African Union Signs Memorandum of Understanding with the African Culture House

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the African Union (AU) and the African Handicrafts and Cultural House Association (hereinafter referred to as “African Culture House”) was signed on 19 September 2023 at the Turkish House in New York, in the margins of the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations. The MoU was signed by H.E. Ambassador Albert M. Muchanga, AUC Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals, and the Director of the African Culture House, Ms. Zeliha Saglam, in the presence of H.E. Deputy Foreign Minister, Ambassador Ahmet Yildiz.

The signing of the MoU that was facilitated by the AU Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations in New York, USA, aims to enhance cross-cultural understanding and strengthen the bridges of friendship between Türkiye and Africa, which has deepened over the last two decades through equal partnership and mutual respect. The cooperation is also built on trust, respect, reciprocity, and mutual benefit.

The partnership agreement is within the framework of the outcome of the 3rd Africa-Türkiye Summit held on 17-18 December 2021 under the theme “Strengthening the Partnership for Common Prosperity and Development” as stated on the Summit Declaration and the Africa-Türkiye Joint Action Plan 2022-2026.

Both sides proposed the establishment of appropriate follow-up mechanisms to ensure a regular Monitoring and Evaluation of Africa – Türkiye partnership agreed areas of cooperation through a consultative process between the Permanent Representatives Committee, the African Union Commission and the Government of Türkiye. In addition, both sides committed to consolidating and developing areas of cooperation at all levels and in all areas while establishing a stable, long-term partnership based on mutual interests and equality between Africa and Türkiye and enhancing the promotion of Africa- Türkiye cooperation in specific areas of interests.

It is worth noting that the current Action Plan 2022-2026 covers the following cooperation/priority areas:

 Peace, Security and Governance,

Trade, Investment and Industry,

Education, STI skills,

Youth and Women Development,

Infrastructure Development and Agriculture,

Promoting Resilient Health Systems.

The African Culture House was launched under the leadership of First Lady Emine Erdoğan in 2016 as a civil society initiative. It reflects the desire for shared prosperity and well-being for women in Africa and Türkiye. The African Culture House in Ankara aims to support women who are disproportionately affected by poverty and conflict and firmly believes that women’s empowerment of the most pressing issues in the continent, just like in the rest of the world.

The Memorandum of Understanding is closely linked to the Summit Declaration and its Action plan, which also aims to create and increase business opportunities between African and Turkish women entrepreneurs and afford the opportunity for these women to become agents of change in their communities. Furthermore, the MoU will allow more hand-crafted products from women producers in various African countries to be sold at the African Culture House. The income generated from this exchange is utilised in capacity-building projects for the benefit of women and children in different regions of Africa. It now undertakes activities in various fields, ranging from culture and arts to trade.

Through the years, the African Culture House in Ankara, Türkiye has gained diplomatic visibility as a must-visit venue for prominent African officials during their trips.      

About the African Union:

The African Union spearheads Africa’s development and integration in close collaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens. 

The AU Vision is to accelerate progress towards an integrated, prosperous and inclusive Africa, at peace with itself, playing a dynamic role in the continental and global arena, effectively driven by an accountable, efficient and responsive Commission.

About the AU Permanent Observer Mission to the UN:

The Permanent Mission of the African Union to the United Nations (AU Mission to the UN) plays a pivotal role in representing the interests of the African Union within the United Nations system. 

The Mission advocates for African interests and concerns on a wide range of global issues, including peace and security, sustainable development, human rights, and climate change. It works to ensure that African perspectives are considered and integrated into UN policies and decisions.

The Mission plays a crucial role in aligning AU positions with UN agendas and initiatives, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and peacekeeping missions.

The Mission serves as a channel for information exchange between the African Union and the United Nations. It relays UN decisions, resolutions, and initiatives to the AU and provides the UN with updates on AU activities and developments in Africa.

By Nadeem Faisal Baiga

Source AU Quarters