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UARA: Bridging traditional leadership and modern governance for a prosperous Africa

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His Royal Majesty King Mswati III and His Imperial Highness Prince Estifanos Matewos have embarked on a pioneering initiative to elevate traditional authorities within modern governance through the establishment of the United Africa Royal Assembly (UARA).

This collaborative effort aims to integrate the wisdom and influence of Africa’s traditional leaders into the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, fostering sustainable development and cultural preservation across the continent.

In a ground-breaking move, the United Africa Royal Assembly (UARA) has been established to revolutionize the role of traditional leaders in shaping the future of Africa. Founded in 2018 and officially operationalized in 2022, the UARA represents a collective effort led by His Royal Majesty King Mswati III of Eswatini and His Imperial Highness Prince Estifanos Matewos of the Ethiopian Menelik Dynasty, alongside prominent African royals and diplomats.

With a vision inspired by the late H.E. Muammar al-Qaddafi and the policies of Nelson Mandela, the UARA aims to empower traditional leaders from across the continent, including kings, queens, sultans, emirs, chiefs, and royal family members.

The organization seeks to restore the dignity and cultural heritage of Africans while promoting peace, unity, and inclusive economic growth through the integration of traditional leadership into modern governance structures.

At the helm of the UARA’s leadership are HRM King Mswati III and HIH Prince Estifanos Matewos, supported by an Advisory Committee chaired by Honorable Nkosana Dlamini-Zuma.

The Assembly’s strategic direction and operations are overseen by HIH Prince Estifanos Matewos, with HRH Princess Zamaswazi Mandela serving as the Stakeholder Manager.

The UARA is driving 15 significant projects aimed at fostering economic development, cultural preservation, environmental sustainability, and peace and security across the continent.

These projects, managed by commissioners and special advisors selected for their expertise and advocacy for traditional authorities, cover various areas such as education, agriculture, trade, biodiversity, and conflict resolution.

Already, the UARA’s initiatives have gained recognition and yielded results on both continental and international levels. In June 2023, a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the UARA and the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), aiming to strengthen traditional leadership and governance systems. Additionally, an MoU was signed with the AeTrade Group to drive digital and financial inclusion, aligning with the AU Summit Decision to promote economic development.

Furthermore, the UARA has actively engaged with key stakeholders, including newly appointed AU Chairman Mohamed Ould Ghazouani and Presidents of various African nations, to advocate for the

inclusion and empowerment of traditional authorities within continental and national governance structures.

The organization has also called for comprehensive reassessments of security measures to protect traditional rulers and vulnerable communities in response to rising terrorist threats and attacks.

In light of diplomatic tensions between countries such as the DRC and Rwanda, the UARA has facilitated dialogues and advocated for cooperation to ease discord and support regional peace and stability. Additionally, the Assembly has engaged with traditional leaders, such as King Langalibalele II Johannes Radebe of AmaHlubi Kingdom of South Africa, to address historical injustices and promote recognition by national governments.

The United Africa Royal Assembly (UARA) comes at a critical juncture for African governance, as traditional authorities are increasingly recognized for their potential to address local issues and preserve cultural heritage. The lack of integration between traditional leaders and modern governance structures has hindered efforts to achieve sustainable development and inclusive growth across the continent. Through collaborative partnerships and visionary leadership, the UARA seeks to bridge this gap and pave the way for a unified and prosperous Africa.

A Call to Action

As the United Africa Royal Assembly (UARA) continues its mission to empower traditional leaders and promote sustainable development, it calls upon all stakeholders to support this transformative vision.

By working together, governments, private sectors, and civil society can contribute to building a continent where heritage and progress go hand in hand, fostering a brighter future for all Africans.

Modester Kamupinda is a Pan-African Publicist and the views expressed here are her own

Modester Kamupinda
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