The Ghana Chapter of the African Union (AU) Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), was inaugurated in Accra on Tuesday, with a call on civil society organisations (CSOs) to effectively participate in the realisation of the AU Agenda 2063 vision of all inclusive, peaceful and prosperous continent.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Emmanuel Bombande, who made the call, said CSOs underscored the critical role they play in Africa’s development agenda and urged them to deepen their engagement with African leaders to improve the lives of people of the continent and make Africa a global player.
The ECOSOCC was established under provisions of Articles 5 and 22 of the AU’s Consultative Act, as a vehicle for building a strong partnership between government and all segments of African civil society.
The 26th Ordinary Session of the AU in January 2015, requested the second ECOSOCC Permanent General Assembly and the AU Commission to collaborate with member states to facilitate the establishment of the ECOSOCC chapters as a framework for accountability and conduit for information sharing, moibilising support for AU policies and programmes.
Ghana thus joined countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Mauritius, Togo and Algeria who had already established their national chapters.
The Ghana chapter is made up of arrays of professionals groups, private sector, social groups and the media from 24 entities.
Mr. Bombande urged them to be “creative and innovative” to map out strategies to mobilise support for the AU to realise its vision saying that their road map should not be held back because of funding, adding “once they are creative and innovative the resources would be generated by itself.”
The deputy minister said the Agenda 2063 was based on the principles of inclusive government, good governance, rule of law, upholding human rights and integrated Africa stressing that Ghana had aligned the Agenda 2063 in its quest for long term development agenda.
He reiterated Ghana’s commitment to global agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals, and said the country had made significant strides in poverty reduction and growth.
Mr. Bombande urged the media to participate in the realisation of the vision 2063 by disseminating information and educating the people on the continent towards achieving the goals of the AU.
The Dean of the Diplomatic Corp and Zimbabwe High Commissioner to Ghana, Pavelyn Tendai Musaka, said the Agenda 2063 was “people-centred”, and asked the ECOSOCC to own the agenda by “making noise over its implementation by the AU for us to have the people-centred AU that we want.”
The Deputy Presiding Officer of ECOSOCC, Samuel Dotse, said the distinctive character of the ECOSOCC was the opportunity offered to CSOs to play an active role in charting the future of the continent, organising itself in partnership with African governments to contribute to the principles, policies and programmes of the union.
By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman