These shared values are democratic ideals, respect for human rights, promotion of gender equality, promotion of cultural and religious tolerance and the building of inclusive and harmonious societies.
Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, UN’s under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said “Such values are the foundation for peace and security, without which it will not be possible to deepen regional integration.”
He was speaking at the 5th Conference of African Ministers in Charge of Integration (COMAI V) in Nairobi, Kenya on the theme “Integration and Sovereignty”.
Mr. Janneh told African Ministers to bear in mind that the ultimate objective of regional integration is to enable African countries to benefit from economies of scale, reduce transactions costs and use trade as an engine of growth and development.
“We continue to be motivated by our collective vision for a strong, robust, diversified and resilient African economy, supported by jointly agreed development programmes and first-class trans-boundary infrastructure as well as a highly skilled, flexible and fully employed workforce living in conditions of political stability,” he said.
Mr Janneh noted that countries have expressed legitimate fears and concerns with respect to entering into collective regional agreements which may lead to fear of loss of revenue, undermining of national security and facilitation of transnational crime.
He pointed out that both integration and sovereignty lie in the political realm and “any decision to deepen integration or willingness to cede some sovereignty is an expression of political will.”
By Ekow Quandzie