The Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, dedicated to the institutional reform of the Union ended this 18 November 2018 in Addis Ababa.
Here are the main decisions and a few personal reflections on how change may happen in our continent.
This blog comes to update/complement my previous blog published prior to the Summit and should be read together with it.
Adopted New Structure & Portfolios for the African Union Commission
The new structure of the AU Commission will be as follows:
- Chairperson of the AUC
- Deputy Chairperson of the AUC
- 6 Portfolios/Commissioners as follow (instead of 8 previously)
1) Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment;
2) Economic Development, Trade and Industry and Mining
3) Education, Science, Technology and Innovation;
4) Infrastructure and Energy;
4) Political Affairs, Peace & Security;
6) Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development
The change include mainly the following:
– Merging of Political Affairs and the Peace and Security Departments. The Humanitarian Division previously under Political Affairs moves to the Social Affairs Department renamed
– Merging of Economic Affairs and the Trade & Industry Departments with addition of Mining
– Human Resource, Science and Technology Department is renamed as Education, Science, Technology and Innovation
– Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment added to Agriculture Rural Development Department
This new structure will come into effect at the end of the current tenure of the AU Commission in 2021.
Important principles to guide the selection process of the senior leadership of the Commission;
- Equitable regional representation and gender parity;
- Predictable inter and intra-regional rotation following the English alphabetical order to be applied to each senior leadership position
- Attracting and retaining Africa’s top talent;
- Accountable and effective leadership and management;
- Transparent and merit-based selection;
- The principle of rotational gender parity shall be applied to the posts of Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson; ensuring that if the Chairperson is male then the Deputy Chairperson shall be a female and vice versa
The Mandate of the African Union Development Agency – AUDA (Transformed NEPAD) adopted as follow:
- To coordinate and execute priority regional and continental projects to promote regional integration towards the accelerated realization of Agenda 2063;
- To strengthen capacity of African Union Member States and regional bodies; advance knowledge-based advisory support, undertake the full range of resource mobilization, and serve as the continent’s technical interface with all Africa’s development stakeholders and development partners.
The Assembly called for the conclusion of a permanent Host Country Agreement for the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) with the Government of South Africa.
Reform of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)
- APRM budget to be integrated in the statutory Union budget funded by Member States: This will bring the institution to a more financial stability but may also incite more member states to join it.
- APRM capacity to be strengthen in collaboration with the African Governance Architecture and its functional autonomy enhanced to deliver on its extended mandate,
- APRM to present an update on the State of Governance in Africa and to report to the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly scheduled to take place in February 2019
An ongoing process
This reform is an on-going process. More and more organs of the Union will be reviewed as we move and the process will surely not stop with the end of President Kagame’s tenure as Chairperson of the Union in January 2019. He will remain the champion of the reform and the issue is likely to remain on the top of AU agenda given the large principle adherence of member states to the reform agenda, despite the divergence of opinion on the How…
In the end, the refocusing of the AU to a few continental issues, wanted by President Kagame has not happened. We only see a restructuring/reshuffling of portfolios… Now it is important to leverage the principles of subsidiarity, complementarity and comparative advantage while discussing the division of labor with the Regional Economic Communities.
How will change happen in Africa?
My personal view here is that, the restructuring of the Commission and other organs of the Union, to better deliver on their mandates, and the adoption of performance based management principles are excellent steps ahead. However, African people’s life can be really impacted only, if the adopted decisions, standards and values are effectively implemented at national level by member states. For this to happen, there is a need for an effective accountability mechanism to be handled by a strong, empowered and capacitated AU Commission and relevant organs vis a vis member states in transparent and objective manners… and as I pointed it out in my previous blog, a sanction regime for the non-implementation of African Union decisions at national level is still the missing element in the reform agenda. It should be discussed soon. The overall rate of implementation of AU decisions at national level is below 15% according to various reports… We should fix this by all means in order to get to the Africa we want.
African Heads of State and Government are gathering this weekend 17 & 18 November 2018 in Addis Ababa for an Extraordinary Summit to discuss the institutional reform of the African Union being championed by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
I would like to share the following 7 key aspects of the reform (my personal views)
Please note that I have published updated and additional information to this article by the link here.
- What are the Key Reform Areas?
In his submission titled “The Imperative to strengthen our Union” adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State of the Union, President Kagame identified four main areas that need urgent actions:
- The AU to focus only on key priorities with continental scope: This will help the Union to make a real difference on these areas in improving the life of African citizens. Anything else could be covered at regional and national levels
- Realign Africa Union institutions to deliver against those priorities
- Ensure efficient and effective management of the African Union both politically and at the operational level
- Finance the Union with African resources
- What are the Proposed Continental Priorities to be handled by the African Union
- Political Affairs
- Peace & Security
- Economic Integration
- Africa’s Global Voice
- What are the key decisions taken so far in relation to the reform? a/ The institution of a 0.2 %t Levy on all eligible imported goods into the Continent to finance the African Union Operational, Program and Peace Support Operations Budgets. The amounts collected from the Levy shall be automatically paid by the national administration, into an account opened for the African Union with the Central Banks of each Member State for transmission to the African Union in accordance with each Member State’s assessed contribution. If this decisions is fully implemented, the Union will be able to cover 100% of its operational cost, 75% of its programme budget and 25% of the Union’s peace support operations. Currently, around 60% of the total budget of the African Union is financed by external donors. b/ There will be only one AU Summit per year starting from 2019, instead of two Summits currently held. The Mid-year Summit will now become a Coordination Meeting with the Regional Economic Communities (RECS). The first of its kind will be held in June/July 2019 in Niamey, Niger. The Permanent Representatives Committee and the Executive Council will normally convene as before, prior to the Coordination Meeting. c/ The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency is transformed into the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) with an enhanced mandate likely to be adopted by the extraordinary session of the AU Assembly.
4. What are the Reform issues on which there is no full consensus among member states?
- A number of AU Member States, for different reasons are not fully onboard with the 0.2% levy on imports to finance the Union.
- The new structure of the AU Commission, the mode of designation and the authority/power of its leadership are viewed differently by AU Member States. The power dynamic between the Chairperson of the AU Commission and the Commissioners is another issue on which member States have divergent opinions.
- The role of the Permanent Representative Committee and its relation with the AU Commission have been pointed out by President Kagame as an area to review. Here also, Member states positions are unlikely to match each other.
- The planned reform of the Peace and Security Council of the Union would probably show serious diverging opinions within Member State.
- What are the proposals on the table for the new Structure of the African Union Commission?
The proposed new structure of the AU Commission to be considered by the Summit is as follows:
- Chairperson of the AUC
- Deputy Chairperson of the AUC
- 6 Commissioners as follow (instead of 8 previously)
1) Agriculture, Rural Development, Environment;
2) Economic Development, Trade and Industry;
3) Education, Science, Technology and Innovation;
4) Infrastructure and Energy;
4) Political Affairs, Peace & Security;
6) Health, Social Development, Women and Youth Empowerment;
The proposed change include mainly the following:
– Merging of Political Affairs and the Peace and Security Departments
– Merging of Economic Affairs and the Trade & Industry Departments
– Women/Gender Directorate previously under the Chairperson’s cabinet moves to Health and Social Development (previously Social Affairs Department)
– Youth Division previously under Human Resource, Science and Technology Department moves to Health and Social Development
– Human Resource, Science and Technology Department is renamed as Education, Science, Technology and Innovation
It is also being proposed to create a non-elected post of Director-General to lead the operational coordination of the Commission’s departments and non-elected staff. The current post of Secretary-General may be renamed Secretary to the Commission.
The Summit will consider a new mode and procedure of designation of the leadership of the AU Commission but it is not expected that the Chairperson will be granted the right to select his/her deputy and the commissioners or even to be part of the process as some actors have proposed. Gender parity will be maintained within the leadership team and even reinforced at the top level. This means for example that if the Chairperson is a male the deputy should be a female or vice versa.
There is a strong push to enhance performance management at the senior leadership of the Commission. The Summit may order a goal and target setting mechanism and an annual submission of performance report by the Chairperson of the Commission.
The new selection policy will come into effect at the end of the current tenure of the Commission in January 2021.
- On the effective division of labor between the African Union, Regional Economic Communities Member States and other Continental Organizations
Deliberations may also include the establishment of a clear division of labor and effective collaboration among the AU, the RECs, the Regional Mechanisms (RMs) and the harmonization of policies across the board. The AU Commission together with the RECs and relevant organs would have to develop a proposal on an effective division of labor to be submitted to the first Mid-Year Coordination Meeting in June/July 2019. There needs to be added emphasis on the division of labor in matters of peace in security, currently governed by the principles of subsidiarity and comparative advantage which remain wanting regarding clarity. Redundancy and overlap in mandates and work should be abandoned in favor of efficiency and cooperation.
- What are the Missing Elements in the reform:
a/ Accountability for the implementation of AU decisions, treaties policy standards and shared values by member states at the national level
There is an ongoing interesting discussion on improving the African peer review mechanism (a voluntary mechanism), which is a positive development, but for our Union to be able to make a real difference in the life of African people, it is imperative to think about a robust accountability mechanism for the implementation of agreed policies, standards and values at national level. The African Union Commission, other organs of the Union and ordinary citizens & their formations should be deliberately empowered and enabled to hold accountable our leaders for the realizations of their promises.
We need a courageous debate on sanction, not only sanctions for non-payment of Member States accessed contribution but also sanctions for non-implementation of agreed policies and the values on which the Constitutive Act of the Union is built as well as the seven aspirations of our Agenda 2063, the Africa we want.
b/ Civic Space/Citizens’ participation: A critical enabler of Agenda 2063’s vision is citizens’ rights to organise and their ability to stand against human rights abuses, poverty, inequality, injustice, corruption etc. The reform of the African Union should make a concrete way for independent African Civil Society formations to be able to contribute meaningfully in the affairs of the Union including an efficient mechanism for access to information. It is a common knowledge that the current settings are not meeting the expected results.
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The 31st Summit of Heads of State of the African Union held in Nouakchott Mauritania is now over. The Summit was held under the AU annual theme: “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”
Decisions of the Summit are not yet publicly available but, as usual, I would like to share with you, the following unofficial summary of the key outcomes of the Summit.
Over the next following weeks, I will be sharing deeper personal analysis on some of the issues discussed in Nouakchott and on the AU agenda.
