31 October 2007
The signing of a new MOU between the two organisations marks the beginning of a deeper engagement of the Commonwealth Secretariat in Africa
The Commonwealth Secretariat today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Union (AU).
Florence Mugasha, Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, signed on behalf of the Secretariat and Patrick Mazimhaka, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AU), signed on behalf of the AU.
The agreement in Addis Ababa, formalises the cordial and fruitful relationship already existing between the two organisations and represents the desire to further improve and strengthen that relationship, the MOU states.
It also marks the beginning of a new phase in the Commonwealth Secretariat’s engagement with Africa.
The proposed use of Commonwealth experts on governance issues is an example of the widespread recognition of the Commonwealth Secretariat as a trusted partner by the 18 Commonwealth member countries in Africa, the association’s largest constituency.
It follows the involvement of the Commonwealth and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie as partners with the EU in a programme of trade-related capacity building in ACP counties, which includes personnel already seconded to the AU Commission to help implement it.
Mrs Mugasha said: “The signing of this new MOU represents the beginning of a fresh chapter in Commonwealth/African collaboration. Our relationship goes back a long way. However, this MOU paves the way for a deeper and wider partnership in trade,
governance and political affairs, continent wide. It reflects the mutual acknowledgement by our two organisations of the untapped potential which can be secured for Africa by an even closer day-to-day working relationship with the Commonwealth.”
Note to Editors:
Earlier this year, Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon wrote to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Professor Alpha Konare, proposing Commonwealth Secretariat involvement in implementing the governance aspects of the European Union (EU)/AU Strategy for Africa.
This new continent-wide Strategy will be the main subject under discussion at the AU/EU Summit in Lisbon in December 2007.
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