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Sahara issue resolution necessary for Africa's economic integration

Franklin Cudjoe?resize=800%2C543&ssl=1 IMANI Africa President, Franklin Cudjoe

Thu, 29 Jul 2021 Source: GNA

Participants at a day's seminar organised by Imani Center for Policy and Education, a Ghanaian Think Tank, have considered the resolution of the Western Sahara issue a necessary step to enhance the continent’s economic integration.

The seminar, which was held in Accra, was on the theme "The Imperative of Economic Recovery: How can the Resolution of the Sahara Issue Strengthen Africa’s Regional and Continental Integration?”

A communique, issued at the end of the seminar, said, "In the current context, marked by the urgency of economic recovery – for the unity, the integration and the overall safety of the continent – the recent incident in Guerguerat demonstrates the need to overcome political deadlocks and unproductive ideological positions."

The seminar brought together several Ghanaian and West-African stakeholders, including prominent policymakers, experts, academics, business leaders, think tanks, and civil society representatives from Ghana, the Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria, and Senegal.

The event aimed at discussing the African Union’s (AU) current challenges in an objective, scientific and dispassionate manner in the context of a highly intellectual and fact-based exercise with credible experts and influential decision-makers.

Accra being the host of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement’s (AfCFTA) Secretariat, the discussions focused on the challenges of regional and continental economic integration, with a special focus on the role of Regional Economic Communities.

The communique said extensively analysed by the participants, the three-week obstruction by Polisario-led campers of a vital and strategic road – connecting Europe, North Africa, and Western Africa – put neighbouring countries, the region, and the whole continent’s economic security at risk.

It also highlighted the importance and weight of the cooperation between Morocco and West African countries.

It said furthermore, the participants examined the solutions available to the AU to rebalance its position on the issue, and fully play its neutral role in contributing to promote a lasting solution to a dispute that had been halting the AU’s functioning as well as the continent’s overall integration.

"Recognising the current dynamic around the Sahara issue, the participants highlighted that the United Nations Security Council process could be supported by Ghana’s contribution to reach a final and realistic solution in light of its upcoming non-permanent membership in the Security Council," the communique said.

"Whilst economic integration represents an emergency and a major milestone in the consolidation and development of Africa, it would be jeopardised should the AU not rationalise its institutional architecture."

The communique said according to the debates, the consolidation of such architecture made it imperative for the AU to complete its institutional reform and build its resilience against separatist and secessionist agendas, which were a real threat in numerous African countries.

It said the participants considered the admission into the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), then its maintenance by the AU, of a non-state entity, which had, since merely been a source of obstructions and division, as a striking example to this day.

It said according to the participants, the AU should correct that “cumbersome legacy” and “historical miscarriage.”

"Thus, the suspension, if not the expulsion, of the ‘SADR’, an armed group with no attributes of a sovereign State, must not be considered as a taboo or unattainable objective," it said.

"Its fulfilment is not intent on being an exclusively Moroccan ambition but one that drives the African States to put an end to superfluous divisions, and to stop the instrumentalisation of an Organisation, which is supposed to serve a Pan-African ideal and goal."

Source: GNA