AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says the success of the AU is dependent on the implementation of decisions made by regional economic groups.
"Therefore, a strong, dynamic and symbiotic relationship between the African Union Commission and the regional economic communities is critical for the integration and development of Africa," Dlamini-Zuma said at the SADC summit in Mozambique.
Dlamini-Zuma said that only through the construction of sustainable infrastructure could inter and intra-African trade succeed for the benefit of the continent's people.
"This in turn requires the development of common standards and the harmonisation of legislation and other steps being taken within and between economic communities."
She said a united Africa would assist the people of the continent to deal with burning issues such as climate change, food and water security, pandemics and the relationship between healthy, educated populations and development; democracy and the empowerment of youth and women.
Women make up over 50% of Africa's population, and although Africa has experienced positive economic growth, it shall not reach its potential without the full participation of women, said Dlamini-Zuma.
"Women must be involved more meaningfully in the economy. We should also ensure they have access to, amongst others, training, skills development, technology, land and financing."
Dlamini-Zuma said Africa could halve its poverty if the continents resources were used in a way that assisted its people.
"The continent has abundant human resources. We have a young population whilst the developing world has an aging population."
She said, "As long as donor contributions are the mainstay of our development, we will not achieve our own identified priorities."
Future generations of Africans should not see this generation as one of missed opportunities, said Dlamini-Zuma.
"They should celebrate us for having bequeathed to them a better Africa than that which we found." – Sapa