There’s no credible African institution to deal with Tigray’s humanitarian crisis: Prof Olonisakin

There’s no credible African institution to deal with Tigray’s humanitarian crisis: Prof Olonisakin

Ethiopians, who fled the fighting in Tigray region, carry their belongings after crossing the Setit River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in the eastern Kassala state in December last year. There is no credible or legitimate African institution that can deal with humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, according to Leadership Professor Funmi Olonisakin. Professor Olanisakin made the remarks while delivering the keynote address at the annual Thabo Mbeki Africa Day Lecture on Tuesday.
 
She called out the African Union and regional bloc IGAD for being indifferent to the humanitarian crisis happening in the region that borders Eritrea. More than 2 000 people have been killed in violence in Tigray since November after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) launched attacks on Ethiopian forces.
The King’s College London professor says the AU’s leadership has moved from non-intervention to indifference.
“This is an internationalised conflict and not an internal conflict as it’s been portrayed. Even if it was an internal conflict non-interference is not an excuse. While this is not about actively deploying a mission it is clear that African ownership and leadership is glaringly missing on Tigray. And there was an early warning as well but there is no indication of official trigger at any point in time,” she says.
 
Africa Day was commemorated in the South African National Council of Provinces under the theme “Pioneering Africa’s Inclusive Economic Recovery and Free Trade”. Discussions focused on building a continent for all who live in it. The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, which commenced in January this year, was also key to the discussions. It’s seen as a driver to deepen economic intergration and prosperity.
Speakers say the agreement will not reach its full potential unless infrastructure challenges and certain policies are improved. Conflict and instability on the continent are also viewed as threats to the agreement.
FILE PHOTO: Ethiopians, who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, carry their belongings after crossing the Setit River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in the eastern Kassala state, Sudan December 16, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo