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Pan African Parliament tackles food, sports on the continent

Committee Sitting of the Pan African Parliament

The Pan African Parliament (PAP)’s Permanent Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism, and Human Resources has promised to work on promoting African food and eradicating visas for sports teams travelling within the continent.

This emerged today during a session chaired by Hon Senator Chief Fortune Z. Charumbira, the President of the PAP that was held under the topic, “Mandate of Permanent Committees and Expected Outputs from the African Citizenry” that took place at the Pan African Headquarters in Midrand, South Africa.

Chief Charumbira reiterated the fact that the mandate of the PAP is anchored on “Ensuring the full participation of African peoples in the economic development and integration of the continent.”

“The PAP ought to be the carrier and repository of the African people’s voice on the continent. Everything that the PAP does should be guided by the common interests of the people of Africa, not parochial personal interests. Activities of Permanent Committees should seek to respond to the expectations of the African citizenry. The work of Committees must focus on issues that are relevant to the people.

Hon Amina Abdou Souna, the Chairperson of the PAP’s Permanent Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism, and Human Resources, while presenting a summary of the activities of the committee and expected outputs, said the Members of Parliament in that portfolio will be working on the eradication of visa for sports teams travelling within Africa.

“Sports visas are a type of entry access document given to sports professionals to come into a country for work. Given that sports events are held in different nations on the continent, sportspersons sometimes need to travel from one country to another. For instance, when a soccer player moves to a club in a foreign country, he or she needs to apply for a work permit to ply their trade in that country. However, in some instances, sportspersons face challenges in obtaining visas to enable them to participate in sporting events within the continent for various reasons, among them, the relationship between One Africa, the host country and the country the particular sportsperson hails from.

“The challenge arising from such an occurrence is that the affected sportsperson may miss out on the opportunity to improve his or her performance, and will also miss out on the social and economic benefits of participating. A discussion on the eradication of visas for sports teams travelling within Africa is important in order to remove the bureaucratic bottlenecks in the visa process so that the teams are able to move freely within the continent. enabling them to participate in their respective sporting events,” Hon Souna said.

She further highlighted that the committee is proposing a Food Festival in Commemoration of the Africa Day Food Festival. She said FoodFest Africa is proposing a four-year partnership with the Pan African Parliament through the Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism and Human Resources to celebrate Africa month in May 2023.
“The aim of the partnership is to make Africa realise the importance of celebrating Africa Day on May 25 and Africa month. The festival will be in the form of a food festival-style event and will include cuisine from across the continent,” Hon Souna added.
On the other hand, the Permanent Committee on rural development, agriculture and natural resources said it will deliberate on rules for exploiting natural resources. It will implement the process of rules on climate change and hold discussions in preparation for COP 28 and present the results of COP27. The committee also intends to hold a joint workshop with the committee on education on traditional medicine.
The trade committee will focus on the protection of migrants.  It will also hold a workshop on capacity building in the area of labour migration governance.
The committee on Justice and Human Rights said it needs to harmonize and coordinate the laws of member states and ensure that they will follow guidelines and practices.
According to Article 11 of the PAP Protocol on the legislative body’s powers and functions, the Pan-African Parliament shall be vested with legislative powers to be defined by the Assembly. However, during the first term of its existence, the Pan-African Parliament shall exercise advisory and consultative powers only. In this regard, it may:
  •  Examine, discuss or express an opinion on any matter, either on its own initiative or at the request of the Assembly or other policy organs and make any recommendations it may deem fit relating to, inter alia, matters pertaining to the respect of human rights, the consolidation of democratic institutions and the culture of democracy, as well as the promotion of good governance and the rule of law.
  • Discuss its budget and the budget of the Community and make recommendations thereon prior to its approval by the Assembly.
  • Work towards the harmonization or coordination of the laws of Member States.
  • Make recommendations aimed at contributing to the attainment of the objectives of the OAU/AEC and draw attention to the challenges facing the integration process in Africa as well as the strategies for dealing with them.
  • Request officials of the OAU/AEC to attend its sessions, produce documents or assist in the discharge of its duties.
  • Promote the programmes and objectives of the OAU/AEC, in the constituencies of the Member States.
  • Promote the coordination and harmonization of policies, measures, programmes and activities of the Regional Economic Communities and the parliamentary fora of Africa.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende