Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) present at the 10th African Development Week holding in Dakar, Senegal have expressed their shock at the failure of the countries present to resolve the impasse between Morocco and Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic over the later’s participation at the AU-ECA finance, Economic and National Planning meeting.

The civil society organisations said that “the governments of African nations in allowing a political dispute to disrupt proceedings at the technical sessions of the development week have again failed the continent and its people”

Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba, Country Director of ActionAid Senegal said that “it is unfortunate that at this critical stage of our development when the continent is desperately in need of strategic use of all spaces available to discuss its challenges and agree on the path out of its many crises, a space as strategic as the African Development Week had been wasted on issues unrelated to developmental concerns on the continent”

The Pan-African Director of Oxfam International, Apollos Nwafor also expressed dismay that “in spite of the urgent need to address the issues of inequality, unemployment and poverty that plague the continent, the leaders of Africa have again filtered away valuable and hard to get resources – tax payers’ money from their different nations on a political issue that has no direct impact on the lives of their citizens”.

“We are distraught that once again Africa has been failed, that African governments have refused to acknowledge the fact that the rest of the world owes them nothing, that the fate of their citizens is dependent on their ability to manage their own affairs, take responsible decisions and act in the interest of the continent. Again, African leaders failed at this meeting to take hard decisions and instead pandered to international politics on an African issue” said Chris Kaka, Programme Coordinator of Trade Network Initiative.

“As stated by  Guinea, South African, Zimbabwe,  Nigerian and Algeria representatives, Africa’s development should have prevailed at this conference. What has happened at the experts meeting of the 2017 Africa Development Week was a suppression of that priority for the sake of selfish postures of some nations present. Once again, the governments of Africa have failed the youth of the continent who would have benefitted from progressive recommendations and decisions on growth, inequality, and unemployment had this conference not been terminated in the unfortunate way it happened”, said –Rokhaya Dieye- of Senegal Lead.

The civil society organisations demand that “the African governments should urgently put in place a framework that guides its meetings, deliberations and decision-making process on issues that are in the best interest of the continent.

They further demand that “the African Union should be able to enforce its collective decisions, especially where such are efforts at finding solutions to the continent’s problems”.

The CSO representatives also insisted that the African Union owes the people of Africa the responsibility of ensuring that the conference of ministers hold before the heads of government meeting in July this year. “The conference of ministers must hold before the AU Summit. The people of Africa are owed the obligation of the experts charting the routes out of the challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment as was originally planned before the unfortunate abortion of this conference”, they concluded.

By Ijeoma Nwachukwu