The long-awaited African Union (AU) passport was on Sunday launched at the opening ceremony of the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Assembly is made up of heads of states and governments of the 54 member states of the AU.
The AU Commission’s Chairperson, Dr Dlamini Zuma, presented the passport to the Chairperson of the union, President Idriss Deby of Chad and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
Zuma, in her address, said the passport was a landmark achievement of the commission and was intended to help with regional integration of people of the continent.
She said Africa was full of hope, possibility and optimism and she was sure that the commission would achieve its aim of a better Africa.
“We see hope in the resilience of our people and the strides of countries towards eradicating poverty and transforming our economies.
“We see hope in the ever-changing landscapes of our cities and towns, as we steadily build roads, increase access to energy, ICT, water and sanitation and build schools, clinics and sports fields.
“We have hope, because the continent’s political and business leadership are preparing to act to make African industrialisation a reality in our lifetime, so that our people benefit from their natural and mineral resources.’’
She, however, said that the better Africa could only be achieved where peace and security reigned.
“As AU we have made the pledge not to bequeath violent conflicts, wars and genocide to future generations of Africans.
“That pledge demands our attention,’’ she said.
President Deby while declaring the session open, said that the retreat of the heads of states produced immeasurable results.
He said this was because the continent had decided to take its destiny in its own hands by resolving to fully fund the activities of the union by contributing to it financially and to ensure peace and stability.
He, however, urged member states to meet up to their responsibilities.