Magazine article New African , No. 486
The vision of the African Union is to achieve an integrated, prosperous, equitable, well governed and peaceful United States of Africa, driven and effectively managed by its own citizens and representing a creative and dynamic force in the international arena. The African Union Commission (AUC) is the executive arm of the AU.
To strengthen its mandate and to address weaknesses and threats as well as to take advantage of opportunities, for the years 2009 to 2012, the AUC has designed a Strategic Plan which will be implemented through four strategic pillars. These pillars are intended to address the expectations and concerns of stakeholders. The Commission's programmes will be implemented in collaboration with stakeholders, including Member States, other organs of the Union, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), staff members of the Commission, the private sector and civil society, African citizens on the continent and in the Diaspora and strategic and development partners.
The four strategic pillars are:
1. Peace and Security;
2. Development, Integration and Cooperation;
3. Shared Values;
4. Institution and Capacity Building. Under Peace and Security, Africa seeks to eliminate ongoing conflicts, prevent occurence of new ones as well as prevent a relapse to conflict by States recovering from conflict on the continent by addressing factors that cause conflict. This pillar is also aimed at preventing, managing and resolving conflicts as a necessary condition for development and integration. Continental stability and security is a prerequisite for the development and integration of Africa.
On Development, Integration and Cooperation, Africa seeks a clear path to attaining middle-income status by Member States and a clear roadmap towards political, economic, social and cultural continental integration. Under this pillar, achieving sufficient global cooperation for sustainable development and integration; and achieving sustainable human and social development by reducing poverty and inequalities are key objectives.
On Shared Values, Africa seeks to promote existing and agreed-upon shared values across the continent at individual, national, regional and international levels. These values include good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, accountability and transparency.
Under Institution and Capacity Building, the leadership of the Commission pursues synergy and collaboration among Member States, RECs and AU organs towards AU's integration agenda. This pillar is also meant to establish an effective and efficient Commission of the African Union and a framework for sharing Africa's research and development initiatives.
Investing in agriculture
Although Africa has enormous agricultural potential, it still remains a net food importer. The majority of Africans live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods; but the performance of the agricultural sector has been dismal. In addition to policy neglect and domestic structural constraints that impeded progress, external setbacks such as climate change and variability, and instability in world factor and product markets have exacerbated the conditions for growth and development. These are some of the glaring facts that the African Union (AU) is determined to squarely address, in a bid to make agriculture Africa's mainstay of growth and sustainable development.
The AU, therefore, recognises that vast investments in agriculture need to be made in order to modernise the sector and make it play a pivotal role in Africa's development and industrialisation, as well as provide food security and employment opportunities. It is, therefore, against this backdrop that the 13th Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union to be held in the Libyan city of Sirte (from 1 to 3 July 2009) will debate on the theme: "Investing in Agriculture for Economic Growth and Food Security". …