15th African Union Summit Kicks off in Kampala Uganda

in the aftermath of the twin bombings a week ago by Al-Shabab a Somali terrorist group with links to Al-qaida

Naturally all eyes will be on Uganda to see how they pull this off and I can imagine there will be a nervousness amongst in the delegates as to their security. Will they be a seating target just like the poor folk who were watching the world cup finals? This is unlikely!

This makes me sad, as the venues chosen for the Summit as some of the best East Africa has to offer right on the shores of Lake Victoria, and people should be able to enjoy this, but chances are security will be so tight and everyone will be so guarded and unable to relax. I could be wrong, who knows?

Lake Victoria- Uganda photo by Ron Miller

The theme for this year is “Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa.”  Development in Africa is an apt choice for a theme  for an AU Summit as without it many women will continue to die in child birth and levels of child mortality will continue to rise.

Issues for Development in Africa

In dealing with development in any part of the world I think it is key to identify key areas that must be addressed and I would include the following areas

  1. access to decent health care
  2. education
  3. infrastructure
  4. skilled labour
  5. working capital
  6. employment/job creation
  7. access to markets
  8. food security
  9. good governance
  10. good policies
  11. security
  12. enterprise

The question then arises which amongst that list are in Africa’s gift/power to resolve? My answer is frankly all of them!

Africa is not a poor continent by any stretch of imagination and a degree of commitment and joint working would resolve some of those issues, indeed some of the African countries are ready doing well in those areas and the question remains as to why the rest cannot follow.

Development is a complex issue but not an impossible one and something such as effective Income Tax Collection could make a big difference as it would enable the government to provide social services assuming that they had the commitment to do so. The development issues mentioned above are interlinked and in order to improve life for the day day folk on the ground they all must be addressed.

A few question as far as the AU is concerned

  1. does the AU have the clout to effect development in Africa in any meaningful way?
  2. Why have they failed to work together on issues that would improve security and neighbour relations within Africa?
  3. Would other African countries back Uganda and Burundi in the peace keeping mission in Somalia following the bombings in Uganda last Sunday and why were not doing so already?

Will the AU like the G8/G20 become a talking shop? I suppose it is safe to say only time will tell!

Have you got a view on the AU or issues of development? Please share it

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