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President Buhari returns to Abuja from Malabo

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday night returned to Abuja from Malabo, Equitorial Guinea, where he successfully participated in the 4th Africa-Arab summit.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Buhari while in Malabo participated in the opening ceremony and working session of the Summit, on Wednesday.

NAN reports that during the summit, Nigeria and other African countries received a pledge of two billion dollars from the Kuwaiti government to fund key development initiatives in agriculture, youth empowerment, education and support to fight terrorism.

Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, confirmed this development in a statement issued in Abuja.

“At the 4th Africa-Arab Summit, jointly organized by the African Union Commission and the League of Arab States, the Kuwaiti government said the amount would be released to African countries as soft loans to promote the development of the continent.

“The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) will release one billion dollars for the support of the fight against terrorism, youth empowerment and boosting agriculture, while another one billion dollars will be for strengthening educational systems in Africa,” he said.

The statement said Kuwait had in 2013 made similar facilities available to some African countries “to diversify their economies, particularly in sectors that directly impact the lives of citizens.”

President Muhammadu Buhari led the Nigerian delegation to the summit, which was attended by African Heads of State, and prominent leaders from the gulf.

NAN reports that Morocco and some Arab countries staged a walk-out of the fourth Africa-Arab World Summit in Equatorial Guinea in protest against the presence of a delegation from the Polisario Front, a group seeking the independence of Western Sahara.

Reports from Malabo indicated that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Jordan and Yemen as well as Somalia also left the one-day summit in solidarity with Morocco.

It would be recalled that Morocco had made an official request to rejoin the African Union (AU), more than four decades after leaving the union in protest against the membership of Western Sahara.

“The country withdrew from the AU in 1984, when the mineral-rich and sparsely populated Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), commonly known as Western Sahara, was accepted as a member.”

The Kingdom of Morocco, however, officially submitted a request to accede to the African Union (AU) Constitutive Act, and therefore, become a Member of the Union.

An Adviser to King Mohammed VI on Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom, Taieb Fassi Fihri, informed the Commission’s Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, when they met, on Sept. 22 2016, in a bilateral meeting in the margin of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) of Morocco’s intention to rejoin the AU.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, in 1975.