Minister Ngafuan highlighted the strides the continent is making in democracy, governance and women rights, among others.
Speaking recently when he served as Guest of Honor at the occasion commemorating African Liberation Day held at the Golden Gate Hotel, in Paynesville outside Monrovia, the Liberian Foreign Minister called on fellow Africans to seize what he referred to as a new opportunity to critically look at the Continent after more than half a century following the liberation so as to recap on the kind of Africa the region needs, adding, that while there are challenges in the story of the continent, Africa is still making some incontrovertible progress albeit the challenges.
Minister Ngafuan indicated that unlike the 1970s and 1980s when it was inconceivable for an incumbent African President to lose an election to an opposition contender, today incumbents are not only losing elections to oppositions but they are also humbly and graciously acknowledging their defeat and respectfully congratulating their political competitors.
The Liberian Foreign Minister stressed that instead of remaining deeply grounded in what many conceived as a male chauvinistic Africa, where only men and boys had the right to speak during family meetings, women are now making progress and are now taking on greater leadership roles on the Continent.
Minister Ngafuan said it is exciting times on the continent with women taking up key leadership role in governments, civil societies and private sectors across the continent.
“For the first time in the history of the African Union, a woman was elected Chairperson of the African Union Commission thus raising the pedestal of women leadership in regional bodies. I must pay homage to Liberia for becoming a pace-setter for women empowerment when in 2005 the country elected Africa’s first democratically elected female President in person of Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf”.
The emphasis on women empowerment is further evidenced by this year’s AU Summit theme: "Year of Women Empowerment and Development toward Africa's Agenda 2063". Women are also doing very well in business and contributing very significantly to the growth and development of their countries”, the Foreign Minister observed.
While recounting the strive made by the continent, the Minister added that despite the progress the continent is making in addressing its many challenges, recent developments taking place in the region are issues of concern including the xenophobic or afro-phobic attacks by Africans against fellow Africans in South Africa few month ago, the disintegration of Libya and new independent South Sudan, the Boko Haram and the Al Shabab onslaughts in Nigeria and Kenya respectively.
The political rumpus in Burundi caused by President Nkurunziza dogged determination to stand for a third term; the troubling trend of African migrants dying by the hundreds in the Mediterranean sea in their quest to reach Europe for a greener pastures.
He emphasized that the migrant situation in the Mediterranean speaks volumes about the state of peace and security, and sustainable employment opportunities in some parts of our continent acknowledging that the entire Africa must go to work to address the embarrassing migrant situation in the Mediterranean.
Liberia’s Foreign Minister further observed that aside from poverty and diseases affecting the continent, Africa still live in fear of armed conflicts while unemployment has left young people on the continent vulnerable to unwholesome and deviant enticements.
Liberia’s foreign minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan says as Africa aspire to transform the continent through the AU's Agenda 2063, the region must ensure peace and security, provide youth employment, protect and promote the rights of our women across Africa.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ambassador Oluwatoyin Solaja stressed that the African Union is playing its role as a fearless counselor, keeper of peace, and an impartial arbiter in places like South Sudan, Central African Republic, Mali, and Somalia and Burundi “When the Ebola Virus disease (EVD) broke out in Liberia in March 2014, and intensified in August 2014, the African Union was galvanized into action in September 2014 to assist in curbing the diseases; this saw the birth of the African Union support to Ebola in West Africa (ASEOWA), he emphasized.
According to him, the African Union contributed over the total of 822 Medical Doctors, Epidemiologists, Nurses, Lab Technicians as well as Data Volunteer Health Workers to the Ebola fight in Liberia, Sierra Leone ad Guinea’ from across Africa.
He stressed that the African Union Health Team did not only treat Ebola patients, but also trained 2,227 International and Local Medical Personals in the art of handling the Ebola Virus.
Ambassador Solaja noted that in support of its commitment to the Pan-African cause and African solidarity, 25 AU Medical personnel will remain in Liberia to assist with post-Ebola Basic Medical Health Services.
He then on behalf of the Chairman of the Authority of African Union Heads of State and the chairperson of the African Union Commission expressed thanks to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Government and the Good People of Liberia, the AU Commission’s sincerest appreciation for the honor done not just to ASEOWA and its dedicated personnel, but the African Union. Press Statement