The first conference of foreign ministers of the African Political Alliance (APA), an informal framework for enhanced cooperation, was held on 03 May 2023 in Lomé, in the Togolese Republic.
The opening ceremony and the proceedings of the ministerial conference were chaired respectively by H.E. Mrs Victoire TOMEGAH-DOGBE, Prime Minister of the Togolese Republic, and H.E. Prof. Robert DUSSEY, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and Togolese Abroad.
The conference was attended by foreign ministers and heads of delegation from the following countries: the Republic of Angola, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, the Gabonese Republic, the Republic of Guinea, the State of Libya, the Republic of Mali, the Republic of Namibia, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Togolese Republic.
In her opening speech, H.E. Mrs Victoire TOMEGAH-DOGBE recalled the current challenges facing the continent, which led Togo to launch the idea of the African Political Alliance (APA).
On behalf of H.E.M. Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE, President of the Togolese Republic, the Prime Minister congratulated the participants on their support for this Togolese initiative, which responds to the geopolitical and diplomatic need for Africa to qualitatively and significantly review its relations with the rest of the world in order to be better represented in multilateral institutions for collective action and in global governance. The challenges are great, and call for thinking outside the box in a global geopolitical context that requires each continent to adapt more quickly to changes in the world.
The ministers welcomed Togo’s initiative to launch the African Political Alliance, which will make it possible to go beyond the usual existing frameworks for cooperation and bring together African nations that are convinced of the ideals of pan-Africanism and determined to work for an Africa that is free of complexes, politically strong, non-aligned, independent and acting sovereignly on the international stage.
The ministers welcomed the holding of the first ministerial conference of the African Political Alliance, which provided them with an opportunity to discuss the current issues and challenges facing Africa in a world undergoing major transformation and reshaping, where the continent intends to assert itself as a pole of power and a major player on the international stage.
During their discussions, the ministers exchanged views on the challenges and prospects relating to Africa’s strategic positioning, sovereignty and the expression of common positions on the international stage, examined the current issues and challenges of pan-Africanism and the African renaissance, the challenges of strengthening cooperation and endogenous capacities to fight terrorism, as well as the main areas of cooperation and the institutional contours of the African Political Alliance.
Examination of the various issues on the agenda of the first ministerial conference led to the following conclusions:
STRATEGIC POSITIONING, SOVEREIGNTY AND THE EXPRESSION OF AFRICA’S COMMON POSITIONS ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
The ministers deplored Africa’s under-representation in the multilateral institutions of global governance, starting with the United Nations, and stressed that it is unacceptable today for Africa, which alone accounts for almost 28% of the member states of the United Nations, not to have a permanent representative with veto rights on the Security Council.
The ministers welcomed the various African initiatives to reform multilateral institutions and improve global governance and recalled the “Ezulwini Consensus” and the “Sirte Declaration” reaffirmed on several occasions concerning the common African position on the reform of the Security Council calling for Africa to be allocated two (2) seats as a permanent member with all privileges, including the right of veto, as well as five (5) seats as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.
The ministers regretted the lack of progress in the reform dynamic within the UN institution, particularly at the level of the Security Council, and invited the five permanent members to play their part in advancing the reform process.
The Ministers noted that, in the face of current challenges, concerted and collectively constructed solutions are needed that reflect the reality of a world that has changed profoundly, in accordance with the right of peoples to be equitably represented in global governance.
The ministers stressed the need for Africa to establish itself as an independent, sovereign political force, politically self-determining and acting in complete freedom on the international stage. They welcomed the ambition of the African Union from its inception to work towards the advent of an “integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, led by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force on the international scene” and affirmed their attachment to the principle of non-alignment laid down in 1963 by the defunct Organisation of African Unity (OAU) as one of the essential principles that should structure the relationship of the newly independent African countries with the rest of the world.
The ministers also stressed the need for Africa to emancipate itself from all foreign tutelage, whatever it may be and wherever it may come from, and to work to protect itself from external influences and interference, which are sometimes factors in crises and instability on the continent.
The ministers noted the various levers available to Africa and its countries that can be mobilised to help the continent exercise its sovereignty as effectively as possible on the international stage. In particular, they identified the continent’s economic potential as a tool for asserting its sovereignty on the international stage.
The ministers also noted the need for African nations to reconcile, in the interests of the continent and of all, their national imperatives and the need to hold common positions on the international stage. They reaffirmed their commitment to common African positions and the principle of unity of action in order to respond to the need to speak with one voice and act collectively to promote common African interests on the international stage.
ON THE CURRENT ISSUES AND CHALLENGES FACING PAN-AFRICANISM AND THE AFRICAN RENAISSANCE
Ministers recalled the historical conditions of the emergence of pan-Africanism and the decisive role played by the movement in the process of emancipation of the continent and the majority of African nations achieving independence in the second half of the 20th century.
