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Regional Economic Communities (RECs) from the African continent led by the African Union and other strategic continental institutions have concluded talks on the 10 year implementation plan for the Agenda 2063.

The forum organized by the AU and hosted by COMESA brought together chief executives and senior officials from all RECs, the African Development Bank, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) and the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) among others.

The objective of the forum was to receive inputs, share experiences and harmonize approaches on the RECs priorities and programmes with regards to the flagship projects in the context of 10 year implementation plan for the Agenda 2063 10-year.

Key areas in focus are Infrastructure (transport, energy, ICT, etc.); Industrialization, commodities and Trade; Agro-processing sector; Mobility and Free movement of people; Continental Free Trade Area; Skills and youth unemployment; gender equality and Peace, security and Governance, in the context of Year of Human rights (2016).

Speaking during the opening session, Deputy Chair of the African Union Commission Mr. Erastus Mwencha said the low level of integration and transformation was the most critical issues facing the continent.

“Until we deal with those two points, we are in a vicious circle, going through cyclical ups and downs and creating more hurdles in the way of our African economic development,” Mr Mwencha said.

“As we look at our agenda today, in developing agenda 2063, we have examined 35 national development plans; implemented true participatory approaches and come up with a set of seven aspirations and 20 goals that are of highest importance to the people of Africa, and are in perfect alignment with the post 2015 sustainable development goals.”

The meeting will discuss the proposed allocation of roles and responsibilities among the AUC and the RECs and other institutions in the implementation of Agenda 2063, and the status of implementation of the outcomes of the last two AUC-RECs-AfDB-UNECA Joint Coordination meetings held in Addis Ababa, in May 2015 and Johannesburg, in December 2014, respectively.

In his statement, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Zambia Hon Harry Kalaba said in order for national strategies for economic transformation to be pursued successfully, it is vital that they are complemented by strong regional policies.

“Agenda 2063 present landmark undertakings which if implemented to the full potential will positively influence the future of our continent,” the Minister said.

The meeting will receive updates on work in progress on the implementation of the first Ten-year plan of Agenda 2063 and a strategic discussion on how to accelerate implementation of flagship projects by the AUC, RECs and other institutions; It will also make recommendations on the delineation of roles and responsibilities amongst AUC, RECs, NPCA and other relevant institutions to ensure the execution of different programmes in the implementation of Agenda 2063 and improve teamwork, responsibility sharing and strengthen role of RECs in the AU.

Acting COMESA Secretary General Amb. Nagla El Hussainy described the Agenda 2063 as a guarantee of the unity of purpose. She said: “What is needed is pooling of capacities we have in every organization involved in the implementation and make sure we are synergizing efforts to deliver appropriately as one.” The opening session was also addressed by the UNECA Executive Secretary Dr Carlos Lopes and the representative of the African Development Bank Ms. Moono Mupotola.

Seven RECs participated in the meeting. They included COMESA, the East African Community (EAC) Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Economic Commission for Western Africa States (ECOWAS), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Community of Sahel Saharan States (CENSAD).