Africa must develop its capacity to for effective partnerships – Tete Antonio

The Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations, Mr. Tete Antonio has called on African governments to develop the capacity for effective partnerships for development. In a response to inquiries about Africa’s China policy, the ambassador said that it is important for African nations to develop effective negotiation skills and not to regard themselves as desperate enough to be exploited by their development partners. It is also important to diversify partnerships and if necessary switch to alternative partners to avoid exploitation and abuses. It is important for African nations to manage their development partnerships and establish definite policies for their resources in order not to be overtaken by events. Mr. Antonio was the main speaker at an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) (now African Union) (AU) held at the African Union Mission in New York Thursday May 9.

The event which was dubbed conversation with the Ambassador stressed on developments in Africa from Organization of African Unity to African Unity. He explained that the OAU had its teething problems and challenges among which were ideological differences that resulted in the emergence of the so-called Casablanca and Monrovia bloc of nations identified as progressive and conservative respectively. The Cold War and conditionalities imposed on the member states by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also posed major challenges to the nascent organization.

Ambassador Tete Antonio also explained the structural differences between the OAU and AU. While the OAU was more cautious with the independence of member states and stressed non-interference in affairs of member states, the AU introduced interventionist policies in member states in times of crisis, especially in cases of genocide and massive violations of human rights. The most visible part of the African Union, the ambassador said, is the architecture of peace and security. Technically, according to the ambassador, the African High Command is in existence as part of the peace and security architecture. It is the implementation that is the problem. The main challenge is financing. “The AU is able to finance only 27 percent of its programs,” he said. The focus therefore remains on prevention.

According to Ambassador Antonio economic cooperation among member states of the AU is still a mixed picture. The current rate of growth in Africa is about five percent, higher than most western nations, but the average African is yet to feel the impact. He emphasized the need for strong institutions and industrialization to add value to raw materials.

As part of its efforts to establish gender equality, the protection of women was one of the legal instruments that was enacted by the OAU. “The question of women is well-taken,” Mr. Antonio said. Even though women can be found in several top spots in the African Union, men still dominate the administrative structure .

Touching on youths, the ambassador said that the population of African is largely young but the main challenge is the provision of quality education and training.

The event was organized by the African Development Institute, a New York think tank. In attendance was the director of the organization, Dr. Kwame Akonor, Associate Professor of Political Science at the Seton Hall University and Mrs. Sharene Louise Bailey, Deputy Permanent Observer of the AU to the United Nations.

Posted by on May 16 2013. Filed under top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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