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General News of Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Source: GNA

AU needs to make its agenda relevant to the ordinary African - Antwi-Danso

Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso, the Dean of Academic Affairs, Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, has urged the Africa Union (AU) to prioritise the engagement and integration of ordinary citizens to successfully drive the socio-economic advancement of the continent.

“Look, one of the biggest problems of the integration of Africa is the neglect of the socio-economic partners of development, who I call the ordinary people,” he declared, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency.

He emphasised: “...One of the biggest banes of African unity or the African enterprise is not getting the ordinary people on the streets being made part of the making of ECOWAS or of continental integration.

“So, the people are not being made part of the making of integration and that’s sad because integration is made for all the people and unfortunately we are not part of it.

“They are not being educated; they are not being made to understand that it is good to become a citizen of West Africa, a citizen of Africa for economic development. We are not being made part.”

“For instance, we say we are bringing the Eco - the proposed common currency of the West African Monetary Zone? - Tell me who has explained to the people what the Eco means and what it will mean to them?

“And tell me, where are the billboards on the Eco? Who is making sure the journalists understand this because they are to educate and inform the people...?

The European Union, Dr Anwti-Danso said, had been able to bring integration to their ordinary citizens and they were thus enjoying the benefits their commonalities and common resources and Africa could do likewise.

The AU, he said, played a pivotal role in the Continent’s transformation agenda, and therefore, African Governments and the AU Commission must regularly engage the people on the Union and the Union’s foundation, mission, agenda, achievements, among others, towards achieving an all-inclusive sustainable development.

The GNA’s interview was to elicit the experienced researcher and consultant on regional economic cooperation’s perspectives on making the continental body more relevant in solving its challenges, as Ghana marked this year’s AU Day, on Monday, May 25.

It is on the theme: “Silencing The Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development”.

Dr Antwi-Danso, therefore, appealed to the ECOWAS Commission and West African Governments to ensure that the people were well informed through the media about the Eco.

As part of efforts to make the AU relevant to the ordinary African, the Union must have its branch offices in all the national capitals across the continent.

“We have UN offices in every capital in Africa, where do we have AU (branch) offices? Where can I go and say I’m going to the AU office in Accra?”

Africa Day (formerly African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day) is to commemorate the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity on 25th May 1963.

It is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as in the Diaspora.

The organisation was transformed into the AU on 9th July 2002 in Durban, South Africa.

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