African leaders, UPF hinge AfCFTA, SAATM on better cooperation
Leaders on the continent have hinged the success of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) on unity and cooperation of the African countries.
The call was made on the heels of the recent xenophobic crisis in South Africa and reprisals in Nigeria, as the leaders and Universal Peace Federation (UPF) called on the two countries to cooperate and lead the charge of the stronger African economy.The AfCFTA, recently signed by African countries including Nigeria, aims to evolve an open market for regional trade. Ditto for SAATM, that seeks to open up the skies for free air travel among the signatories.
The founder of the UPF, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, at the opening of the African Summit 2019 in São Tomé recently, said the agenda for regional economic prosperity, among others, would only be as successful as the countries could cooperate and erase cultural and religious barriers.She said the solutions to the divided culture begin with the quiet revolution inside each African and extended to families and the nation.
“At a time when our world and nations are engulfed in disunity, let us be reminded that we are greater than our differences. Let us come together as brothers and sisters to take a step in unison towards peace by building strong and healthy families. Let us start peace together, as one family under God.
“Peace starts with me, with you, with us. Each and every one of us can make a difference and we can make an even bigger difference together. Peace is more than just the absence of war. It is wholesale and inefficient.
“It creates steady security within and reached out with creativity and hope. It starts with me but it never ends. Let us join in our common identity as Africans, as human beings, brothers and sisters, God’s children, to protect our beautiful world and build one human family,” she said.
Moon, a global advocate for peace and reconciliation, is the founder of the SunHak Peace Prize and the ‘Peace starts with me movement’. She is supporting initiatives for refugees, access to education for women and girls, food security, supporting marriage and family, and protecting the environment.
Chairman of the International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP), an African arm of the UPF, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, advised African leaders to deepen peaceful coexistence and unity, as the requisite foundation of effective economic policies.Jonathan added that for peace and cooperation to thrive, the government must build hope among the people across the continent.
“Africa must begin to treat one another as brothers and sisters, in love and unity. Disagreements between people and nations must never be allowed to degenerate to the level where our citizens start visiting violence on fellow Africans and their legitimate business interests.
“Peace and development are possible when leaders respect and protect the rights of citizens and those of the migrants. That way, we can have a peaceful continent and economic prosperity that we desire,” he said.President of São Tomé, Evaristo Carvalho, urged his counterparts across the continent to abide by universal values of love and cooperation to collectively build a prosperous continent.