Twelve years after the small landlocked country of Rwanda witnessed one of the most gruesome genocides in history, it has repositioned itself as one of the most developed countries in Africa. Dozens of African leaders concluded their week-long meetings in the capital Kigali for the 27th African Union summit.
Rwanda is one of 13 African countries that strive to defy borders by allowing entry to African citizens on arrival. The 27th summit outcomes are centred on a set of actions in which African countries can defy borders, not only at immigration counters but also in the fields of trade and public services.
The summit, which concluded on Monday, witnessed the attendance of African presidents from dozens of countries including Egypt. The presidents released a concluding statement on the summit which recommended respecting human rights, encouraging gender equality, promoting female empowerment, and pursuing sustainable development.
Among the most significant outcomes of the summit were reviewing the framework progress of the Africa 2063 agenda, issuing the first copies of the African passport, and discussing the launch of a free trade zone in Africa, creating a roaming free telecommunications network between Gabon and Rwanda.
The 2063 agenda is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years, according to the African Union. It includes seven aspirations across fields of inclusive economic growth, political empowerment, cultural identity, and others.
“In our years of service to the AU member states, we worked tirelessly to ensure that we leave institutions more effective than we found them,” chairperson of the AU commission Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said.
According to Zuma, this work is not yet complete, and once the upcoming commission is elected, both achievements and challenges should be highlighted.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met with an array of African leaders during his time at the summit. He met with counterparts from Ghana, Sudan, Togo, Ghana, and Rwanda as well as with the prime minister of Ethiopia, according to state-run news agency MENA.
In his meetings Al-Sisi highlighted the importance of bilateral cooperation and launching an integrated African trade zone.
Meeting with Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir, Al-Sisi highlighted the importance of the historic ties between both countries and the potential of bilateral cooperation in different fields.
He asserted that connecting ports is a great opportunity to boost trade between both countries.
Both leaders also discussed preparations needed to form a joint committee between the countries to further execute plans for bilateral cooperation.
Meanwhile, in his meeting with Somali president, Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud, he pledged to maintain Egypt’s support in order to overcome security turbulence in Somalia and recognised the country’s national development plan, Somalia 2016.
Al-Sisi also met with president of Ghana, John Mahama, with whom he encouraged increasing Ghana’s investments in Egypt and offered high-calibre capacity building in Ghana. Egypt had earlier sent medical convoys to Ghana during a doctors’ strike, which Mahama recognised.
Both leaders discussed potential bilateral collaboration in the fields of education and trade among others.
The African leaders also discussed in a closed session on Sunday night several topics such as the AU elections and the African stance towards suggested reforms in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) aimed at increasing Africa’s representation in the council.
The emerging conflict in South Sudan was also intensely discussed at the Kigali summit. United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon addressed on Saturday African leaders, stressing the need for concerted action to revive the implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan.