AU Summit Focusing On Maternal, Child Health Begins In Uganda

Delegations arrived in Kampala, Uganda, for the start of the 15th African Union (AU) Summit, which begins Monday, the Daily Monitor reports (Muyita/Kasasira, 7/19).

“The summit will address various issues, including health, infrastructure and food security. It will also tackle security concerns in Somalia, Uganda’s foreign ministry said in a statement,” CNN reports (7/17). “The theme is maternal and child health … [which] is intertwined with food security and nutrition security. So, as the Ministry of Agriculture, we will be playing a key role, especially in the side events which we will be addressing food and nutrition,” Hope Mwesigye, Uganda’s minister for agriculture, animal industry and fisheries, told VOA News ahead of the summit (Clottey, 7/15).

But the “official theme of child and maternal mortality will likely be overshadowed by discussion of the AU’s mission in Somalia,” Inter Press Service notes in an article outlining the AU’s relationship with Somalia and the challenges it faces there (Kyalimpa, 7/18).

Also ahead of the AU Summit, a coalition of women advocates, “comprising members of local and international women organisations,” signed a petition to be presented during the summit, New Vision/ reports. The petition calls on governments to enact policies aimed at improving the health of women in Africa, according to Christine Butegwa, the regional director of Akina Mama wa Afrika (Magara, 7/15).

On Saturday, the first ever African Youth Forum (AYF) opened in Uganda as a precursor to the AU Summit, Xinhua reports. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni focused on the role of youth in development during his opening remarks of the three-day meeting (7/17).

“This is the problem of Africa … You find the people are wondering and stagnant. How can we become a modern country without electricity? How can we achieve the Millennium Development Goals? Is it by magic?” he said. Museveni said Africa’s youth must push for a socio-economic shift to modernize the continent, the Daily Monitor writes (Ahimbisibwe, 7/19).

“You can either be a progressive or reactionary youth. You should focus on yourselves as social-economic transformation-inclined,” Museveni said, noting Uganda’s efforts to provide education, skill acquisition and jobs for young people, according to New Vision (Mugisa, 7/18).

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake also spoke at the forum, the Daily Monitor notes. Lake encouraged conference participants to “[u]se the conference to find solutions to the pressing problems Africa is facing” (7/19).

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