AU Summit kicks off with PRC meeting

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pretoria - The 19th Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) meeting of the African Union Summit, focusing on information and communication technologies opened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this morning.

The PRC meeting, which will last until 26 January, will among other things, consider the Report on the Situation of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa as well as the Report of the Commission on Africa's Strategic Partnerships.

The PRC will also share views on the Report of the Commission on the Dissolution of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa and the proposed AU Directorate of Sport.

The PRC will deliberate and make recommendations on these and other matters, and forward them to the Executive Council of Foreign Ministers who will meet on 28 to 29 for their 16th Ordinary Session.

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs that constitute the council will, when they meet, consider the report of the commission on the climate change negotiations that was held in the Copenhagen.

They will also consider the Participation of Doha Round Negotiations, the Report of the Commission on the 13th Session of the Standing Commission for the Afro-Arab Cooperation; the Report of the Commission on the Situation in the Middle East and Palestine.

The Executive Council will in turn, make their own assessments and forward them to the AU Heads of State, who are to meet from 31 January to 2 February.

One of the highlights during the Heads of State meeting will be the launch of the New African Union Flag and the Continental Scientific Award Ceremony for two successful African Scientists.

The theme of the 14th AU Summit is: "Information and Communication Technologies in Africa: Challenges and Prospects for Development".

Leaders will try to find a consensus on harmonising policy, legal and regulatory frameworks at regional and continental level to create an enabling environment to attract investment and foster sustainable development of competitive ICT markets in the continent.

However, concerns about the continent's hotpots like Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Niger, Guinea and Sudan could overshadow the summit.

Football could also be a hot topic with South Africa hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The leaders will be eager to hear South Africa's report on the preparations.