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South America-Africa Summit to address energy and cooperation

Friday, September 25th 2009 - 00:46 UTC
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The meeting is hosted by Venezuela in the Caribbean island of Margarita The meeting is hosted by Venezuela in the Caribbean island of Margarita

Margarita Island, in north-eastern Venezuela, has geared up for the upcoming second South America-Africa Summit (SAAS), which will take place on Saturday and Sunday hosted by President Hugo Chavez.

Morel Rodriguez, governor of Nuevo Esparta State, declared September 25 as a public holiday in Margarita to underline the importance of the summit, local media said on Wednesday.

During a press conference, Rodriguez said cleaning work was underway and road signs had been put up in the main avenues of Margarita, the largest island of Venezuela.

Regional security forces will be mobilized to block the area around the hotels which are to host the summit and Santiago Marino International Airport, 20 km away from the city Porlamar, where the conference will take place.

A total of 20 leaders from the African Union will attend the summit and will discuss the topics of education, health, energy and global economic crisis, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez anticipated earlier this week.

“Africa and South America both share the United Nations principles of reducing poverty through the enhancement of economic development” he added.

At the inaugural Africa South America (ASA) summit held in Abuja, Nigeria in November 2006, the leaders adopted a number of resolutions included in the 'Abuja Declaration' and a 'Plan of Action' that call for wider cooperation between the two regions in different areas of economic development.

The energy sector, one of the most underdeveloped industries in Africa, was identified as a priority for collaboration with plans to establish inter-regional partnerships and promotion of investment in Africa by South America, in mining and harnessing of fossil fuels and renewable energy.

The Plan of Action further tasked the African Energy Commission (AFREC) and the Latin America Energy Organization (OLADE) to craft a strategic plan to promote sustainable development of energy resources while respecting the sovereign rights of Member States to manage and regulate their natural resources.

The joint policy will also consider the possibility of setting up an Energy Commission for the two regions to coordinate development in the sector.

With regard to infrastructure development it was agreed to jointly identify as well as fund projects such as road and rail expansions in the two regions. Member States were urged to speedily develop direct air routes and rationalize sea routes between the two regions.

Under the trade and investment pact a plan to establish an African-South American Bank to finance development in respective continents was launched. This is one of the points to be reviewed in this weekend’s summit.

The summit was scheduled to take place last year in line with the declaration at the first ASA summit that meetings will be held every two years, but it has to be postponed for logistical reasons.

Categories: Politics, International.

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