|The Ethiopian leader reaffirmed his commitment to the interconnected visions of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance after reminding everyone of the continent’s struggles during the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Abiy welcomed everyone on Saturday to the 35th ordinary session of the African Union (AU) Assembly. His remarks articulated an ambitious vision of comprehensively supporting African interests. The Ethiopian leader reaffirmed his commitment to the interconnected visions of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance after reminding everyone of the continent’s struggles during the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. These crucially included vaccine inequality, arbitrary restrictions against certain countries, and disinformation.
Everything that he shared in his speech revolves in one way or another around fulfilling the Agenda 2063 vision that was agreed to in 2013. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the AU website describes this as “Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future. It is the continent’s strategic framework that aims to deliver on its goal for inclusive and sustainable development and is a concrete manifestation of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.”
PM Abiy informed everyone that this year’s theme is nutrition and food security, which is especially pertinent considering that food insecurity across Africa rose by a whopping 60% over the past year due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate-related natural disasters. Since Africa has 60% of the world’s arable land, it’s therefore fitting for its dozens of countries to prioritize this theme not only over the coming year, but forever going forward. Ethiopia can lead the way after substantially improving agricultural production over the past two years through PM Abiy’s irrigation projects.
Deforestation must also be countered, and it’s here where Ethiopia can once again set a positive example for its African peers. PM Abiy proudly announced that his Green Legacy Initiative of planting 20 billion trees across a four-year period will be surpassed by the end of the year with a total of 25 billion trees. He suggested that Ethiopia could share its experiences with others in order to spread the Green Legacy Initiative across the entire continent.
Equally important for PM Abiy is that Africa is finally afforded the international representation that it deserves and can have its voice heard loud and clear by everyone. In particular, he proposed that the continent be granted no less than two permanent seats at the UN Security Council (UNSC) and five non-permanent ones in order to no longer be that global body’s junior partner as he described it. Africa must also be represented better in the media, to which end he proposed the AU Continental Media House.
This will “provide authoritative news and information on our continent, fight disinformation, promote our collective agenda and offer opportunities for Pan African voices to be heard.” Ethiopia, after all, knows just how important this is after being victimized by fake news and other forms of external meddling over the past year. Thankfully, African countries stood in solidarity with Ethiopia and helped it repel these Hybrid War aggressions.
PM Abiy even proclaimed that “The greatest lesson that Ethiopia learned over the past year is that without the solidarity of our African brothers and sisters, our existence as a nation would have been at great risk.” This shows how appreciative he and his people are of their African peers. On the topic of peace, the Ethiopian leader informed everyone of the efforts that his government has undertaken to resolve its current conflict. This importantly counteracted false claims about its actions and intentions.
Overall, PM Abiy’s remarks at the 35th ordinary session of the AU Assembly were impressive. He displayed his keen insight into continental matters and shared his ambitious vision for bringing about Africa’s shared prosperity across the coming decades. In this sense, he personally embodies Ethiopia’s historical role as the cradle of Pan-Africanism. All Africans and other peace-loving people across the world should be very proud of him and wish him nothing but success in his noble endeavors.