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President Cyril Ramaphosa: Closing statement at 14th Extraordinary Session on Silencing the Guns

6 Dec 2020

Closing statement by African Union Chairperson President Ramaphosa at the 14th Extraordinary Session on Silencing the Guns

Your Majesties,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellency, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
Honourable Ministers,
Commissioners of the African Union, 
Representatives of Regional Economic Communities,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we bring the 14th session of this Extraordinary Summit on Silencing the Guns to an end, allow me to thank all of you for your participation.

The contributions at this summit have served to reaffirm the commitment of the current leadership of the continent to the moral and political duty given to us by our forebears to achieve an Africa free of conflict. 

This summit has been able to answer some critical questions on the actions we must now take to advance this responsibility. 

The AU Master Roadmap on Practical Steps to Silence the Guns clearly outlines the outcomes we seek to achieve as a continent. 

It is therefore appropriate that we reiterate our commitment to extend the Master Roadmap for the next ten years, while we also continue to declare September of each year as Africa Amnesty Month. 

We have welcomed with appreciation and adopted the report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission. 

We will use its recommendations as the foundation of our mission to silence the guns.   

It is of great concern to all of us that incidents of conflicts are intensifying and spreading to all regions of the continent. 

Conflict, political instability and insecurity continue to be major threats to the realisation of the ‘Africa We Want’.

The proliferation of small arms and light weapons and illicit financial flows are among the factors contributing to both traditional and non-traditional threats to states and human security on our continent. 

As conflicts escalate, they leave behind a sad trail of displacement and humanitarian crisis. 

Violent conflict invites undesirable and opportunistic intervention from outside the continent. 

This undermines the sovereignty of African states and serves to advance the interests of others at the expense of Africans.  
Inspired by the vision of Agenda 2063, we need to redouble our efforts and act in unity of purpose and determination to overcome the root causes of conflict on our continent. 

Countries of the continent need to work together, as a collective, if we are to make any meaningful progress towards the creation of the Africa we want. 

Our deliberations today underscored the need to capacitate our institutions.

In particular, we need to improve the implementation and coordination of the African Peace and Security Architecture and the African Governance Architecture for quick and adequate responses to conflict and instability. 

To build lasting peace, we need to create inclusive multi-sectoral programmes that address the economic, social and environmental causes of conflict, along with their racial, ethnic, gender and spatial dimensions. 

This is why we must, among other things, work to address the emerging threat of food insecurity on the continent, which has been worsened by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Most importantly, we have underscored the nexus between peace, human security and development.

We have highlighted the tragic paradox of a rich Africa inhabited by poor Africans.

Africa has the youngest population in the world. 

But our young people are held back by violence and conflict, by poverty and lack of opportunities to use their talents and ingenuity. 

Unless we harness their potential, they may become increasingly susceptible to recruitment into armed conflict and terrorism. 

Women are also held back by violence and conflict. 

We need to advance regional and global efforts to transform the conditions that women and girls experience in conflict as central to the agenda of silencing the guns. 

Protecting women’s right to safety in conflict and non-conflict situations is fundamental to wider sustainable human development in areas afflicted by conflict.

The coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area in January 2021 is both an opportunity and a compelling reason to silence the guns.

Greater intra-African trade and industrialisation will contribute to peace, just as peace will contribute to greater economic development.    

In conclusion, I wish to call upon all of you to support, through implementation in your respective countries, the decisions and the declaration that have just been adopted by this summit to ensure that we fulfil our objective of silencing the guns in Africa. 

Accordingly, we have heard what we need to do to eliminate conflicts on the continent. We have seen what we need to do. Now it is the time to translate our words into action. 

Working in unity and with collective determination, I have no doubt that we will end all conflict on our continent and the African cause shall triumph. 

I wish to express our gratitude to the Chairperson of the Commission, all the Commissioners and the Secretariat for organising this significant summit. 

We also thank the interpreters and the technical support team for the job well done.  

Once again, thank you all for your contributions and your commitment to work practically to build the Africa we want.

This 14th Session of the Extraordinary Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union on Silencing the Guns is officially closed.

I thank you.

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