The Summit meetings were held as follows:
- Permanent Representative Committee (Ambassadors): 25th – 26th June
- Executive Council (Ministers of Foreign Affairs): 28th – 29th June
- Assembly (Heads of State and Government): 1st – 2nd July
The Summit was overshadowed by peace and security issues including the security incidents in the Sahel; the multiple deadly attacks that happened in Mali and Niger while the Summit taking place. The state of peace and security in the continent was largely discussed by the Assembly including the situation in DRC, CAR, Burundi, Libya, the Sahel, the Horn of Africa etc. The Peace and Security Council of the AU met at the level of Heads of State in Nouakchott to discuss the situation in South Sudan. See Communique here.
10 Key Takeaways from the Summit:
- African Union Reform: There were no substantial progress in Nouakchott on the institutional reform of the African Union. Some disagreements among member States on President Kagame’s proposal remain. For example, there is still no consensus among all Member States on the application of 0,2% levy on eligible importations in order to fund the Union, the mode of designation/appointment of commissioners, power dynamics within the institution, the scope of intervention of the AU and the division of labor between the continental body and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). After all, it seems like not all member states have the same view on how to get a strong, autonomous and effective African Union to drive our development and integration ambitions. An extraordinary Summit will be held on 17 & 18 November this year to focus on the reform agenda.
- The Continental Free Trade Area: Significant progress recorded including the adoption of the five services priority sectors (Transport, communication, financial, tourism and business services). 5 additional countries joined the AfCFTA including one of the biggests economies of the continent: South Africa. The other new signatories are Burundi, Sierra Leone, Lesotho, and Namibia. Now 49 countries in total have signed the AfCFTA and 6 have ratified it. 16 more ratifications are needed for the treaty to enter into force. If all 55 AU members join the treaty, it will create a bloc with a cumulative GDP of $2.5 trillion and cover a market of 1.2 billion people. In terms of numbers of participating countries, AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization. You can get insightful information on the AfCFTA here.
- Western Sahara Conflict: AUC Chairperson presented a comprehensive report and proposed a mechanism to move ahead on the issue. While calling for the Polisario Front and Morocco to resume negotiations, without preconditions and in good faith, the Summit adopted the mechanism including the setting up of a Troika of 3 Heads of State: the current Chair of the Union (President Paul Kagame), the immediate past Chair (President Alpha Conde) and the incoming Chair (President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi) to be supported by the Chairperson of the AU Commission. The mission of the Troika will be to provide efficient support to the United Nations-led process (not to replace it) to resolve the conflict. The objective is the resumption of negotiations between the stakeholders to reach a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution, which allows the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. In addition, the Chairperson of the AUC is to reactivate the AU Office to the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara in Laayoune. The Summit decided that the issue of Western Sahara can now only be raised within this framework and at this level.
- Future of ACP/EU Cotonou Agreement post-2020: Professor Carlos Lopes, Former Executive Secretary of the UNECA is appointed as the African Union High Representative to support Member States in the negotiation of the new agreement with the EU Post-2020. Ministers of Foreign Affairs and those in charge of the negotiation will meet by September to consolidate the African Common Position.
- 2019 Budget of the Union: There are important progress toward ownership and budgetary process but the Union’s programs will still be largely funded by external donors in 2019. Total budget: $ 681 485 337 (about 12% less than the 2018 budget)
- Operating budget: $ 416,329,505 including AMISOM operational budget ($ 243,430,467)
- Program budget: US $ 265,155,832
The 2019 budget will be financed as follow: $ 280,045,761 by AU Member States and $ 401,439,575 by external partners.
- Francophonie: Both Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Assembly of Heads of State endorsed the candidacy of Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo to the post of Secretary General of “La Francophonie”; the Organization of French Speaking countries (OIF).
- Migration: Proposed by the King Mohammed VI of Morocco, AU Leader on Migration, the Summit decided to create an African Observatory for Migration and Development (OAMD) to be based in the Rabat, Morocco. Several delegations and personalities including the Chairperson of the African Union Commission publicly spoke against the recent proposal of the European Union to create a Regional disembarkation platforms to be located outside of Europe for migrants recused in international waters. In addition, the Peace and Security Council met to discuss the migration situation in the continent. See the Communique here.
- Sahel: the United Nations launched a revitalized strategic plan at the sidelines of the Summit entitled “Sahel, Land of Opportunities”. The plan targets 10 countries and six key areas including growth inclusive of empowerment of women and youth, cross border security and sustaining peace. The targeted countries, namely Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Cameroon will have continued support for ongoing efforts by governmental, non-governmental, national and regional bodies. 65 per cent of the region’s population is below 25 years of age, the plan then urges specific investments in education and vocational training to achieve higher demographic dividend.
- Fighting Corruption: Recognizing that Africa’s development plans including the Agenda 2063 would be seriously impeded without rigorous measures against corruption, AU Heads of State have reached a consensus on establishing a monitoring mechanism to fight against domestic and cross-border corruption through cooperation.
