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African Union Summit in Maputo: Letґs do it!

Critics of the African Union forget that there is a new hope for progress and development in Africa

The Summit of the African Union in Maputo, considered by some to be just one more in a long history of summits since the formation of the Organization of African Unity and now the African Union (AU), considered by others to be another round of grandiose talks with no hope for the dreams to become reality, is rather a first step towards a new era for the continent.

It is easy to say that a summit is no more than talks because this is exactly what a summit is for. However, it must be pointed out what in fact happened in Maputo. For the first time, the mechanisms which constitute the AU were put into place and for the first time, the African Continent arrived at a consensus as to the need to create the conditions for a sustainable development and good government.

For the first time, there was a tangible desire for democratic processes at a pan-African level. For the first time, there is a real integration of the role of women in politics and for the first time, the continent has launched a project with vision, with firm foundations and a solid framework, based upon pragmatism and realism which provide a new hope that at last, this continent will reach its full potential.

In Maputo, the President of the Summit, Joaquim Chissano, saw with pride the creation of the African Union Commission, whose President will be Alpha Konare, the ex-President of Mali and the Vice President, Patrick Mazimhaka, of Rwanda. There will be seven commissioners, two men and five women, representing the five regions of Africa.

The fact that the Peace and Security Council has not been set up is one of the first points to be attacked by the critics, who stubbornly continue to wish to see this continent destitute, while its people continue to die and while its natural resources continue to travel on a one-way ticket - out.

However, the Political Agency was created, whose Commissioner will be Julia Dolly (Gambia), along with the Agency for Infrastructures and Energy (Bernard Zoba, Congo), the Agency for Social Matters (Bience Gawanas, Namibia), the Agency for Human Resources, Science and Technology (Saida Agrebi, Tunнsia), the Agency for Trade and Industry (Elizabeth Tankeu, Cameroon) and the Rural Economy Agency (Rosebud Kurwijila, Tanzania). The only two which have yet to be created are the Economic Agency and the Peace and Security Council, which anyway already has a President, Algeria's Said Djinnit.

President Chissano of Mozambique declared at the closing ceremony that "At this assembly, a consensus was reached that peace and stability are basic conditions for ensuring Africa's harmonious and sustainable development".

The notion remains that Africa will have to become a political union first and later, an economic one but at least in Maputo the bases for a lasting organism were sown, one which has a promising future for a New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).

To accompany this New Partnership for African Development, there is a new hope for progress and for a new age for the dignity of the African continent.