The ministers welcomed the current revival of interest in pan-Africanism in Africa and within the African diasporas. They noted the catalytic role that the African diasporas had played within the framework of pan-Africanism for the dignity of the peoples of Africa and stressed that they remained convinced that pan-Africanism remained the preferred framework for consolidating links and unity of action between the continent and its diasporas.
The ministers noted that the whole point of pan-Africanism in Africa today lies in the renewed awareness that it is only by being united that the continent can truly take part in global governance.
The ministers affirmed their conviction, in the current context where Africa is struggling to make its voice heard on the world stage, that the African renaissance is only possible within the framework of a renewed pan-Africanism adapted to the issues and challenges of the present time.
The ministers emphasised that the present time must be one of breakthroughs, and noted that the African renaissance requires ideological, epistemological, intellectual and cultural emancipation of Africa from foreign domination in terms of symbolic, political and economic representation.
The ministers recognised the vital role of universities, research and innovation institutions, intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora, young people, artists, film-makers, the media and other civil society players in the essential march towards African renaissance. They noted the strategic need to develop new African narratives on Africa to replace foreign narratives and stereotypes.
The ministers also noted the need for emancipation and development as the main thread running through the pan-Africanist movements being expressed on the continent and within the African diasporas, and called for vigilance to prevent the positive momentum underway from being hijacked by external actors to the detriment of the continent.
The ministers stressed the need to move towards synergy of action among pan-Africanists and welcomed the plan for Togo, in collaboration with the African Union, to organise the 9th Pan-African Congress in Lomé in 2024, on the theme “Renewal of pan-Africanism and Africa’s role in the reform of multilateral institutions: mobilising resources and reinventing ourselves to act”.
The ministers examined the current and future political challenges of pan-Africanism and noted that the political unity of the continent remains the inevitable future political horizon for Africa in a historical context where the dynamic is towards major regional or continental groupings.
WITH REGARD TO STRENGTHENING COOPERATION AND ENDOGENOUS CAPACITIES TO RESPOND TO TERRORISM IN ORDER TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF PEACE AND SECURITY
Ministers noted with concern the expansion of the terrorist threat and the deterioration of the security situation in the various regions of the continent, particularly in the Sahel, West Africa, the Lake Chad Basin and the Horn of Africa region. They strongly condemned the repeated attacks by armed terrorist groups in Mali and Burkina Faso, as well as their incursions into the northern part of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo.
The ministers gave their full support to the countries facing terrorist attacks and stressed that foreign military intervention in the fight against terrorism will not help to stem the scourge of terrorism and guarantee collective security and stability on the continent without efforts to cooperate and take joint action with a view to the endogenous exercise of Africa’s own responsibilities. They stressed that a sovereign Africa cannot leave its security in the hands of foreign armies.
The ministers agreed on the need for African nations to strengthen their ties of solidarity and cooperation in the fight against armed terrorist and/or non-state groups. They noted the need to pool financial, technical, logistical and human resources in regional and African responses to terrorism.
The ministers also agreed on the need for African nations to explore endogenous ways of financing the fight against terrorism. They also welcomed the positive momentum generated by the AU, which led to the signing on 02 November 2022 in Pretoria, South Africa, of a peace agreement that put an end to the war in Ethiopia.
The ministers expressed their deep concern at the deteriorating political and security situation in Sudan, marked since 15 April by clashes between the army and paramilitary forces. They welcomed the mediation efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union and the international community, and called on the two warring parties to cease these hostilities, which are distracting the country from real battles such as development.
ON THE AFRICAN POLITICAL ALLIANCE, ITS MAIN AREAS OF COOPERATION AND INSTITUTIONAL OUTLINES
The ministers agreed on the relevance of moving towards the formalisation of the African Political Alliance, which will periodically serve their countries as a framework for consultation, political dialogue and joint action based on the historical ties of fraternity and the principles of sovereign equality of States, independence, interdependence and unity of action.
The ministers decided to set up a High-Level Committee chaired by Togo to work on the founding reference texts, the main areas of cooperation and the institutional outlines of the African Political Alliance.
The High-Level Committee, made up of Mali, Namibia, the Central African Republic, Tanzania, Gabon, Libya and Togo, is required to finalise, within a period of six (06) months, the draft founding reference documents, the main areas of cooperation and the institutional outlines of the African Political Alliance.
DATE AND VENUE OF THE NEXT CONFERENCE
Ministers have decided to hold the next Ministerial Conference of the African Political Alliance on a date to be confirmed at a later date in the Republic of Togo.
Done in Lomé, 3 May 2023.