- In a solemn declaration, Heads of State decided to combat Illicit Financial Flows through various practical measures including the establishment of effective ownership registers, country-by-country reporting of financial information, exchange of tax information agreements, mutual support in reinforcing tax authorities etc. Several leaders spoke strongly against corruption and proposed courageous reform to combat it in the public, and private sectors. For example, President Buhari of Nigeria, the AU Leader on the fight against corruption said: “We must all collectively work to place high on the agenda the need for open and participatory government, as well as the repatriation of stolen assets without procedural technicalities and legal obstacles.” The Gambian President Adama Barrow said: ‘’our successes in the fight against corruption will ensure that resources are retained and used to support structural transformations and expansion of our economies…we cannot afford resource wastages through corruption thereby depriving our citizens the opportunities to improve their living standards”
- Attendance: The Summit has been poorly attended at high level. Only about half of the 55 African Heads of state made it to Nouakchott. Absentee Presidents include Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Abdel Fattah Sissi of Egypt, Patrice Talon of Benin, João Lourenço of Angola, José Mario Vaz of Guinea Bissau, Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, King Mohammed VI of Morocco etc.
- First participation in the Summit: Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone. French President Emmanuel Macron made an exceptional appearance in the margins of the Summit to have side discussions with African leaders on the G5 Sahel initiative and other peace and security issues.
Prospects for the year 2019: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will be the Chairperson of the African Union for 2019 and the theme of the year will be Refugees, Returnees and IDPs in Africa: towards durable solutions to forced displacement. 2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (OAU Convention) as well as the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the 2009 AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention). The Assembly decision at its 29th Assembly in July 2017 mandates the AU Commission to work with UNHCR and other partners to organize a series of commemorative events aimed at raising the visibility and provide thoughts for solutions of forced displacement in Africa. A series of events aimed at increasing ratification and domestication of the two key documents are being planned under the Project 2019, a joint AU-UNHCR initiative.
In line with the ongoing reform of the African Union, the just-finished Summit was expected to be the last mid-year Summit. From 2019 onward, there will only be one (1) ordinary Summit per year. The Union will rather host a mid-year coordination Session with the Regional Economic Communities. The first will be held in Niamey, Niger end June 2019.
The 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly will be held on the 10th & 11th February 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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As usual, I would like to share with you the following personal notes on the upcoming 31st Ordinary Summit of the AU policy organs to be held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in a few weeks.
The Summit will be held under the theme: “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”
Beside the main theme of the year, major issues on the Summit agenda include a progress review on the institutional reform and self-financing of the African Union, peace, security and humanitarian situation on the continent, the Continental Free Trade Area and the African Common Position on the future of ACP/EU. I have also anticipated on the theme and the leadership of the Union for next year 2019.
In line with the ongoing reform of the African Union, this Summit is expected to be the last mid-year Summit. From 2019 onward, there will only be one (1) ordinary Summit per year.
According to the draft agenda, the Summit’s sessions are scheduled as follow in Nouakchott:
- Permanent Representative Committee (Ambassadors): 25th – 26th June 2018
- Executive Council (Ministers of Foreign Affairs): 28th – 29th June 2018
- Assembly (Heads of State and Government): 1st – 2nd July 2018
A Closed Summit
The upcoming AU Summit will likely be a closed Summit as per AU Assembly decision AU/Dec.582 (XXV) according to which “Only one summit per year should be open for observers (non-African countries, international and inter-governmental organizations, CSOs etc)”. This decision was previously applied during the mid-year Summit in Kigali, Rwanda in July 2017. The only exception to this policy is when the AU decides to invite a strategic partner whose activities are in line with the theme of the year. Organizations that have an authorized side event in relation with the theme may only have access to the specific event and not necessarily to the entire Summit space.
Key Issues to dominate the AU Summit
Winning the fight against corruption: Corruption is one of the most pressing governance and development challenges that Africa is confronted with today. It’s devastating and harsh effects adversely affect the development progress and stability of the Continent. In 2003, the AU adopted the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption which entered into force in 2006. The convention, now ratified by 38 Member States provides for the establishment of an Advisory Board on Corruption. Created in 2009, the Arusha, Tanzania based Board has the mandate to promote and encourage the adoption of measures and actions to fight corruption and related offences on the continent. Member States are required to submit a report to the Executive Council on a regular basis on the progress made in complying with the provisions of the Convention.
Corruption trough Illicit Financial Flows (IFF): According the Thabo Mbeki report in 2015, $50 Billion is lost through illicit flows out of the continent every year. This figure has now mounted to $80 Billion according to the UNECA.
At the July 2017 Summit, it was decided that Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari would champion the annual theme. This decision was apparently based on the fact that Nigeria has recently taken a number of initiatives at national level to fight corruption practices.
In Nouakchott a presentation and a presidential debate led by President Buhari will be held on the theme and the Assembly will likely adopt a solemn declaration on fighting corruption in Africa. It is not clear whether the discussions on fighting corruption will be extended to corruption in political governance.
Progress on the institutional reform and self-financing of the African Union: The summit will review progress on the implementation of the institutional reform being led by President Paul Kagame aiming for a more efficient and effective African Union to achieve the objectives of the Agenda 2063. So far it’s hard to believe that there is a genuine consensus among member states on what the new structure of the AU will look like, the power dynamics in the leadership, the scope of thematic interventions and the division of labour between the AU and the Regional Economic Communities among other issues. A group of Member States has even tabled formal concerns in relation with the review process and the initial proposal made by President Kagame.
A progress report on financing the African Union by African countries through a 0.2% levy on eligible imported goods into the continent, is also expected to be presented by Donald Kaberuka. So far the AU is still funded up to 70% by external donors.
Peace, Security and Humanitarian Situation: the number of violent conflicts in Africa and their impact on civilians has hardly changed from the previous year. Re-occurring or relapsing conflicts, riots and mass protests, and shifting threats posed by violent extremist groups are key sources and manifestations of violence and insecurity in Africa and the continent continue to face heavy peace and security and humanitarian challenges. Progress towards a sustainable peace is rather slow due to many reasons mostly linked to governance deficits and the continent continues to face cases of stalled or collapsed peace processes; some of the notable cases include Burundi, CAR, DRC, Mali, South Sudan, Libya, Somalia etc. The Campaign for “silencing the guns by 2020” decided some years back is struggling to show results as we are approaching the deadline in a year and a half. The Assembly of the Union will consider a report on it. The situation between Morocco and Western Sahara is still unresolved. Besides the general debate on the state of peace and security in the continent, the Assembly of Heads of State will consider a special report of the AUC Chairperson on Western Sahara. The Peace and Security Council will meet at Heads of State level on the 30th June. French President Emmanuel Macron will participate in a luncheon on financing AU-led peace support operations authorized by the UN Security Council. It is likely that discussions between President Macron and African Leaders will be extended to the situation in Libya in which France is deeply involved.
The Continental Free Trade Area: the unfinished business: The recently adopted African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement will cover an African market of 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion, across all 55 member States of the Union. In terms of numbers of participating countries, AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization. The potential for intra-African trade to drive value creation and development is both palpable and real. The agreement is designed to benefit Africa’s industrial exports, so, in order to trade, Africa first has to produce and not only selling primary commodities. The Free Trade Agreement could not then produce the expected result without an acceptable degree of industrialization of the continent. 11 countries including the biggest economies of the continent – Nigeria and South Africa – have not signed the agreement. The next summit creates an opportunity to have those countries onboard but also to push for more ratifications of the treaty beyond the first 4 countries: Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Niger. In addition, the summit will discuss important annexes and appendices to make the AfCFTA effectively functional.
African Common Position on the future of ACP/EU: The Economic Partnership Agreement (Cotonou Agreement) signed in the year 2000 between 79 African, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) States and the European Union (EU) and its Member States for a period of 20 years is coming to an end in February 2020. Reflections between Africa and the EU are under way to determine the nature, outline and configuration of a more appropriate framework for future post-2020 relations. Renewing these agreements creates, a unique opportunity for both continents to reaffirm their individual and collective priorities, opportunities and challenges, so, African Heads of State will consider and eventually adopt a common position ahead of their negotiation with the EU.
Prospects for the year 2019: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will be the Chairperson of the African Union for 2019 and the theme of the year will be Refugees, Returnees and IDPs in Africa. 2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (OAU Convention) as well as the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the 2009 AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention). The Assembly decision at its 29th Assembly in July 2017 mandates the AU Commission to work with UNHCR and other partners to organize a series of commemorative events aimed at raising the visibility and provide thoughts for solutions of forced displacement in Africa. A series of events aimed at increasing ratification and domestication of the two key documents are being planned under the Project 2019, a joint AU-UNHCR initiative.
Given the important humanitarian component of our 2018-2021 strategic plan, we, at UNFPA, are ready to engage on the African Union’s 2019 theme alongside other partners.
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This document is being updated as more information become available
Last update: 10 July 2017
The 29th ordinary Summit of the AU (July 2017) has just ended in Addis Ababa. The official decisions of the Summit are not expected to be publicly available before a couple of weeks but, based on meetings and discussions that I have had with several delegations around the Summit and after looking at some of the Summit documents, I would like to share the following unofficial note on the key outcomes of the Summit.
In the coming days I will share on this blog, some personal analysis on these outcomes.
- Important decisions on youth; theme of the year.
- President Paul Kagame of Rwanda elected to lead the African Union in 2018.
- 2018 budget of the AU adopted: $769, 381,894, slightly less than 2017 budget.
- Concerned about the performance of ECOSOCC, the Summit ordered an in-depth study on its functioning since its creation
- The Africa-EU Partnership is re-branded: Morocco entered a strong reservation
- Election of two commissioners: HRST & Economic Affairs
- Election of new members of the Panel of the Wise
- The theme of 2018 confirmed as “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation” and the dates and venues of both AU Summits in 2018 decided.
- Important decisions and commitments on peace, security and humanitarian situation in Africa, and, on the “AU Roadmap for silencing the guns in Africa by 2020”
- List of Heads of State and Government who lead on specific thematic within the AU
1/ Theme of the Year: “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth”
The Summit asked the Chairperson to mobilize international support for Africa’s efforts towards harnessing the demographic dividend by calling for a special session of the United Nations General Assembly and the creation of a global partnership on the demographic dividend.
2018-2027 period is declared “African Decade for Technical, Professional and Entrepreneurial Training and Youth Employment”.
The establishment of the African Youth Fund is endorsed. The Summit also authorized allocation to the African Youth Fund of an amount at least equal to 1% of the Programme Budget of the African Union Commission.
The Pan-African Youth Forum is institutionalized. The Leader of the theme of the year 2017, President Idriss Deby to follow-up on the conclusions of the Pan-African Youth Forum held in N’Djamena
The AU Commission to review the implementation of the AUC/AfDB/ILO/ECA Joint Initiative on Youth Employment to be in line with the AU Roadmap on the Demographic Dividend and incorporate the new AfDB Strategy on Youth Employment in Africa.
