The much anticipated African Union (AU) passport was on Sunday launched at the opening ceremony of the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
The AU Commission’s Chairperson, Dr Dlamini Zuma, presented the passport to the Chair of the union, President Idriss Deby of Chad and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
Dr. Zuma, in her address, said the passport was a landmark achievement of the commission and was intended to help with regional integration of people of the continent.
An optimistic espoused confidence in the AU’s ability to achieve its aim of a better Africa.
“We see hope in the resilience of our people and the strides of countries towards eradicating poverty and transforming our economies.
“We have hope, because the continent’s political and business leadership are preparing to act to make African industrialisation a reality in our lifetime, so that our people benefit from their natural and mineral resources.”
Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo has also said the issuance of an African passport was one of the African strategic initiatives to disband all movement restrictions, which will eventually create a conducive environment for inter-African trade.
“Rwanda is ready for the AU Passport issuance. Other countries will also be working towards implementation of this decision. The free movement of people in Africa will spur our economic growth,” she said during a press conference Ihursday on the sidelines of the African Union Summit at the Kigali Convention Center (KCC), in Rwanda.
The concept of unrestricted movement of persons, goods and services across regions and the continent is not new; it has been outlined in documents like the Lagos Plan of Action and the Abuja Treaty – an indication that the unhampered movement of citizens is critical for Africa’s development.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana