AU Ministerial Retreat opens in Bahir Dar

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Addis Ababa, January 25 (WIC) – The First African Union Ministerial Retreat is opened in Bahir Dar, seat of the Amhara Regional State, to map out a vision for the next fifty years of the continental organization.
Located 563 km north of the capital Addis Ababa, it is the first time for Bahir Dar, one of the major cities in Ethiopia to hold such a high level international conference. Also becoming the first city in Ethiopia outside Addis Ababa to host the AU assembly.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom, foreign minister of Ethiopia and chairperson of the AU Executive Council, in his opening remark, said the decision to hold the retreat in Bahir Dar is to provide the attendees an opportunity to witness the progress in other parts of Ethiopia.
“Bahir Dar is, of course, one of the cities in Ethiopia that are showing rapid transformation in recent years. The city is indeed a microcosm of the dramatic change that is taking place in our country,” Dr. Tedros said.
Dlamini Zuma, chairperson of the AU Commission, also appreciated the decision to host the Retreat in Bahir Dar.
“Bahir Dar is a living testimony that Ethiopia’s growth is not restricted to Addis Ababa,” she said. 
The delegates were welcomed by Gedu Andargachew, president of the Amhara Regional State, who thanked the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for giving the region the opportunity to host the retreat. 
The Ministerial Retreat is held inside the regional convention center overlooking one of the city’s landmark – the Martyrs Monument under the theme “Defining Agenda 2063: Towards a peaceful, integrated and prosperous Africa”.
It is part of the year-long OAU/AU Golden Jubilee celebration of Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.
The delegates will deliberate on a framework document outlining "Agenda 2063: A shared Strategic Framework for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development".
The framework document is prepared by the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank whose final adoption is expected to be made at the 23rd ordinary session of the Assembly in June/July 2014.
“This is the time to do a serious soul searching -not so much to dwell on the past but to learn from it and chart a better future,” Tedros told the gatherers which included foreign ministers and ambassadors of various African countries.
The deliberation is expected to be concluded on Sunday January 26, 2014 with the adoption of the framework document.