28 May 2019, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; This was the sentiment at the 16th Meeting of its Board of Directors for the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), a special initiative of the African Union (AU), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The meeting closely followed a Stakeholder Dialogue on Continental Trade and Strengthening Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which was co-organised by the African Union Commission and CoDA. This 16th meeting of the Board also saw the addition of new members of the Board – Dr Abdalla Hamdok, former Deputy Executive Secretary of the ECA, Dr Rolf Jeker, President of the AO Alliance Foundation and Hon. Thoko Didiza (in absentia), Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development for the Republic of South Africa.
H.E. Obasanjo, Chair of the CoDA Board of Directors led the meeting by commending the renewed vigour of CoDA in its ongoing efforts. He ascribed this advancement to the efforts of the Executive Director of the Secretariat, Mrs. Souad Aden-Osman and her staff. The Chair went on to praise the secretariat for its successful delivery of the just concluded Stakeholder Dialogue. He further indicated the need for CoDA to continually support the AUC in its work on the AfCFTA. In this regard, it was agreed by the board that the organization of the next Stakeholder Dialogue by CoDA should focus on a congregation of African Chambers of Commerce representatives. In addition to this, the dialogue is to be jointly organized by the AU, CoDA, African Export and Import Bank (AFREXIM Bank), Trade and Development Bank (TDB) and other willing stakeholders.
The Members of the CoDA Board also committed further support to the advancement of this agenda by agreeing to work to mobilize governments in their respective sub-regions to support the establishment and/or reinforcement of national level committees on the AfCFTA.
H.E. Amb. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson of the AUC and ex-officio member of the Board reverberated these thoughts. However, in addition to this, he brought the ongoing Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the attention of the Board and called for action by the institution in this regard. Speaking on behalf of the AUC, he requested that CoDA as part of its mandate for dialogue and advocacy should assist the AU in bringing more attention to this ongoing crisis, particularly with regards to the support and the efforts of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Chair and the Board have therefore agreed to support fund raising efforts on the matter from the private sector. A courtesy visit to DRC by selected members of the Board is also expected to take place.
This sixteenth meeting of the CoDA Board of Directors was convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the 28th of May, 2019. Led by the Chairperson of the Board, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, the meeting was preceded by a Stakeholder Dialogue on Continental Trade and Strengthening Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which took place on 27 May 2019. Participants comprised of thirteen members of the Board, including the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) as well as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Also in attendance were the Executive Director of the CoDA Secretariat and the rest of its staff members.
CoDA was established in Addis Ababa (2009) as an independent and international but African-owned forum which identifies and discusses issues of importance to Africa’s development within a global context. It is a think tank that advocates for the continent, brings together a range of stakeholders to promote dialogue and provides a platform for African voices to be heard.