The leaders of African and Arab countries, concluding the 3rd Africa-Arab Summit in Kuwait City on November 20, adopted the “Kuwait Declaration” in which they agreed to promote South-South cooperation and build closer relations between the governments and people of the two regions, strengthen diplomatic and consular relations, and find peaceful settlements to political crises in the two regions.
According to a dispatch from Kuwait, the two-day Summit,whose theme was "Partners in Development and Investment," was attended by theHeads of State and Government of the African Union and the League of Arab States. It was co-chaired by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and H.E. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, Chairman of the African Union Authority. Agreeing to apply the principle of rotation in hosting summits, they agreed to hold the 4th Africa-Arab Summit in Africa, in 2016.
The Summit also adopted a Communiqué on Palestine, and eight resolutions; and considered the Report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, as well as that of the Joint Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
In31 operative paragraphs of the Declaration, the Heads of State and Government also agreed to create the necessary conditions to encourage and facilitate investment in African and Arab countries; and reaffirmed the need to increase the volume of trade and investment flows between the two regions and to support the existing industrial development initiatives in order to reduce poverty and generate employment for their youthful population.
They agreed to enhance cooperation and facilitate investment in the field of energy, aimed at jointly developing new and renewable energy sources, as well as expanding access to reliable and affordable modern energy services in the two regions. They encouraged their governments, private sector and civil society to boost agriculture, while agreeing to strengthen cooperation on rural development, agricultural development and food security; and called for the implementation of infrastructure development programs in both regions with a focus on transport, water and sanitation, telecommunications and ICT.
Other provisions of the Declaration called for United Nations reform, including the Security Council, to reflect current global realities; implementation, by the Arab League and the AU Commission of the Africa-Arab Joint Action Plan and other projects; debt relief for countries engaged in peace-building, reconstruction and development in the two regions; and strongly condemned terrorism and all forms of trafficking in the two regions.
The Heads of State and Government approved eight resolutions, among them texts on the Rationalization of the Implementation and Follow-up Mechanisms of the Africa-Arab Partnership; on Strengthening the Africa-Arab Partnership on Migration; the Africa-Arab Cultural Institute; Establishment of an Africa-Arab Joint Financing Coordination Mechanism; and the Africa-Arab Economic Forum.
Addressing the closing session of the Summit, the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, summarizing the two-day event, said that together the participants had discussed the issues of the Arab and African worlds, and had exchanged views, realizing the circumstances and conditions they faced and a determination to achieve the desired results. All realized the size of the challenges faced, and how to handle them by setting plans and strategies to achieve mutual aspirations.
There had been consensus of views concerning the agenda, he said, and the joint chairmanship and the General Secretariat of the Arab League and the AU would work towards achieving common objectives. All would continue building upon the achievements reached, “to add bricks to the lofty edifice of our cooperation toward planning our future work.”
The Amir added, “We have a long way and hard work ahead, requiring doubled efforts, and vigorous follow-up, to match the high expectations and various challenges.”
President Sirleaf ended the day by visiting the residence of Liberia’s Ambassador to the State of Kuwait, H.E Mr. Konah Blackett, for a dinner held in her honor.
The Liberian President and delegation depart Kuwait Thursday for Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for a three-day Working Visit, at the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. She will hold discussions with him, as well as other high-ranking officials. With the President’s focus on infrastructure, she will visit the Dubai Port facility; the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industries; the Road and Transport Authority; and the Emirates Competitive Council, among other engagements.