By Staff Reporter

“Trade agreements can promote integrated economies and reduce conflicts,” Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Ms. Hanan Morsy said at the opening of the Inaugural African Union Policy Conference on Promoting the Peace, Security, and Development Nexus, which is being held from 25 to 27 October in Tangier, Kingdom of Morocco.

Convened by the African Union Commission, the Policy Conference is billed by its co-organizers – the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) – “as a historic moment where the synergies between development, regional integration, peace and security are being discussed in one room”.

Ms. Morsy revealed the findings of the ECA-commissioned study on “Realizing the Triple Nexus and Trade: Towards A New Agenda for Africa,” which demonstrates that trade is relevant in countering fragility and promoting effective transitions from war to peace.

 “In this context the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is critical,” the Deputy Executive Secretary said.

She said ECA’s analysis has provided the basis for informing the content, resource requirements and sequencing of corrective measures needed in conflict zones and disaster areas which, she hoped, would be discussed at AU Policy Conference over the next few days.

In his opening address, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Expatriates, Mr. Nasser Bourita, underscored the different strategies to secure peace across the continent as a necessary condition for development.

In a pre-recorded message, Ms. Amina Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, urged participants reflect on practical measures to implement the development, humanitarian, peace-building nexus to deliver peace, security, and sustainable development everywhere in Africa.

“That includes strengthening joint conflict analysis, enhancing conflict prevention mechanisms, ensuring the meaningful participation of women in peace processes, and implementing joint initiatives to support humanitarian and political dialogue and development programmes,” she added.

In a speech read on behalf the president of the African Development Bank Group, Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB Vice-President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer, Ms. Hassatou N’SELE stressed the need to mobilize scalable and flexible resources to address the root causes of insecurity, enhance the capacities of states, rebuild trust within communities, and rehabilitate infrastructure that is adversely impacted by insecurity.

African Union Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals, Mr. Albert Muchanga highlighted the critical role of economic integration in supporting Africa’s peace and security efforts.

Echoing the same sentiments, UNDP’s Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa also emphasized that regional integration plays a critical role as a driver for mobility, employment and social cohesion, particularly in cross-border areas.

The AU Policy Conference convened by the African Union Commission in partnership with the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) of ECA, AfDB, UNDP and Afreximbank brings together over 300 representatives from the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), governments, development partners, defense and finance, African academic and research institutions, non-governmental organizations, private sector players from around Africa for three days of in-person meeting in Tangier, Kingdom of Morocco under the theme “Promoting the Peace, Security, and Development Nexus: The Promise of Regional Integration”.