By: Elham Abul El-Fath
CAIRO, Feb. 10 (SEE)- Egypt has high aspirations to lead the African continent, which represents 18 percent of the world’s population, towards a better future.
Through my follow-up to the international stage, I am overwhelmed with optimism, however, at this stage, I sense the extent of the challenges facing the continent and the greed of external forces, which exploited our developing world.
Amidst the presidency of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to the African Union(AU) in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, remarkable features contribute distinctive importance of this opportunity.
Virtue: The presidency of the African Union arrives while Egypt and its president’s commendable efforts, over the past few years, expanded to its peak. whether on the internal or external arena, Egypt has strengthened its relations with its African sisters through the organization of conferences, mutual visits, bilateral talks, and agreements with all African countries.
Originally initiated by the late Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ghanaian Kwame Nkrumah, and Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, Egypt has retrieved its role again in the continent under the leadership of president Sisi, who proposed putting the statue of Selassie at the headquarters of the African Union as a symbol of the founding fathers of the organization.
Competency: Being the president of the AU, Sisi will be speaking on behalf of the continent before the United Nations next September, the G20 summit in Japan next June and the Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD), which will be held in Japan next August. During these summits, Sisi will be presenting African concerns, priorities.
Ambitions: The African Union has evolved from political independence and anti-colonial movements. Its foundations are highly concentrated on the achievement of economic integration and social cohesion among the countries of the continent. The summit holds new hopes and aspirations for the African continent.
Potentialities: The African continent is the second most-populous continent, accounting for 14.8 percent of the world, at an area of about 30.3 million km2.
Africans have several cultures and about 1000 languages. In the past; Africans didn’t possess experience, nor administrative capacities sufficient to govern their own countries, which led to colonialism, poverty, and corruption. Today the situation is different; cultural diversity, geological demography, and natural resources give them faith in a better future through the cooperative and the hard work of the African youth.
Precedence: Egypt has a comprehensive historical role since the signing of the African Peace and Security Council (PSC) protocol in 2004. Egypt was elected a member of the Council for the Northern Region, exercising its functions as of 17 March 2006 for two years.
In 2006, during its chairmanship of the Council, Egypt launched an initiative to establish a mechanism of consultation between the African and International Peace and Security Councils. Egypt is the largest contributor, along with South Africa and Algeria, to the Union’s budget with an estimate of 15 percent.
Preparation: Egypt has prepared an ambitious and intensive program amidst its the presidency of the AU, where the Parliament’s African Affairs Committee held more than 30 meetings with the related ministries to provide an effective strategy for the presidency of the union. The strategy includes scholarships for Africans students in Egyptian universities, a new rail network and direct flights to a number of African countries, as well as the commitment for development a centralized African economy.
Consequently, I am confident about Egypt’s influential role during its presidency in all sectors, achieving the objectives of the comprehensive development agenda “Africa 2063.”
Mutual trust: Egypt’s engagement in the continent developed via soft power and through the revival of the role of Al-Azhar and Coptic Churches in the East and West of Africa, enlightening and activating the educational role of Egyptian universities in Africa.
Africa also expressed its confidence in Egypt, choosing it to organize the African Cup of Nations this year for its ability to host a successful tournament.
Outstanding potential: The Egyptian construction sector is one of the most important components of cooperation with the African continent
The Arab Contractors Company are currently constructing a 2100-MW Rufiji dam and power plant in Stiegler’s Gorge in Tanzania, which is considered one of the most important national projects to generate electricity.
Construction will continue for 3 years at the cost of 2.9 billion. The company is also upgrading the Masaka-Bukakata road south of Uganda in a project worth $ 54 million
After all these points that spread optimism, we can talk about the development plan of Africa 2063 with confidence and faith in a better future.