President Paul Kagame and the chairperson of the African Union has asked members of the Panafrican parliament convening in the capital Kigali to lend their support in pushing the continent’s free movement and trade agenda.
In March this year, Rwanda and Africa witnessed the historic signing of the Africa continental free trade Area Agreement (CFTA) – an agreement that officially made Africa an open one single market for all Africans.
Some African member states have already submitted papers of ratification to the African Union commission, while others are still waiting for their parliaments to approve the ratification.
Addressing the first ordinary session of the fifth Parliament, that took place at Radisson Blu and convention Centre, Kagame sought the MPs support in ensuring every member state finalizes the agreement.
“I would like to ask for your support for the speedy ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons and other key pillars of Agenda 2063,” he said.
The Session, which runs from 18 October to 03 November 2018, is held under the theme: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”
The Pan-African Parliament is the legislative body of the African Union. The Parliament has over 275 members representing AU member states.
The President took the opportunity to remind members of the 5th parliament to disseminate effective communication among stakeholders to ensure speedy implementation of the agreement.
“We need your help to communicate more effectively with constituents and stakeholders in civil society about the importance of these agreements for the well-being of our citizens and our economies,” Kagame said.
According to President Kagame, “Working together is the only way to give Africa’s position the weight it deserves in the wider geopolitical context. Illusions of moral hierarchy that divided continents and peoples are crumbling rapidly as we have been seeing.”
The African continent has been under vigorous reforms championed by President Paul Kagame.
Next month, he said, an extraordinary session will be convened in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to conduct final touches on the reform process.
“Important changes are underway on our continent and in the wider world and we have to be ready to meet them. It is about getting our house in order, and speaking with one voice to advance Africa’s interests,” he told parliamentarians.
The president requested lawmakers to use their voices and power to maintain the continent’s security and prosperity.
“Responsibility for Africa’s security and prosperity is firmly in our hands. We must meet the imperative of good governance with innovations and solutions drawn from Africa’s rich experiences and cultures, as we remain open to benefiting from the best global insights.”
“The impact of your work in this body is multiplied by your dual role as members of your respective national legislatures. We count on you to be strong advocates for African integration,” he added.
Roger Nkodo Dang – the president of the Pan-African Parliament said the session coming to Rwanda is an opportunity for members to peak leaf from Rwanda’s model of fighting corruption.
“Rwanda is important in the fight against corruption on the continent as it offers a proven model for creating a massively popular awakening in the campaign against corruption. Political will and state instruments are crucial in this fight,” he said.
Meanwhile, today’s 1st session witnessed the swearing-in of 16 new members from 7 member States.