African Union Commission Chairperson Jean Ping has called for a speedy economic integration on the continent to improve the lives of the people.
Mr Ping who made the call at the just ended 18th Ordinary Session of AU’s Assembly in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, said African integration had delayed because African countries did not trade enough among themselves.
“The growth of intra-African trade would lay the foundations for a stronger and more sustainable economic growth,” he said.
The Assembly’s meeting was on the theme “Boosting Intra-African Trade”.
He welcomed an arrangement between the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to form a free trade area. He also called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) to emulate the concept.
Mr. Ping urged AU member-states not to relent in their investments in the agricultural sector and called for the adoption of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).
He also called for increased action to ensure food self-sufficiency on the continent, and expressed satisfaction with what he described as the “growing success” of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), a NEPAD initiative to help African countries reach a higher path of economic growth through agriculture-led development. GNA