The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, undertook a three-day working visit to Algeria. On arrival, he was welcomed by the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E Abdelkader Messahel. He then went to the Sanctuary of the Martyrs, for a wreath laying and remembrance ceremony.
The delegation of the Chairperson of the Commission included the CEO of the NEPAD Agency, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki; Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smaïl Chergui; Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, and; the High Representative of the African Union for Mali and the Sahel, Mr Pierre Buyoya.
During his visit, the Chairperson of the Commission met senior Algerian officials to discuss a number of continental priorities. Discussions included economic integration, following the recent decisions of the Addis Ababa Summit of January 2018 on the African Continental Free Trade Area, which is scheduled to be signed in Rwanda next week, the Single African Air Transport Market and the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport. The African Union institutional reform and the promotion of peace and security, including the fight against terrorism, were also discussed.
The Chairperson of the Commission also visited African Union institutions based in Algeria as well as the Pan-African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences.
During the visit, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission reiterated the AU’s appreciation to the Algerian authorities, in particular President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, for their constant and strong commitment to the causes of the continent. He emphasised the importance of continuing and strengthening this commitment in the current phase of deepening integration and intensifying peace efforts, to achieve the goal of an Africa free from conflict by 2020.
H.E Mahamat urged Algeria to join the Single Market on Air Transport launched at the Summit in January 2018, to which 24 Member States are already parties. The Single Market will increase air links between African countries and reduce their costs, thereby promoting trade, investment and tourism. Its materialisation will strengthen African companies and put them in a better position to face the competition of non-African air operators.
The significant progress made in the implementation of regional infrastructure projects under the NEPAD Agency was noted, including the Trans-Sahara highway linking Algiers to Lagos, Nigeria, with a total of 4,500 kilometres of which 225 kilometers in Niger remain to be paved. Nonetheless, the financing of this section has just been completed, and the fiber optic link (4,500 kilometers) between Algeria, Niger, Nigeria and Chad, of which 2,700 kilometers in Algerian territory have been completed.
The Chairperson expressed appreciation of the African Union to Algeria for its commitment to these and other projects, which aim to create a development corridor, by opening up the sub-region and promote trade.