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Religious leaders want free trade with WestPublish Date: Jul 03, 2014
Religious leaders want free trade with West
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(L-R) Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, the Chairperson of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda Jonah Lwanga and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kampala Cyprian Lwanga leave after the African Faith Leaders’ Summit on the post 2015 development framework at Commonwealth Resort hotel in Munyonyo. Photo by Maria Wamala
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By Pascal Kwesiga

AFRICAN religious leaders have appealed to the International Community to take steps to elimination of trade barriers between Africa and Europe.

They also want the UN to pursue a development agenda that will facilitate the elimination of obstacles to trade between African countries and Europe.  

This was contained in a list of recommendations the religious leaders from the continent made at the end of their summit on the post 2015 UN development frame work at Speke Resort Hotel in Kampala on Wednesday.

The summit was organized to generate common position for the religious leaders from Africa on the post 2015 UN development agenda.

The UN has already developed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to replace the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that will expire next year.

The religious leaders also want the international community to appreciate the role of faith groups in the formulation of the post 2015 development framework.

“Corruption must be dealt with as a global phenomenon with accountability and transparency mechanisms put in place,” a statement signed by 22 religious groups read.

The heavy expenditure on military infrastructure, they noted, was incompatible with the aspirations of the post 2015 development agenda.

“The unproportional military investment in military interventions continues to escalate armed conflict, leading to extreme human suffering and wanton destruction of infrastructure and environment,” the statement added.

Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in a recorded video address said the African high level committee on the post 2015 development has generated an African common position on the next development agenda.

Sirleaf who is the chair of the African high level committee on the new development agenda promised to incorporate the position of the religious leaders into the continent’s position.

Africa’s position, she explained is rooted in six pillars – structural economic transformation and inclusive growth, science, technology and innovations, people-centred development, environmental sustainability, natural resources management and disaster risk management, peace and stability and finance and partnerships.

The DRC grand mufti Sheik Abdullah Mangala Luaba said religious leaders want to play a role in the formulation of the next international development goals because they keep a close connection and interaction with the grassroots.  

Representatives from Sudan said their government was willing to host the next religious leaders’ summit. The Church of Uganda archbishop, Stanley Ntagali said they will continue to engage the African Union and UN to ensure that religious leaders have an input in the final SDGs.

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