The deputy chairman of the African Union (AU) says the continental body seeks to strengthen the partnership with President Barack Obama’s administration to combat global terrorism.
“In addition to working with the U.S., I think because of the nature of global terrorism, we need global cooperation. And of course, there are many areas in which we can [work] together to defeat this menace and phenomenon,” said Erastus Mwencha.
His comments come on the eve of the public swearing in of Obama on Monday as he begins his second, and last, four year term.
Some observers have criticized his administration for not working closely enough on issues of interest to Africa. They however express hope for improved working relations between African countries and Washington in his new term.
“We are not looking for anything extraordinary for his second term. We have got an agenda [which is] first of all to secure development for the continent, and we want also to make sure we also see favorable environmental and economic relations [that] encourages trade, investment and… cooperation,” said Mwencha.
He said there are high-level consultations between the African Union Commission and Washington.
Mwencha said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairperson of the AU, was recently in the U.S. where she held fruitful talks with senior administration officials, lawmakers and members of the business community.
“We have a framework of cooperation between the US and Africa like in the area of AGOA [African Growth and Opportunity Act], and other initiatives,” continued Mwencha. “Our hope is that we can now start looking at [transforming] our continent to see more inclusive growth, to see that it adds value to its resources and [encourages trade] within the continent.”
Clottey interview with Erastus Mwencha, AU deputy chairman