UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The goal of silencing guns in Africa this decade is being challenged by climate change, terrorism, coups and the history of the continent, the head of the African Union initiative told the UN on Thursday -Security Council.
Reaching the target is in jeopardy even after the date was once pushed back to 2030, Mohamed Ibn Chambas said. He pointed to constitutional, institutional and cultural challenges as well as “Africa’s vulnerability to global economic shocks” – and the weak implementation of international, national and regional decisions on peace, security and development.
The silencing of guns was a key initiative in the vision for “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa” adopted by AU leaders in May 2013. Originally dubbed Agenda 2063, it said all guns would be silenced in 2023, but in December 2020 the AU decided to extend the date to 2030.
That same year, the United Nations pledged to meet its top 17 development goals, which are also lagging behind, including eradicating poverty, ensuring secondary education for all children, achieving gender equality and providing affordable and clean energy.
Chambas told the Security Council that in embracing the silencing initiative, AU leaders “were motivated by a desire to leave future generations of Africans a continent free from war and conflict.”
The goal is to work towards “an Africa at peace with itself and with the rest of the world,” he said, but today numerous challenges have threatened that goal, starting with the widening gap between rich and poorer nations and between elites and marginalized people and communities within countries.
Chambas, for example, said that the COVID-19 pandemic “has pushed 55 million Africans into poverty in 2020 and has reversed more than two decades of poverty reduction progress on the continent.” He said “equally alarming is the fact that 15 African countries are reportedly at risk of a debt crisis,” and today the continent’s debt is more than $600 billion.
Chambas urged to step up efforts to reduce inequalities and make new investments in education, technology and health while ensuring Africa’s young population can find decent jobs. He also called for a crackdown on illicit financial flows that drain about $90 billion a year from the continent.
He said Africa should shift from exporting commodities to exporting manufactured and processed agricultural products, which would require investment in cross-border infrastructure. Chambas said Africa should produce its own food, calling it “unsustainable” that a continent with 60% of the world’s remaining arable land and many rivers and bodies of fresh water is dependent on grain imports.
The AU High Representative for the implementation of the gun silencing initiative said achieving the goal also depends on addressing recent coups and unconstitutional changes of government and countering the scourge of terrorism and the internal and external factors fueling conflict and instability in the country cause africa.
Armed conflicts are threatening across the continent. Jihadi insurgencies are plaguing Somalia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, which has had two coups in the past year, and Mali, whose leader seized power in a 2020 coup. The extremist violence threatened to spread to more countries, while militias continue to fight in resource-rich eastern Congo.
Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi, who chaired the council meeting, told members on Tuesday that the threat of global terrorism in Africa was “still more critical”. Pointing to a global terrorism index that showed 40% of victims last year were African, he called the Sahel region “the new epicenter of terrorist attacks.”
Chambas said he believed in Mozambique’s successful peace process with the former Renamo rebel movement.
Nyusi on Thursday urged all African leaders to address the root causes that fuel feelings of injustice, social inequality and exclusion that fuel conflict and “accelerate the silencing of guns once and for all”.
Source : news.yahoo.com