2/ Budget for 2018
Total budget: $769, 381,894 (including peace support operations $268,083,200)
- Operating Budget US$458,763,038
- Programs budget: $310,618,856
… to be financed as follows:
- Member States contribution: $318,276,795
- Partners contribution: $451,105,099
3/Africa -EU Partnership becomes “African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) Partnership: Morocco entered strong reservation.
The Executive Council approved the theme of the 5th AU – EU Summit (29-30 Nov. 2017) namely: “Investment in Youth for Accelerated Inclusive growth and sustainable development”. The Executive Council also decided that the nomenclature for the partnership with the European Union to be now: “African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) Partnership” instead of “Africa – EU partnership”. The Kingdom of Morocco entered a strong reservation on nomenclature: African Union (AU) – European Union(EU) Partnership.
Senior Officials and a Ministerial meeting to be held before the Summit. The PRC in close collaboration with the Commission to prepare and negotiate with the European side the outcome documents of the Summit.
The PRC was asked to convene a retreat to jointly conclude the elaboration of a Draft Declaration and other documents for the 2017 AU-EU Summit in cooperation with the AU Commission and the Africa Group in Brussels and submit to an Extraordinary Session of Council in August/September 2017 to consider the same documents and adopt the African Common Position.
Finally, the Council denounced the unjust unilateral sanctions against States and citizens of AU Member States.
4/ Peace, Security and Humanitarian Situation
Somalia: The Assembly expressed concern at the resurgence of piracy activities of the coast of Somalia and called on the AU and international partners to coordinate their support through the implementation mechanism of the Security Pact, as agreed at the London Conference, held on 11 May 2017, with a view to optimize the impact of joint efforts aimed at, in particular, supporting the Somali National Security Forces. The Assembly welcomed the establishment of the AU-Somalia Joint Task Force that should be the best channel to harmonize support by partners.
South Sudan: The Assembly expressed deep concern over the continued deterioration of the situation in South Sudan and called upon, South Sudanese parties to demonstrate leadership and to rise up to their responsibility towards ending the long suffering of their own people. The Assembly also welcomed the launching of the National Dialogue initiative by President Salva Kiir and urged the South Sudanese stakeholders to ensure its inclusivity independence and impartiality. The Assembly endorsed the decisions of the 31 IGAD Extraordinary Summit held on 12 June 2017, in particular the urgent convening of the High-Level Revitalization Forum of the Peace Agreement. Concerned by the humanitarian situation in South Sudan and urged the international community to provide the necessary assistance to the needy people in South Sudan and the neighboring countries. In this regard, the Assembly called on the Transitional Government of National Unity, SPLM-IO and all armed groups to strictly observe international humanitarian law with regard to humanitarian agencies and workers, with a view to create or facilitate access and delivery of the humanitarian assistance to the population in need.
Djibouti and Eritrea: The Chairperson of the Commission, with the necessary support of the two countries, to pursue his efforts towards normalization of relations and good neighborhood between Djibouti and Eritrea
Morocco & Western Sahara: The Assembly reaffirmed its determination to find a durable solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, and called on the two Member States, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, to engage in direct and serious talks and extend the necessary cooperation to the AU policy organs, the Commission and the AU High Representative for Western Sahara. The Assembly also welcomed the commitment of the UN Secretary-General to re-launch the negotiating process, with a new dynamic and a new spirit leading to the resumption of negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions, between the two parties with the aim of reaching a durable solution, which shall provide for the self-determination referendum of the people of Western Sahara in line with the relevant UN resolutions and the AU/OAU decisions.
DRC: The Assembly appealed to all Congolese actors to work for the preservation of the still fragile gains in the path of peace and stability in the DRC, in particular the effective and consensual implementation of the 31 December 2016 Agreement, with a view to organizing elections, in December 2017. In this regard, the Assembly welcomed the initiatives so far taken by the Chairperson of the Commission, including the dispatching, from 29 to 30 May, in Kinshasa, of a mission led by Commissioner for Peace and Security and comprising the representatives of the United Nations, the ICGLR, SADC, guarantor institutions of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Region, signed on 24 February 2013, in Addis Ababa. The also Assembly called for the urgent appointment of the Chairman and Members of the National Follow up Council of the Agreement (CNSA) in order to establish the calendar of elections.
Burundi: The Summit reaffirmed its commitment to the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Burundi through the rapid launching of an inclusive inter-Burundian dialogue, under the aegis of the East African Community (EAC), with the support of the AU, under the leadership of the EAC Mediator, President Museveni of Uganda and his Facilitator, former President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania. The Assembly called upon the Burundian authorities to take all the necessary steps to build the widest consensus possible on the ongoing process of revising the Constitution, with the participation of all stakeholders and on the basis of the Arusha Agreement of 2000. In this regard, the Assembly also called for the rapid signing of the Memorandum of Understanding relating to the activities of the Human Rights Observers and the Military Experts of the AU;
CAR: The Assembly reaffirmed support to the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in CAR and called on all Central African stakeholders, the UN and other partners to support this process. The Assembly welcomed the signing in Rome, on 19 June 2017, under the facilitation of the Sant’Egidio community, of an agreement between armed groups, including a country wide ceasefire. The Assembly URGES Member States and partners to pursue and increase their assistance to the CAR and to contribute to stabilization, post-conflict reconstruction and development efforts in the country.
