His Excellency, Paul Kagame, Outgoing Chairperson of the African Union and The President of Republic of Rwanda
His Excellency, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of the Democratic Federal Republic of Ethiopia Excellences Heads of State and Government
His Excellency, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission
Distinguished Guests Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to express profound gratitude to President Paul Kagame for his excellent stewardship of our union during last year. I wish to also welcome H.E. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt as the incoming Chairperson of the African Union, wishing him success.
Let me take this opportunity to thank my brother, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Government and the People of Ethiopia for the warm hospitality accorded to me and my delegation during our stay in this beautiful and historic city of Addis Ababa.
I am honored to join you in this occasion of the 32nd Session of the Assembly of Heads of States of the African Union under the pertinent theme of “Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa.”
This year’s theme is essential for Africa and, particularly, for Somalia.
In this context, I want to thank the member states and the Commission of the African Union for championing Somali Debt Cancellations in this year Agenda. Debt cancellation can be a means towards unlocking resources for reconstruction and development, including for the provision of durable solutions for displaced Somalis.
We are grateful to the African countries that host our refugees, in particular, our neighboring countries. We appreciate the spirit of African hospitality. We are also grateful to our partners who assist our national and local governments resettle returnees and IDPs at home.
Mr. Chairman, there is a need to expedite the formation of the Humanitarian Agency to find solutions for refugees, to provide innovative and sustainable durable solutions for the most vulnerable in our societies.
More importantly, there is the noble need to grant refugees the freedom of movement, the right to own land, to seek employment and to establish businesses, to get access to Education and Health services, and easy to obtain all the necessary permits and documents within the host countries and communities.
Even as we seek durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa, we should equally advocate for progressive refugee policies and laws across the continent.
The AU has the mechanisms in place to alleviate underlying causes of displacement.
The AU’s vision to Silence the Gun by 2020, which provides a roadmap for limiting conflicts will contribute to peace and security in the continent.
Somalia on its part is invested in contributing towards these initiatives.
Our National Development Plan specifically addresses the needs of the vulnerable groups in our society including Refugees, IDPs, and Returnees through a dedicated chapter on resilience.
Over the last two years, we have worked with diverse partners in articulating our National Action Plan on durable solutions for these groups in line with regional, continental and global commitments.
Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies, and Gentlemen
We urge African countries to take specific initiatives to make vulnerable Africans feel at home wherever they are on our continent while we all commit to remedy the root causes of displacement in all its forms.