MIDRAND, SOUTH AFRICA– The Second Ordinary Session of the Sixth Pan-African Parliament commenced on Monday, 15 May in Midrand, South Africa under the theme, “Accelerating the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA). At the occasion, President of the Union of Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union, H.E Azali Assoumani delivered the Keynote Address, urging for a more united Africa that will prosper and develop commercially, whilst enjoying peace and stability. “Africa has to be at the heart of economic development as we have the resources. We must produce and consume our own resources’ said President Assoumani. Reiterating on the theme, the AU Chairperson implored on the acceleration of the AFCFTA, calling on challenges to be identified and addressed in order to develop a market which he says, could mitigate unemployment and terrorism on the continent.
In his Opening Address, H.E Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira, President of the Pan-African Parliament called on Members to vigorously pursue the theme of the Parliamentary session currently underway, further highlighting a number of issues of focus, chief amongst them, youth unemployment, infrastructure development, peace and security on the continent as well as food security.
In between Bureau meetings, swearing in of new Members, regional caucus meetings, presentations and reports, two significant engagements are expected to take place during this session; the Pan African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Policy and Equity and the Seminar on the African Union Theme of the year 2023. The Summit seeks to galvanise stakeholders capable of promoting and broadening support for pro poor implementation and overall climate action. Speaking during the opening ceremony, South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Hon. Candith Mashego-Dhlamini noted that climate change has resulted in the loss of lives and livelihoods, particularly for women, and it was necessary that the issue be elevated to a platform that best represents the people of Africa. The Seminar on the theme will focus on the unbundling of the AFCTA and the strategies that will be put by the legislative arm of the African Union to accelerate the landmark realization of the free trade agreement for Africa.
An Organ of the African Union, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) was established in 2004 with the aim to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the economic development and integration of the continent. The PAP is intended as a platform for people from all African states to be involved in discussions and decision making on the problems and challenges facing the continent. The Parliament sits in Midrand, South Africa. The three week session will conclude on the 2nd of June 2023.
The Namibian Parliament is represented by five MPs, namely Hon. McHenry Venaani, Hon. Gerhard Shiimi, Hon. Bernadus Swartbooi, Hon. Hamunyera Hambyuka and leader of the delegation, Hon. Loide Kasingo.