The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has been appointed the President of the Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments (CoSAP).
He takes over from the Speaker of Nigeria's House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The CoSAP was officially launched on October 12, 2020, after three key meetings between founding Speakers took place on August 17, 2020, September 17, 2020, and October 12, 2020 respectively.
In his acceptance speech at the conference held in Abuja, Nigeria, Mr Bagbin underpinned the importance of the representative role undertaken by parliamentarians across Africa.
The role, according to him, strengthened the future and longevity of Africa's democratic dispensation, hence the need to strengthen collaborative action against emerging political and socio-economic challenges.
Mr Bagbin described the new appointment as an opportunity to work with neighbouring Parliaments to pursue and advance the agenda of collaborative representation at every level of governance.
Addressing the respective speakers, Mr Bagbin outlined some measures which he considered would set the path for a progressive and representative democratic government within the member organisations.
These included the need for African Parliaments taking decisive action to end the unconstitutional overthrow of governments in Africa to further ensure more effective parliamentary oversight to curb Africa's rising debt and mitigation of their vulnerability to external shocks.
He, however, called for the need to safeguard and strengthen the role and powers of legislatures across the continent and for Africa to build capacity to feed itself by tackling food insecurity as a priority.
Mr Bagbin called on respective Parliaments across the sub-region to focus on inclusive budgeting and policy planning that addressed the needs of women, youth and people living with disabilities, and ensured that they were provided with the same opportunities as all other citizens.
He stressed the urgent need for creating and sustaining enabling legislative environment for public-private partnerships and enhancing the capacity and effectiveness of African inter-parliamentary institutions.
Mr Bagbin assured member countries of his intention to ensure that the CoSAP continued to provide a platform for discussion, dialogue and action by Speakers and Heads of African Parliaments.
"The platform will be used to advocate more effective approaches in Africa's public financial and economic management, developing collaborative strategies for tackling issues of common concern, and devise legislative interventions and solutions to address issues on a wider continental scale," he added.
The CoSAP is a platform initiated to facilitate increased deliberation, collaboration and cooperation between Speakers, Heads of Parliaments and National Assemblies across Africa to address common challenges, devise joint solutions and mobilise collective action to advance African development.
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