President of the Federal National Council of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) H.E. Dr Amal Al Qubaisi expressed her great gratitude to Pan African Parliament(PAP) for approving her country to be an observer saying that it indicates the extent to which their interests, history and future are interconnected.
She said however the council being an observing member in PAP means that UAE will have better understanding of the critical issues to be in a better place to coordinate efforts and responses to common challenges and opportunities.
When addressing members of Pan African Parliament Dr Al Qubaisi confirmed that the UAE is also the second biggest Middle Eastern investor in Africa with total investment mounting to $11 Billion across the African continent.
“Africa’s aid and development have been and continue to be at the heart of UAE priorities where more than 55% of our humanitarian aid in 2016 was fully directed to Africa. She said however this resulted in more than 61 billion Emirati dirhams to be given to African countries as development and humanitarian aid only during the period between 2014 to 2018 , to help African people and support their countries to fulfill the UN sustainable development goals,” she said.
Dr Al Qubaisi who was welcomed by Pan African Parliament President H.E. Roger Nkodo Dang was a guest of honour to represent the United Arab Emirates and its people in the opening of the second ordinary session of the 5th Parliament Pan-African parliament.
“In particular I am proud of the MoU that we signed with the Pan African Parliament last December during H.E. Roger Nkodo Dang’s successful visit to the UAE. We are also pleased of the coordination and cooperation with the African Group at the IPU as well as the numerous bilateral agreements, MoU’s and friendship groups with most of the African parliaments. We hope that we can foster that relationship and expand it to all the members of the Pan African Parliament,” said President of the Federal National Council of the UAE.
When addressing members of PAP, Dr Al Qubaisi said the membership will allow UAE as parliaments and parliamentarians to work together closer than ever, to coordinate efforts and exchange experiences and will eventually increase the level of strategic partnership between the UAE and the countries of Africa, the continent of great history and future opportunities.
“Our participation testifies to the Federal National Council commitment to the Pan African Parliament and the relationship between the people of the UAE and their brothers in the African Continent. It is also a great opportunity for me personally to meet my friends, and colleagues parliamentarians whom I have got to know, respect and cherish over the past years. This is rooted in our common interest and our shared destiny in this region,” said Dr Al Qubaisi during the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, month of worship, spirituality and a reminder for us that hunger, poverty are still facts of the world that we need to work on and defy together.
“Like most of the people of the UAE, I am proud to be in the country of legendary Nelson Mandela, the great African leader who is the symbol of peace, unity and human values. We in the UAE respect the leadership role of outstanding legendary leaders like President Mandela and President Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, the founder of the UAE. Their legacy have made the world a better place for their people and others and have set a role model for generations and nations to come.”
She however singled out PAP president Dang for his continuous support and sincere cooperation that made their strategic bilateral agreement and this pioneering membership possible in a record time and for his unwavering belief that cooperation between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula is critical for both regions and their future.
UAE confirmed through Dr Al Qubaisi that it is supporting and assisting refugees in various countries of the world, especially after this problem has exacerbated with the number of refugees in the world at the beginning of 2017 reaching 22.5 million, according to UN statistics.
The UAE and UNHCR have signed a $ 4 million agreement to provide emergency response to southern Sudanese refugees in Uganda, which is in line with the pledge made by the UAE during the “Uganda Solidarity Conference on Refugees” held in Kampala in 2017.
In addition, the UAE has also responded to the suffering of the refugees in Somalia, Rohingya, Syria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other countries.
Meanwhile, during a special sitting Dr Al Qubaisi urged women across the globe to stand up for their rights and occupy key positions in government administration, politics and various structures. She proposed 50%-50% representation of women in parliament globally.
By Mpho MoAfrika Dube