‘The pandemic is a drive to carry on with Africa’s development agenda’: Egypt’s Pres. in Aswan Forum

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi delivering a pre-recorded speech on the first day of the second edition of Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development. Egypt Today/Hassan Mohamed

“The pandemic is a drive to carry on with Africa’s development agenda, and not back down,” President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi stipulated Monday in a prerecorded speech at the second edition of Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development.

The president underlined that Egypt has been eager to capitalize on the success of the first edition by holding the second one virtually regardless of the pandemic.

“Recovery [in Africa] shall be accomplished through better transportation networks, infrastructure, and digital transformation,” the Egyptian president said adding that private investment is key either.

As for security issues that shall be addressed, Sisi highlighted terrorism, illegal migration, and armed conflicts among others. Moreover, “we need to back countries recovering from conflicts by offering capacity-building to its institutions,” the Egyptian chief of state asserted.

“The cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union is crucial for significant outcomes,” Sisi noted.

The speech of the Egyptian president was the first of pre-recorded speeches of many African leaders that were streamed during a session titled ““Post COVID-19 Recovery: Strengthening Sustainable Peace and Development in Africa.”

The second edition of Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development kicked off Monday virtually. The forum is organized by Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacebuilding and Peacekeeping. The event is taking place on March 1-5 under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

President of South Sudan Salva Kiir thanked Egypt for organizing the forum virtually in spite of COVID-19.

Equally, Rwanda President Paul Kagame congratulated Egypt on convening the second edition of Aswan Forum. He added that the forum exemplifies Egypt’s commitment to African integration.

Speaking of ways to survive the pandemic, the Rwandan president stressed that Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

As for economic recovery, “we need to create a robust supply chain in order to boost the manufacturing sector,” Kagame pointed out.

Further, President of Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba asserted that Africa needs to make its response to development needs resilient. “We need to boost Africa’s agility in the face of adversity,” Ondimba added.

In that context, President of Senegal Macky Sall stipulated the necessity of setting an emergency plan to remedy the implications of the pandemic. “We also need to concert efforts for the plan to materialize,” Sall added highlighting that care must be given to the private sector and technology transfer.

“Most importantly, we have to value the potential of Africa,” Senegal president showcased.

President of Burkina Faso Roch Marc Christian Kabore says that the pandemic necessitates reinforcing African cooperation mechanisms. “Africa should give care to research for it can devise methods to reduce infections,” Kabore said.

President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Dambuzo Mnangawa said that African states should ratify an agreement to establish a continental medical agency. With regard to development endeavors, Mnangawa asserted that Africa’s strategic partners are still key.

President of Madagascar Andry Rojoelina underlined that the social impact of the pandemic is significant. “We need to find solutions for unemployment, and come up with ways to secure financing,” Rojoelina said.

“The situation we’re dealing with now is unprecedented…Hence, Africa’s response must be audacious,” Madagascar President showcased.

President of Guinea-Bissau Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo stipulated that “the current challenges mandate an African response that is articulated correctly.”

On another level, President of Burundi Evariste Ndayishimiye said that regional and international conflicts are tearing apart some African nations. “We need to promote the value of peaceful coexistence to preserve our countries,” Burundi President added.

Regarding development, “we need to seize every opportunity that can contribute in the prosperity of Africa,” Ndayishimiye asserted.

President of Tunisia Qais Said expressed appreciation to Egyptian counterpart Sisi for holding the forum in spite of the current exceptional circumstances. “Egypt’s president has been eager to create room for dialogue among Africa’s states deploying all necessary efforts for that purpose,” the Tunisian president highlighted.

“We shall employ the capacities of Africa,” Said noted. “In November, Tunisia is hosting the 18th Summit of Francophone Countries whose theme centers on the role of digital technology in boosting cooperation among member states,” the Tunisian president stated.

“Tunisia is also hosting this year the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD),” Said added stipulating that both events constitute an opportunity for African states to expand cooperation on the international scale. “We need to ingrain deep partnerships,” Said pointed out.

Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres said that the pandemic is an opportunity to address pre-existing fragility and inequality.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Faki Mahamat praised former AU Chair South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for his quick response to the reality imposed by the pandemic.

“The pandemic is an opportunity for countries to rethink and renew their social contracts,” Faki stressed.

Since peace composes the basis for development, “we need to focus on conflict prevention rather than conflict resolution,” Faki underlined.

Egypt Today


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