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Your Excellency, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Dr. Angela Merkel;

Your Excellency, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn;

Permanent Representatives of AU Member States;

Members of the Diplomatic Community present;

Fellow AU Commissioners;

Regional Economic Community Liaison Officers;

Staff of the Commission;

Distinguished guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

 

Good morning. On behalf of the African Union Commission and on my own behalf, a warm welcome to Chancellor Angela Merkel to the Headquarters of the African Union. This is the second such visit of the Chancellor to Addis Ababa, and we are pleased to have her back, at this inauguration of the Julius Nyerere Peace and Security Building.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

We all have difficult histories, we all make mistakes, but it is the ability to learn from our mistakes that is important.  Germany, despite its tragic history, has managed to reconstruct itself from the ashes of war into a leading industrial power in the world.  As we start to implement Agenda 2063, our vision and plan for African reconstruction, we can learn from this example.

Germany has also learnt from its history to make tolerance and peace education a central part of the socialisation of current and new generations.  It is therefore not surprising that it has been a beacon in Europe for its reception and openness towards migrants and refugees.

The current waves of migration in the world is a matter of mutual and ongoing concern.  Contrary to popular belief, only one in ten of the migrants that entered Europe in 2015 were African. Across the world, around 250 million people currently live outside the countries of their birth. Africans make up less than 9% of this total, and for a population of just over a billion people, this is less than 0.9% of the African population. It is also a fact that most of the migration in Africa takes place within the continent. It is also a fact that between 1846 and 1940 alone, 50 million Europeans moved to the Americas[1].

As we therefore continue this global conversation, and the conversation between Africa and Europe on migration, we must accept that migration is part of the human condition, it happened throughout the ages, and has never been a one directional movement.

Chancellor Merkel,

The donation of the Julius Nyerere Peace and Security Building is a visible token of the spirit of solidarity and cooperation between Germany and the African Union. In typical German fashion, the building has state of the art technology and environmentally features, and in its construction, Ethiopian labour and local materials were used.

This beautiful addition to the AU Headquarters will surely be a conducive setting to take forward efforts on development and peacebuilding, as we intensify efforts to silence the guns. The Assembly of our Heads of State and Government also decided to name the building after one of the foremost Pan Africanists and peace-builders, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

The AU / German partnership has grown from strength to strength. We work together within the context of the African peace and Security Architecture on such issues as our Border programme, the Continental Early Warning System; AU led peace support operations; on women and children in situations of armed conflicts; as well as the Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) Projects.

Moreover on the development and reconstruction front, in the context of Agenda 2063 our cooperation and bilateral cooperation with African Member states also extend to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the African Risk Capacity agency, infrastructure development, the Pan African University and the agricultural technical vocational education and training (TVET) conducted in more than 10 AU Member States, with a special focus on women.

More recently, as part of providing African young people with alternatives to the dangerous journeys across the Sahara desert and Mediterranean seas, we are working together on the Africa-German Youth Initiative and the new Skills Initiative for Africa. 

We have agreed and need to give concrete expression to the initiatives to attract more German foreign direct investments to the continent, in a range of different sectors, in the context of Africa’s industrialisation drive.

Chancellor Merkel,

We are particularly pleased to inaugurate the Julius Nyerere Peace and Security building, in the African year of Human rights with particular focus on women, as you are one of the global role models of women in leadership.

Your commitment to finding peaceful solutions, your humility, your keenness to consult and hear from women, your commitment to ensure that development remains on the global agenda, and not shying away from taking tough decisions (even when it may be unpopular), is an example for women and girls everywhere.

It is therefore my distinct honour to convey our heartfelt thanks to the Government and People of the Federal Republic of Germany for this donation, and to call on Your Excellency, Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany to address this august event.

 

Posted by Kodjo Tchioffo

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