TONDERAI SAHARO in Cairo, Egypt

Ambassdor Sherif Issa the Egyptian Assistant  Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of  African Affairs has hailed the unity among SADC countries describing it as a major step towards the African continent achieving social, economic and political stability.

Addressing journalist from 25 African countries at the on-going 55th African journalist training programme on media relations on the continent, climate change and media management among others in Cairo, Ambassador Issa said the region had shown unity of purpose when they united to choose a Zimbabwean candidate, Senator Fortune Charumbira, as the president of the Pan African Parliament.

Chief Charumbira who is also the president of the country’s Chiefs Council, was elected the new leader of PAP after he was anonymously seconded to contest for the presidency by southern African countries as a bloc.

The top Egyptian diplomat said other regional blocks particularly countries in the Northern Region of the continent should emulate strides being made by SADC countries towards integration in building a united and prosperous Africa.

“We still have problems particularly for countries in the Northern Region we are so divided, the Southern region went as a united front during the recently held PAP elections but here in the North we had candidates vying for the same post.

“The region is still faced with challenges with member states, in the movement of people and some accuse other countries of aiding instability by allowing terrorist groups passage through their countries, we need to review our policies in unifying Arabic states and have a transparent dialogue on the issue just like what is happening in the South,” he said.

Another Egyptian diplomat Ambassador Ahmed Haggag also told journalists that it was time for the African countries forged ahead with the creation of an African Free Trade Zones for the continent to benefit and develop from its vast natural resources.

“We trade more with the west more than with our African counterparts, most African countries are selfish, they do things that benefit themselves without their neighbours yet we should be investing and developing in Africa and do away with the Anglophone and Francophone divisions which were created for us by the colonialists, this can only be achieved when home affairs ministries ease visa restrictions for African countries,” he said.

The SADC region continues to set pace towards the integration of the region with Namibia and Botswana governments recently agreeing to abolish the use of passports to travel between the two neighbouring countries.

Citizens of the two countries will only use their national identity cards to gain entry in either country.

The high level course for African journalists will run until the end of September with the African Journalist covering a wide range of lectures from renowned Egyptian diplomats, academia as well as media personality on African integration.

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