AU Summit ends on a high note | 11 February 2020
The 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), which kicked off on February 9, 2020, came to an end yesterday at the headquarters of the AU, in Addis Ababa.
Vice-President Vincent Meriton was representing President Danny Faure at this year’s Assembly which was preceded by the 36th Session of the African Union Executive Council held from February 6-7, 2020.
The Summit includes the presence and participation of numerous African Heads of State and Government, who discussed over the two-day event different issues of importance to the continent as well as deliberated on a number of reports including those related to peace and security, blue economy and trade.
The highlights of this year’s event was the presentation of the report of the Champion of the Blue Economy for Africa by Vice-President Meriton. This report underscored the achievement thus far recorded by Seychelles in its promotion and implementation of the Blue Economy concept at national, regional, continental and global level.
In concluding the report, Vice-President Meriton called upon the leaders to “be cognizant of the abundance of resources that our continent boasts especially in our oceanic and aquatic spaces, which represent vital opportunities for the prosperity and well-being of our present and future generations”.
Apart from the Assembly, the Seychelles delegation also seized the occasion to partake in a host of side events. Firstly, Seychelles co-hosted the High Level Side Event on Africa’s Blue Economy on February 8, 2020, alongside the Republic of Kenya and the Republic of Togo in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the Kingdom of Norway. The highlight of the event was the launch of the African Blue Economy Framework by Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission. Seychelles and the African Union Commission worked in close collaboration on this framework, which was validated by member States of the Union.
Seychelles also officially launched the African Island State Climate Commission on February 9, 2020, whereby the mechanism’s structure and road map were presented to the members of the Commission.
Two important signing by Vice-President Meriton also took place on the sideline of the Summit. These consisted of the African Medicines Agency Treaty and the signing of the memorandum of understanding for Seychelles to accede to the African Peer Review Mechanism along with the Republic of Zimbabwe at the 29th Session of the African Peer Review (APR) Forum.
Vice-President Meriton and the Seychelles delegation also conducted a bilateral meeting with Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of AUDA- NEPAD, pertaining to ongoing cooperation as well as to explore avenues of future collaboration in the field of the Blue Economy, Renewable Energy, Transportation and Cyber Security.
Furthermore, Vice-President Meriton met briefly with Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, whereby the discussions centred on bilateral and multilateral matters of shared interests.
Vice-President Meriton equally engaged on issues of common interest within the bilateral and multilateral realm with Liu Yuxi, ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the African Union Commission.
Additionally, Dr Marina Confait, principal secretary for Foreign Affairs and Wills Agricole, principal secretary for Energy and Climate Change, held a bilateral meeting with Dr Alastair McPhail, ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Federal Republic of Ethiopia whereby the main discussion focussed on the upcoming COP 26, scheduled in November 2020, in Glasgow, Scotland.
Other members of Vice-President Meriton’s delegation included Ambassador David Pierre, Seychelles’ permanent representative to the African Union; Kenneth Racombo, principal secretary in the department of The Blue Economy, Johnette Stephen, principal counsellor in the embassy of Seychelles in Addis Ababa; Patsy Moustache, director for World Affairs, Regions and Countries of the department of Foreign Affairs; Wendy Isnard, First Secretary for Organisations and Candidatures Section of the department of Foreign Affairs and Fatime Kante, senior economist in the department of The Blue Economy.