Highlights from the ongoing African Union Summit, 6-7 Feb 2021

The very first leadership team of the restructured African Union Commission has been elected this 6th February 2021 for a 4-year term as follow:

Chairperson: Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat (re-elected) from Chad, Central Africa

Deputy Chairperson: Ms. Monique Nsanzabaganwa from Rwanda, East Africa

Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment: Ms. Josefa Sacko (re-elected) from Angola, Southern Africa

Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade and Industry, and Mining: Mr. Albert Muchanga (re-elected) from Zambia, Southern Africa

Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy: Ms. Amani Abou-Zeid (re-elected) from Egypt, North Africa

Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security: Mr. Bankole Adeoye from Nigeria, West Africa

Postponement:

The elections for the following posts have been postponed likely for six months when the Executive Council meet next (June/July 2021)

– Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Social Development

– Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation

The outgoing 2 Commissioners Ms. Amira Elfadil and Ms. Sarah Agbor, respectively, will continue to serve in their positions until the next elections.

Why the postponement of the last two elections?

According to the rules and regulations of the African Union, the Commission’s leadership should respect a fair balance between the 5 geographical regions (North, Central, West, East, South) as well as a gender balance (male/female) in the overall team.

There are 8 positions, so, every region would have at least 1 post, and no region could have more than 2 posts. The Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson should be from different regions. If the Chairperson is a male, the Deputy Chairperson should be a female and vise versa. In addition, the regions of the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson could not have a second post. This will allow the other 3 regions to share the remaining 6 posts: 2 for each region. When a region has 2 posts, it should be 1 male and 1 female, so the whole leadership team should have an equal number of males and females meaning 4 men 4 women.

By the time the voting reached these two posts, the regions from which the candidates had come had already met their regional and gender quotas, so those candidates became automatically disqualified to be voted for due to regional and gender balance rules.

Technically the two upcoming Commissioners should come from West Africa (female) and Nord Africa (Male). ECOWAS has already decided internally that the second West Africa post would go to Burkina Faso. Central Africa and East Africa have already been granted the two highest posts (Chair and Deputy Chair), so, they could not have a second post.

A similar scenario already happened during the 2017 AUC elections, and voting for the remaining posts has been postponed for the following Summit.

So far the African Union is the only regional body with a strict written gender balance policy at the leadership level, a situation to be celebrated.

Other highlights from the Summit:

  • President Felix Tshisekedi from DRC is the new Chair of the Union for 2021
  • President Macky Sall from Senegal will be the following Chair of the Union for 2022
  • Chairperson Moussa Faki becomes the first AUC Chair to have a second term since the transformation of the OAU to the AU almost 20 years ago
  • The New Commissioner for Peace, Security, and Political Affairs breaks the record of having 55/55 member states’ votes.

Watch this space for more updates and analysis. Your comments and suggestions will be highly appreciated at Desire.Assogbavi@assodesire.com

4 thoughts on “Highlights from the ongoing African Union Summit, 6-7 Feb 2021

  1. According to the new rules after the just new structural reform implemented, the region that elected as chairperson or deputy, has only one post, thus only two region will run for the election of the two postponed posts west and north.

  2. Thank you Desiree for these highlights. Quite insightful and informative for scholars, particularly of International Relations/Political Science, and other interested individuals. I hereby request for be included in your mailing list for your blogs reports and newsletter on the African Union and other areas of your coverage.

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