Bahrain role ‘key to Arab-African business’
Manama, May 29, 2013
Bahrain could play a key role in helping to set up an Arab-African union and business confederation, said a top official.
It will be one of the key items on the agenda as the country takes over the presidency of the Association of Senates, Shura and Equivalent Councils in Africa and the Arab World (ASSECAA), said a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
Arab and African legislators are in Bahrain for the high-level ASSECAA meeting, which got underway at the Crowne Plaza Hotel yesterday.
Group chairman and Burundi Senate president Gabriel Ntisezerana said Bahrain's role in leading the association could be crucial to improving regional co-operation.
"I believe it is imperative to establish a confederation of Afro-Arab Chamber of Commerce, Afro-Arab Cultural Centre and even accelerate the emergence of an Afro-Arab Union that works closely with the Arab League and African Union," he said.
Ntisezerana revealed with the assistance of Shura Council chairman Ali Saleh Al Saleh, who will chair ASSECAA during Bahrain's presidency, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman would be part of the association.
"Africa is focused on its relations with Europe, but it shows these countries are interested in our resources rather than working for mutual interest," he said.
"The Arab countries on the other hand genuinely want to develop and boost Arab-African relations."
Addressing the seventh conference and eighth ASSECAA board meeting, Al Saleh told delegates Bahrain had weathered the storm of the 2011 unrest and was ready to confront any threats to its stability.
"Bahrain is on the track of progress," he said. "Security and peace in the Arab and African countries is the pressing demand of its people. We in Bahrain give priority to security and stability as we continue to experience threats.
"We have weathered the storm threats and can proudly say that Bahrain can confront any security threat that affects its stability."
Saleh added it was important for Arab and African countries to integrate and co-operate at political, economic and cultural levels.
The meeting concludes today with further discussions and last year's annual ASSECAA report being submitted by the body's secretary-general Abdulwasie Yusuf Ali.
"Arab countries have the oil money, while Africa has the resources and if this is combined it will benefit a large number of these nations," he said.
"When there is so much of rich resources and money involved there will be somebody causing problems. Europe and the US had their own wars and set of problems but they solved it internally with dialogue, which is the key."
Shura Council public utilities and environment affairs committee secretary Abdulrahman Jawahery said Bahrain had made its mark by hosting the event.
"This meeting cements international confidence in Bahrain and its respect for democracy," he said. "It brings together two critical regions (Arab and African) that is the centre of future progress and challenges."
Jawahery said Bahrain had "overcome challenges and interferences in its internal affairs" with the help of its allies. – TradeArabia News Service