President Banda said there have been upheavals in a number of countries, “including the popular uprising that swept through some parts of North Africa and the Middle East whose residual effects are still major challenges to both sides”.

Said President Banda: “This situation has significantly diverted the attention of the two coordinating organizations leading to failure to reach our set objectives. To this effect I would like to underline the critical importance of finding lasting peace and stability in our regions for the future success of the Afro- Arab partnership”.

President Banda addressing the Africa Arab Summit on Wednesday
President Banda addressing the Africa Arab Summit on Wednesday

The President, who is also Chairperson of SADC, said on their part, the regional grouping she heads has worked tirelessly to create a peaceful environment for investment. Peace initiatives in the DRC and Madagascar attest to this commitment, she said.

Added President Banda:“We are also monitoring developments on Mozambique, to ensure that peace prevails in our region”.

President Banda noted that Africa has a lot of untapped economic potential, particularly in areas of trade, agriculture development and food security.

If complemented with the Arab investment, she said, this could reap “far reaching and profound results impacting on both the African continent, the Arab world and beyond”.

Said the President:“I strongly believe that investment in the above areas will create job opportunities for our youth, and empower our women to uplift their living standards. After all, the youth and women form the large percentage of our population.

“In Malawi, we have untapped natural resources which we have discovered, such as minerals and oil. We are also blessed with abundant fertile agriculture land. In all these areas, we need investment and support from our partners in the Arab world”.

The President noted that the private sector and civil society are a good source of financing and expertise “in as far as partnerships like ours is concerned”.

In the case of the partnership, the President noted that the non-involvement of the private sector and civil society was a serious missed opportunity that must be redressed for whatever part is remaining of the Joint Action Plan.

President Banda urged leaders not  to lose sight of the modest accomplishments, including the cooperation between African and Arab Peace and Security Councils; the establishment of Joint AU-LAS committees of Ambassadors; Economic Cooperation;  Africa-Arab Trade Fair as well as Financial Cooperation with BADEA.  These are areas that we should build on for the sake of progress”.

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