The African Union and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) must work in coherence and synergy to achieve the successful integration of the Continent, minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Mr. Nasser Bourita, said on January 4, 2021.
Speaking through video-conference at the 38th ordinary session of the AU Executive Council, MFA Bourita underlined that the achievement of the African Economic Community (AEC), which was a goal for the founding fathers of the AU since 1963, should be facilitated by the establishment of the eight RECs.
The Kingdom of Morocco welcomes the holding of the 2nd annual coordination meeting between the AU, the RECs, the Regional Mechanisms (RMs) and the Member States, with the aim of removing any difficulties related to cooperation between the AU and the 8 RECs, he added.
The 1991 Abuja Treaty for the establishment of the AEC, as well as the 2063 agenda which outlines the main continental objectives, including the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area, traces the roadmap for the achievement of the AEC, said MFA Bourita, regretting the shortcomings both in the coordination between the AU and the RECs and in the African integration process noted in the 2020 report on regional integration.
In this regard, Bourita underlined that the 8 RECs recognized by the AU should remain the essential pillars for the realization of the AEC and that the distribution of work between the AU, the RECs, the MR, and Member States and its implementation must be carried out within the framework of AU reform.
The objective must remain to ensure efficiency and optimization of resources by avoiding the overlap of mandates, insisted the Moroccan official, noting that the RECs as well as the AU retain their respective legal statutes and the distribution of work must be done on a voluntary collaborative basis in accordance with the protocol on AU-RECs relations.
As the core and pillar of continental integration, the RECs must be strengthened, while providing the necessary support to the RECs which are lagging behind in the integration process, said MFA Bourita, adding that a balanced performance of the 8 RECs will allow the acceleration of a harmonious integration of the continent.
The RECs constituting the tripartite free trade zone will easily integrate into the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is a decisive step in favor of the achievement of the AEC, stressed the Minister, noting that the holding of the 13th extraordinary summit on the AfCFTA contributed into giving the necessary impetus to the effective realization of the zone, which on January 1, 2021, came into force.
The Kingdom of Morocco welcomes this achievement and the adoption of the Johannesburg declaration adopted at the said summit, he said.
Finally, if the coronavirus pandemic is able to slow down regional integration in Africa and within the RECs, it is up to us to work together to build African solidarity against Covid-19 as a lever for regional integration, MFA Bourita concluded.