In the name of God the Merciful

The African Heads of State and Government,

Ladies and gentlemen.

At the outset, I am pleased to welcome all of you to the second session of the Aswan Forum on Sustainable Peace and Development, the interactive African platform that we launched together during Egypt's presidency of the African Union in 2019 to advance an ambitious agenda that will strengthen the relationship between stability and stability.

the state of peace and security, the achievement of sustainable development on our continent and the strengthening of cooperation among our States and with our partners.

The exceptional circumstances imposed by the Corona pandemic have prevented us from meeting again face to face in a city. Last year, however, Egypt was keen to hold the second session of the Forum in a virtual manner to build on the momentum and successes of the first session. It believed that it was the best time to examine together the enormous challenges facing our continent and to discuss and explore the best ways and mechanisms to support our common efforts to recover from the pandemic and to rebuild better to cross our continent from that crisis.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Over the past year, we have demonstrated that the challenges posed by the pandemic and their consequences will not discourage us from advancing our African agenda, but rather increase our determination to move ahead with our plans and to rebuild better in order to achieve the goals of the African Union's agenda of 2063.

The entry into force of the Continental Free Trade Agreement earlier this year is a good example of the success of our collective efforts.

I reiterate Egypt's full support for them and the need to expedite the implementation of their entitlements, to complete the negotiation stages and to activate their policies.

Infrastructure projects are also an essential pillar of Africa's development and recovery efforts. We now need ambitious projects such as transport, roads and cross-border electricity to promote economic integration and regional integration, as well as to create an environment conducive to higher levels of growth and job creation that will help overcome the economic consequences of the pandemic. Egypt's pioneering experience in infrastructure projects is an example that we are happy to share with our brothers.

I would also like to highlight the importance of information technology in dealing with the consequences of the pandemic and its pivotal role in all aspects of our lives during this period, which underlines the need to increase investments in digital transformation in our continent, thereby making greater use of the opportunities offered by this technology in various fields.

 

Comprehensive recovery from the pandemic also requires the development of sustainable development policies that include the economic, social and environmental dimensions. The pandemic has shown that the risks and challenges facing our societies and nations overlap and overlap. I am confident that the discussions of the Forum will provide an opportunity to exchange experiences and views on how to develop such policies.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Unlike the heavy burdens on our States caused by the corona " pandemic, Africa continues to suffer from the dangers of armed conflicts and civil wars that threaten the sustainability of security on the continent.

The pandemic, with its enormous economic and social consequences, has exacerbated these threats. This requires the consolidation of efforts to strengthen African frameworks and mechanisms for the prevention and settlement of conflicts and strengthen the capacity of African States to deal with existing threats and risks.

In this context, I would like to emphasize the importance of choosing "Arts, Culture and Heritage" as the theme of the African Union for the year 2021, as the soft power in the rapprochement of peoples, so as to help deal with the challenges with an informed thought that is conducive to the culture and civilization of our African States and promotes peace, security and development on our great continent.

 

Achieving sustainable peace requires that States emerging from conflict be immune to setbacks by building the resilience of their institutions, enabling them to carry out their mandated tasks and advancing development.

The African Union's Centre for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development in Egypt is active in formulating development plans and programmes, in coordination with each country concerned, in accordance with its national conditions and priorities and in considering the best mechanisms and ways to implement them on the ground. Egypt's chairmanship of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission also opens the door to strengthening cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations in this regard.

The African Heads of State and Government,

Ladies and gentlemen,

In those exceptional circumstances that our world is experiencing today in the face of a pandemic. In spite of our regional and international efforts to deal with the pandemic, the current phase has brought new challenges, first and foremost, the provision of the necessary vaccine to our peoples. On this occasion, I should like to emphasize the African demand that it be provided in a more equitable and just manner in response to the demands of the peoples of our continent.

Gentlemen in attendance,

I conclude with the hope of an actual meeting soon after we have turned the page on the epidemic to allow the next session of the Forum to be held face-to-face in Aswan, the land of civilization and history.

Thanks for listening.

And peace for you and God's mercy and blessings.

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