A high-level summit between the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms organisation opened in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday.

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The 5th Mid-Year Coordination Meeting is taking place from July 13 to 16 and will be attended by 51 foreign ministers from the AU member states. On Sunday, 15 heads of state will meet at the United Nations African headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi.

The summit is following the AU theme for 2023, “Acceleration of African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation” (AcFTA) and will explore ways to enhance integration across the continent and boost trade.

Kenyan Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Dr Alfred Mutua said that the meeting would also consider the AU’s financial budget for 2024.

The meeting takes place as the continent is rocked by ongoing conflicts and crises which have affected most of the AU’s member states.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dhoihir Dhoulkamal, the AU’s Chairperson of the Executive Council, recognised that the meeting takes places “at a time and within a special context of the international scene marked by conflicts and various crises”.

“The war in the Sudan, the conflict in Eastern DRC, the transition process in Mali and Burkina Faso and Guinea, the war in Russia and Ukraine, which is weighing heavily and negatively on the agricultural production of Africa,” Dhoulkamal said. “These are so many concerns which remain at the very heart of our political and diplomatic program.”

The MYCMs were started in 2017 as a means for the AU and RECs to “align their work, and coordinate the implementation of the continent-wide integration agenda“.