May 23, 2023 | News

AUDA-NEPAD hosts Colombian Vice President, Francia Márquez

AUDA-NEPAD hosts Colombian Vice President, Francia Márquez

On Friday, 12 May 2023, the Vice President of the Republic of Colombia, Her Excellency Ms. Francia Márquez, visited the AUDA-NEPAD as part of her tour to several African countries. 

In a momentous event, H.E. Ms. Nardos Bekele-Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD), received H.E. Ms. Francia Márquez, the Vice President of the Republic of Colombia at the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) Offices in Midrand, South Africa. This visit held immense significance, underscoring the strides made in Afro-Colombian representation while presenting unparalleled opportunities to connect Africa with the vibrant diaspora in South America. The Vice President's visit served as a catalyst for embracing diversity, fostering multicontinental collaboration, and nurturing cultural and economic ties.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Nardos Bekele-Thomas emphasized, "We are proud to host such a distinguished daughter of the soil, who has championed human rights and been a leading voice for social justice in the Republic of Colombia… As AUDA-NEPAD, we envisage an Africa that is prosperous and thriving, and we see an Africa that is integrated and inspiring. We are committed to working together towards a brighter future for all Africans."

Ms. Francia Márquez became the first black woman to hold this esteemed office in the South American country in August 2022. Since taking office, she has openly advocated for a shift in international relations, emphasizing building bridges with African countries.

In her remarks, the Vice-President underlined Colombia's desire to build relationships with Africa. She emphasized that the country aims to create new partnerships and strengthen existing ones. “We have a lot to learn from each other, and jointly we can tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. We are committed to building bridges that will benefit the people of both Africa and Colombia”, she said.

To this end, the visit holds remarkable potential for strengthening connections between Africa and the Colombian diaspora, which carries a rich Afro-Colombian heritage. Colombia is home to a vibrant community of African descendants who have significantly contributed to the nation's cultural fabric. By fostering stronger ties between Africa and South America, both regions can engage in cultural exchange, economic collaboration, and knowledge-sharing, thus deepening their interconnectedness.

AUDA-NEPAD has partnered with the Government of Colombia on several initiatives that have contributed to national, regional, and continental development. The recently initiated project on Aquaculture and the Blue Economy is among the joint initiatives which come at an opportune time as the continent has placed a strong emphasis on the blue economy in its long-term development framework, Agenda 2063. Heads of State and Government, Development Partners, Civil Society, and the Private Sector have recognized the importance of sustainable ocean governance, coastal protection, and the development of maritime sectors as drivers of economic transformation and job creation. Within this context, the partnership offers great potential for developing the Blue Economy in Africa, with its vast coastline and numerous water resources.

Overall, the visit was an extraordinary opportunity to carve out a new narrative of the broad span and great power of South-South and Triangular Cooperation. Furthermore, it challenges the commom widespread misconception that optimal solutions only come from the North. It also serves as a pivotal cornerstone in forging a resolute and united front while acknowledging the immense advantages of nurturing relationships and imbibing wisdom from parallel circumstances.

The visit marks a significant moment in the history of African and South American relations, as both continents seek to deepen engagements and build lasting partnerships. With a shared commitment to social justice, human rights, and sustainable development, the stage is set for a fruitful collaboration that will benefit both continents for years to come.


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