Mali: The Assembly welcomed the timely initiative of the G5 Sahel, namely Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad, which led to the establishment of the G5 Sahel Joint Force. The Assembly further welcomed the adoption by the United Nations Security Council of resolution 2359 (2017) on the deployment of the G5 Joint Force expressed appreciation to the European Union (EU) for the financial support to the initiative of the G5 Sahel. The Assembly requested the Commission to organise as soon as possible, a meeting of the member countries of the Nouakchott Process to discuss their support for the G5 Sahel initiative, within the framework of the AU Strategy for the Sahel Region.
The Summit declared the month of September, of each year till 2020, as “Africa Amnesty Month” for the surrender and collection of illegally owned weapons/arms, in line with the African and international best practices. In this context, the Assembly Pronounced as follows:
- persons who surrender their illegally owned weapons/arms shall not be subjected to disclosure humiliation, arrest or prosecution;
- persons who fail to surrender their illegally owned weapons/arms beyond the Africa Amnesty month, shall automatically be considered to be in violation of national laws and the Amnesty and shall therefore be prosecuted according to the national laws of the Member States;
- all Member States, RECs/RMs as well as civil society organizations shall give wide publicity, through all media networks, to the Africa Amnesty Month within their territories and regions;
- Member States to adhere to and promote the Africa Amnesty Month, September each year, and mobilize their citizens to actively participate in the efforts to silence the guns.
The Summit appealed to all AU Member States and RECs/RMs to redouble efforts in further strengthening their governance institutions, as part of the continental mobilization to ensure strong response to illicit weapons, their proliferation and use in the continent, as well as to illicit financial flows, production of dangerous drugs, as well as trade in illicit goods and illegal exploitation of natural resources.
The Summit encouraged AU Member States to speed up signing and ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty adopted the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013, which has the potential to play an important role in silencing the guns in Africa.
The Summit requested the Commission, as also requested by the PSC in its Press Statement [PSC/PR/BR.(CDXXX)] of its 430th meeting held on 24 April 2014, to submit and present to the PSC, the outcomes of the continent-wide mapping exercise which was launched in early 2017, with a view to generating concrete data on patterns and trends in illegal weapons and ammunition inflows and cross-border flows, diversion and circulation, as well as gaps in control measures in Member States, in order to strengthen AU remedial efforts.
The Summit Acknowledged that as part of the efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and practices throughout the continent, political will and commitment is a fundamental necessity for success in silencing the guns. In this regard, the Assembly urged Member States, for those that have not yet done so, to submit their state reports on their implementation of the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).
The Summit also requested the AU Commission to convene a meeting of experts of AU Member States to review the OAU/AU treaty making process and make recommendations that will be submitted for consideration by the relevant AU policy organs in the course of 2017.
Panel of the Wise: The Summit decided to strengthen the preventive role of the Panel of the Wise by urging it to accelerate the establishment of national peace infrastructures, including by harnessing the efforts of national mechanisms. The summit also decided on the operationalization of “Pan African Network of Women Mediators“, as a subsidiary body of the Panel of the Wise.
Humanitarian Situation in Africa
The Executive Council expressed concern over the dire humanitarian situation of migrants in Mediterranean Sea trying to cross over to Europe and, welcomed the New York Declaration adopted at 71st UNGA and the commitment towards the adoption of a global compacts on refugees and on the safe and orderly migration, by 2018 as well as the comprehensive refugee response framework (CRRF) for large scale movements of refugees including tackling protracted situations.
Recognizing that 2019 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Situations in Africa and the 10th anniversary of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, the Executive Council called on the Union to declare 2019 as the Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa : “towards durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa” and develop an implementation road map.
The Executive Council has also requested the following to the AU Commission:
- In collaboration with the PRC Sub-Committee on Refugees, Returnees and IDPs and the Sub-Committee on the Special Emergency Fund to take all necessary measures to convene a Donors Pledging Conference, which should include the private sector.
- In collaboration with the PRC to engage in further reflections on the situation of refugees to develop practical modalities to assist refugees in Africa;
Work in close collaboration with relevant international partners to address migration flows of Africans through the Mediterranean Sea and other channels
5/ Institutional Reform: The Summit took note of President Kagame’s Progress Report and reiterated that the implementation process will consider proposals and suggestions made by Member States
6/ Full Integration of NEPAD into the African Union Commission: The NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) is dissolved. AUC in consultation with the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA), to take all necessary measures for the full integration of the NEPAD into the Commission and to report to 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly in January 2018.
