Liberia’s President George M. Weah has stressed the need for more targeted and practical actions to ensure that reform in the African Union (AU) structures will translate into tangible benefits in the lives and livelihoods of its people.
Delivering his statement at the 34thAU Summit via zoom, Mr. Weah notes that achieving this would require leaders taking deliberate steps collectively in their respective countries through stronger continental economic integration, ease in trade and commerce, and free intra-continental movement.
Mr. Weah pointed out that Liberia reaffirmed its commitment to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement. “I have placed the ratification of this Agreement at the top of my Legislative Agenda for 2021. Once ratified by all member states, ACFTA will become an even stronger tool for economic growth on the African Continent,” the President explained.
On the quota system within the organization, Mr. Weah made known his support by indicating that he could not overstress the importance of its full utilization by all AU Member States.
“My delegation aligns itself with the proposal by the R10 Team, that the Quota System should take into consideration the principle of solidarity and payment of contributions. My delegation would like to state that this key component should not be the sole choice of the Commission, but should also be in conjunction with member states,” he said.
Regarding the Forensic Audit Report at the AU, Mr. Weah opines that the findings are not encouraging. But notes that the right thing can be done beginning with the implementation of the recommendations of the Report; as well as the extension of such audit to other organs of the AU.
He also indicated that his delegation is in alignment with the decision to adopt the budget for the year 2022, without any funding gap; in line with the golden rules at the AU.
On the issue of insecurity, President Weah calls for urgent action to suppress the continuous wave of insecurity in various parts of the continent, caused by insurgencies and terrorists.
“The persistent attacks by terrorists in some parts of West Africa, including Mali, where troops from the Liberian army are serving under a multi-national peace-keeping force, need urgent attention, he said adding “Additionally, the growing threats to Maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, where pirate attacks are on the increase, gravely affects trade and commerce. We must adopt stringent measures to curtail this unacceptable situation.”
Mr. Weah closed his statement by extending profound congratulations to the new Chairperson of the African Union, His Excellency Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who is assuming the leadership of the Union in these challenging times. He earlier praised the outgoing leadership of the AU for their tireless efforts in steering the affairs of the organization.