Commonwealth Parliamentarians convene in Nigeria to discuss COVID-19 challenges at CPA Africa Regional Conference
From 9 – 13 November 2021, Commonwealth Parliamentarians from across Africa met in Abuja, Nigeria to attend the 51st Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa Regional Conference on the theme of ‘African Parliaments and the Challenge of the COVID-19 Pandemic.’ The main programme included workshops examining COVID-19 challenges through a range of thematic lenses, including gender, youth and sustainable development.
Above: His Excellency Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, speaks at the opening ceremony
At the official opening ceremony, the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Prof Yemi Osinbajo, delivered the keynote address stressing the importance of the institution of Parliament in promoting democracy and fostering economic development. He also called on international leaders to put in place appropriate transitional climate change arrangements for Africa, saying:
‘the international community must meet its pledges to Africa and the developing world in terms of financing and technology, to support mitigation and adaptation to climate change’.
In his welcome address, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Nigeria and President-designate of the CPA Africa Region, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, appealed for full integration in Africa, taking advantage of the available regional legislative instruments to have a common passport, market and a single customs and monetary union. Hon. Christopher Kalila, MP (Zambia) addressed delegates on behalf of the CPA Africa Region Executive Committee, whilst Hon. Dr Zainab Gimba, MNA (Nigeria), as Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Africa Regional Chairperson, called for greater focus on gender inclusion and women’s participation in political, social, economic and development processes.
Above: Speaker Gbajabiamila (right) with CPA Secretary-General Stephen Twigg
The Acting CPA International Chairperson, Hon. Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP (United Kingdom) attended the Regional Conference in person as part of a CPA Secretariat delegation, alongside the CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg and CPA Deputy Secretary-General, Jarvis Matiya. Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Acting CPA Chairperson reiterated the CPA’s commitment to continue pushing for a change in the legal status of the CPA, whilst the CPA Secretary-General took the opportunity to welcome back several Nigerian sub-national Legislatures that have recently been re-admitted to the CPA’s membership.
In the sidelines of the Africa Regional Conference, the CPA Secretariat delegation also held bilateral meetings with: the Speaker of the Nigeria House of Representatives and Hon. Zakariya’u Galadima, MP, Chairman of the House Committee on Inter-Parliamentary Affairs; the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD), Hon. Dennitah Ghati, HSC MP (Kenya); as well as various delegations from across the CPA Africa Region.
The CWP Africa Region also convened for a Regional Steering Committee meeting and a gender-sensitisation workshop. The African Region of the Society of Clerks-at-the-Table (SoCATT) in Commonwealth Parliaments also held its Annual General Meeting in the margins of the Regional Conference.
Above (L-R): CPA Deputy Secretary-General Jarvis Matiya, CPA Acting Chairperson Hon. Ian Liddell-Grainger MP (UK), CPwD Chairperson Hon. Dennitah Ghati HSC MP (Kenya), Hon. Laura Kanushu MP (Uganda), CPA Secretary-General Stephen Twigg.
The CPA Africa Region is one of nine CPA Regions across the Commonwealth and it comprises 63 national and subnational Legislatures. The current Chairperson of the CPA Africa Region is Hon. Justin B. Muturi, Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya, and the CPA Africa Regional Secretariat is based in the Parliament of Tanzania.
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For more photos from the Conference, visit our Flickr page.
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