Pan-African Parliament President Pushes for Unity

Chief Fortune Charumbira calls for unity among member states

by Victor Adetimilehin

Re-elected Pan-African Parliament (PAP) President Chief Fortune Charumbira outlined his key priorities for his second term, emphasizing unity and maximizing trade opportunities across the continent. Charumbira’s vision comes at a critical juncture for Africa, where economic growth and political stability are intertwined.

Focus on Unity and Boosting Intra-African Trade

Following a meeting with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House, Charumbira addressed journalists, highlighting two main areas of focus for his renewed leadership. Firstly, he aims to foster greater unity among the over 270 PAP members, a body that has sometimes struggled with internal divisions. Secondly, Charumbira wants to raise awareness about the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), a game-changing initiative with the potential to transform Africa’s economic landscape.

“The main issue on the PAP is Agenda 2063 pronounced by the African Union (AU) and the issue of trade on the continent,” Charumbira said.

Launched in 2021, the ACFTA represents a bold step towards creating a single market for goods and services across Africa. This ambitious project could unlock significant economic growth by eliminating trade barriers, encouraging competition, and attracting foreign investment. However, the ACFTA’s success hinges on widespread adoption and effective implementation. Charumbira urged countries that haven’t yet ratified the agreement to do so and called for increased public awareness campaigns to educate Africans about the potential benefits of the ACFTA.

Addressing Security Concerns and Promoting Democracy

Charumbira also acknowledged a pressing political challenge facing Africa: the recent rise in unconstitutional changes of government.

“The increase of military coups in Africa is very worrisome,” he said. “We had a lot of coups in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, but now we have retrogressed again to that period.”

Charumbira emphasized the PAP’s role in promoting democratic governance across Africa. A strong and stable democratic foundation is essential for attracting investment, fostering economic development, and ensuring long-term prosperity. The PAP can play a crucial role in supporting member states in strengthening democratic institutions, upholding the rule of law, and conducting peaceful and transparent elections.

Charumbira’s re-election and his ambitious agenda were met with approval from Zimbabwean officials who accompanied him to the meeting.

“The Hon. Chief Charumbira started on a very high note,” said Parliament of Zimbabwe Speaker Jacob Mudenda. “We expect that he will continue to fly the PAP flag as well as the Zimbabwean flag.” Mudenda also addressed concerns raised about the recent PAP presidential election, which Charumbira won with a large majority.

A United and Prosperous Africa

Charumbira’s agenda reflects a growing recognition of the importance of a two-pronged approach for Africa’s development: political unity and economic integration. By promoting intra-African trade through initiatives like the ACFTA and strengthening democratic institutions, the PAP can play a crucial role in creating a more prosperous and stable future for the continent.

The road ahead won’t be without obstacles. Infrastructure deficiencies, bureaucratic hurdles, and political instability within some member states can impede progress. However, the potential benefits of a united and economically integrated Africa are vast. Increased trade can create jobs, lift millions out of poverty, and empower African nations to compete more effectively on the global stage.

The success of Charumbira’s vision hinges on collaboration. Member states must demonstrate a strong commitment to the PAP’s goals, work together to overcome challenges and prioritize the continent’s collective well-being. Additionally, fostering public engagement and educating citizens about the benefits of intra-African trade and democratic governance will be crucial for garnering long-term support.

Charumbira’s re-election and his focus on unity and intra-African trade offer a glimmer of hope for a brighter future for Africa. By working together, African nations have the potential to unlock their collective economic potential, build a more stable and democratic continent, and take their rightful place on the global stage.

Source: New Zimbabwe


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