By John Okeke
Nigeria has highlighted the need for the African Union, in collaboration with its Member States, to focus more on socio-economic welfare projects that will directly improve on the life of African citizens which will in turn reduce the remote causes of some of the violent crisisA�thatA�isA�ravagingA�theA�co
TheA� Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, made the remarks at the ongoing 32ndA�Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia.
A�While commending the report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for last year (which covers all the activities of the Commission on issues and developments in Africa)A�and commending the determination of the Union to position itself in compliance with the ongoing institutional reforms, the Minister called on AU Member States toA�pull resources together to achieve sustainable development in the continent.
This was contained in a release by the Spokesperson Ministry of Foreign Affairs,Tope Adeleye Elias-Fatile.
He also called on them to rally more support for the actualization of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) at the proposed extra-ordinary Summit for the finalization of the CFTA in the first quarter of 2018.
The MinisterA�said NigeriaA�acknowledges the fact that the Commission has come a long way as an institution and has made someA�appreciable progress.
However, it is still confronted with some challenges, particularly, in addressing poverty alleviation, growth, inequality and fragility of democratic governance in Africa.
A�On efforts geared towards regional integration, he remarked that gaps exist between the grand strategic promise of Agenda 2063 and its execution.
Therefore, to achieve the aspiration of the Union and its citizens as reflected in the institutional reform project and Agenda 2063, including the first ten-year implementation plan, he underlined the need for Member States, the Regional Economic Councils (RECs), and all AU Organs to align their development plans.