G7 Africa directors group: Chair’s Statement
As part of its G7 presidency, Canada hosted a meeting of the G7 Africa Directors in Addis Ababa on 23-24 April 2018. Ms. Leslie Norton, Assistant Deputy Minister, Sub-Saharan Africa Branch at Global Affairs Canada and Canada’s G7 Africa Director, chaired the meeting. Representatives from France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union were also in attendance.
The decision to hold the G7 Africa Directors meeting in Addis Ababa demonstrates the importance attached to holding meaningful consultations with African partners as part of the G7 process. This meeting offered an invaluable opportunity to engage on priority issues germane to achieving the shared goal of a peaceful, sustainable and integrated Africa, at a critical moment of reform for the region’s institutions. This included a discussion on peace and security in Sub-Saharan Africa and on the promotion of women’s leadership.
The meeting took place at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Headquarters. Participants were welcomed by Dr. Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNECA, who provided insights on key trends shaping the continent followed by meetings with the African Union Commission (AUC), including His Excellency Ambassador Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security, and Her Excellency Ms Cessouma Minata Samate, Commissioner for Political Affairs, as well as with Under Secretary General Haile Menkerios, Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union and Louise Chamberlain, UNDP Ethiopia Country Director and ad interim Resident Coordinator. The discussion focussed on the broader context of peace and security challenges on the continent and their linkages with development.
There was a discussion with African think tanks to hear their perspectives on the continent’s most pressing peace and security, as well as governance issues, and how the G7 can best provide value-added to help meet the continent’s current and future challenges.
In addition, there was a lively panel discussion on women’s leadership with Ms Letty Chiwara, UN Women Representative to Ethiopia, African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Ms. Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director of UNECA’s Social Development Policy Division and Her Excellency Hope Tumukunde Gasatura, Ambassador of Rwanda to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union. Participants shared views on progress achieved and ongoing efforts to implement the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda as well as women’s leadership and empowerment across all sectors.
Overall, the meetings were an opportunity for the G7 Africa Directors to reaffirm their commitment to work with African partners to support peace and security initiatives in the region, share examples on how to empower women and girls, engage youth and help achieve inclusive economic growth in Africa.
The G7 Africa Directors also met with Chief of Staff and Chief Advisor to the African Union Commission Chairperson, Mr. El-Ghassim Wane to exchange on issues of mutual importance.
Canada initiated the G7 Africa Directors meetings when it hosted the G7 in 2002. The group of senior officials has met every year since. The Africa Directors meetings provide a valuable forum for G7 partners to discuss their respective engagement with African partners, as well as the integration of African perspectives into the G7 context.
As G7 president for 2018, Canada is looking forward to hosting our G7 counterparts throughout 2018, and in the Charlevoix region of Quebec on June 8-9 for the Leaders’ Summit.
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