The 2nd Mid-Year Coordination Meeting is an important milestone. I commend President Ramaphosa and Chairperson Moussa Faki, along with the staff of the Commission, for convening this meeting despite the challenges of the Covid pandemic.

I am pleased to report that the East African Community continues to make good progress in implementing the Single Customs Territory and the Common Market Protocol. Numerous non-tariff barriers have been eliminated, and 13 One-Stop Border Posts are operational in the Community, including one linking Tanzania and Zambia. The past year also saw the launch of a major effort to produce harmonised, high-quality statistics for our East African region.

The East African Community also cooperated to develop protocols to maintain the flow of trade in the context of the Covid pandemic. A regional electronic tracking system for truck drivers is now operational to allow for the mutual recognition of testing certificates issued by partner states.

These strides position the East African Community to contribute effectively to the implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area and maximise the benefits of this historic agreement.

Defining the division of labour between the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities is a key element of the institutional reform process.

We have had several progress reports since 2018 and it is time to bring this work to a conclusion. The objective need not be a detailed rulebook, but rather clarity about how our continental institutions should synchronise planning activities and coordinate action. This framework is essential for mobilising resources and avoiding duplication of effort.

I urge the Commission and Member States to accelerate the consultations on the division of labour so that this important document may be presented to the Assembly at the next Summit.

Allow me to close with a word of appreciation for yourself, President Cyril Ramaphosa. As Chairperson, you have led the Bureau of our organisation very ably through a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

These efforts, undertaken in close collaboration with the African Union Commission under the outstanding leadership of Moussa Faki Mahamat, have undoubtedly strengthened Africa’s global position.

Forging more productive partnerships between Africa and the world is very important for all involved. We cannot afford to continue with business as usual. The process to redefine the Africa-Europe — or Africa-Asia, or Africa-China, or Africa-Russia — relationship is one example among other areas of the world. It starts at the regional level and builds to the continent as a whole.

I wanted to join the President of Chad, my brother President Déby, in support of Moussa Faki, who has come back as the candidate running for chair of our African Union Commission. I also join in support of Dr Ngozi as the candidate for the director-general of the World Trade Organisation.

I stop here, Chairperson, and I thank you for your kind attention, all my brothers and sisters.