The Executive Council expressed concerns about the performance of ECOSOCC as an advisory role to the Union and requested the AUC in collaboration with ECOSOCC and Member States to implement the previous Executive Council Decisions EX.CL/Dec.833(XVII) on the establishment of a dedicated secretarial within CIDO and EX.CL/Dec.849(XXV) which calls for an in-depth study regarding the functioning of ECOSOCC since its inception to provide appropriate recommendations on modalities to revamp the operations of the organ, in line with the current reforms of the AU that would support the principle of Africa ownership
AU Commission to work out all legal, structural and financial implications affecting the relocation of ECOSOCC to Lusaka, Zambia and submit to the PRC for supplementary budget consideration
8/ Child Rights
The Executive Council adopted the theme for the Day of the African Child 2017: “Leave No Child Behind for Africa’s Development” and requested Member States to commemorate the Day of the African Child
9/ New Commissioners elected:
- Human Resources, Science and Technology: ANYANG AGBOR Sarah MBI Enow Sarah (Cameroon)
- Economic Affairs: HARISON Victor (Madagascar)
10/ New members of the Panel of the Wise
Eastern Africa: Dr. Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe, from Uganda (re-appointed)
Northern Africa: Mr. Amr Moussa, from Egypt
Western Africa:, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, from Liberia
Central Africa: Mrs. Catherine Samba-Panza, from the Central African Republic
Southern Africa region, Mr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, from Namibia
Outgoing members of the Panel of the Wise shall become members of the Group of Friends of the Panel.
11/ January 2018 Summit and theme of the year: The 30th AU Summit will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme “Winning The Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation” as follow: PRC: 22 – 23 January 2018; Executive Council: 25 – 26 January 2018; Assembly: 28 – 29 January 2018.
July 2018 Summit: The 31st AU Summit will be held in Mauritania as follow: PRC : 25 – 26 June 2018; Executive Council: 28 – 29 June 201; Assembly: 1 – 2 July 2018.
12/ Which President Leads on what ?
(i) H.E. Mr. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo: Leader and Chairperson of the High-Level Committee on Libya;
(ii) H.E. Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South African: Leader on African Union-United Nations Cooperation;
(iii) H.E. Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda: Leader on the Continent’s Political Integration;
(iv) H.E. Mr. Edgar Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia: Leader on Combating Early Marriage of Young Girls;
(v) H.E. Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger: Leader on Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA)
(vi) H.E. Mr. Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Republic of Chad, Leader: of the Theme of the Year 2017;
(vii) H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Leader on the Implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme: (CAADP);
(viii) H.E. Mr. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, President of the Togolese: Republic, Leader on Maritime Security, Safety and Development in Africa;
(ix) H.E. Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika: President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Leader on the Thorny Issue of Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa;
(x) His Majesty Mohamed VI, King of Morocco, Leader on the Migration Issue;
(xi) H.E. Mr. Alassane Dramane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Leader on the Follow-Up of the Implementation of African Union Agenda 2063;
(xii) H.E. Mr. Nana Akufo Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana: Leader on Gender and Development Issues in Africa;
xiii) H.E. Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Leader and Chairperson of the Committee of Ten (C10) on the United Nations Security Council Reform;
(xiv) H.E. Mr. Paul Kagamé, President of the Republic of Rwanda, Leader on the Institutional Reform of the African Union;
(xv) H.E. Mr. Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic and Chairperson of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC);
13/ Hissen Habre Case
The Executive Council requested the Commission to submit the Statutes of the Trust Fund for victims of Hissène Habré crimes to the Specialized Technical Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs for Consideration and to present it to the Thirtieth Ordinary Session of the Assembly for adoption through the Executive Council January/February 2018;
The Council also authorized the Commission to take necessary consultations with the Government of the Republic of Chad on the establishment of the Secretariat of the Trust Fund, bearing in mind that, the Decision of the African Extraordinary Chambers, the Senegalese Courts will have jurisdiction over all matters arising from the implementation of the African Extraordinary Chambers’ decision.
The Council invited Members States, partners and any other governmental or non-governmental organisation to provide a voluntary contribute to the Trust Fund and fully support the African Union Commission, to ensure the prompt and effective reparation of the victims as per the Decision of the African Extraordinary Appeal Chambers.
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As usual, I would like to share with you the following preliminary notes and analysis on the upcoming 29th Ordinary Summit of the AU policy organs being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as follows:
- Permanent Representative Committee (Ambassadors): 27 – 28 June 2017
- Executive Council (Ministers of Foreign Affairs): 30 June – 1st July 2017
- Assembly of the Union (Heads of State and Government): 3-4 July 2017
In addition, several statutory meetings of various AU organs and parallel events are scheduled. The official agenda of the Summit is not yet publicly available. This Summit will be the first to be organized by the new leadership of the AU Commission.
With or without observers?
It is unclear if the corridors of the Summit will be open for observers during the sessions. The Assembly has already decided in January 2017 under Kagame’s Report that “external parties shall only be invited to AU Summits on an exceptional basis and for a specific purpose determined by the interests of the African Union”. The question here is to know if African citizens’ formations/CSOs are also considered as “external parties” knowing that the AU claims to be a people driven organization.
Permanent/Resident Representatives of Non-African States and International Organizations will likely be invited for the official opening and closing ceremonies of the Assembly and the Executive Council. The Media is normally invited.
Key strategic issues likely to be on the Agenda of the Summit: (Youth, AU reform, Peace and Security, AU Funding, Election of two remaining Commissioners, Agenda 2063 10-year implementation plan and Continental Trade Area …)
1/ Youth (Theme of the year): “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in the Youth”
A presentation and a presidential debate of more than 2 hours to be led by President Idriss Deby (Chad) is planned on the 3rd July. The youth are unlikely to be invited to this debate on the “Roadmap on harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in the Youth” developed by the AU Commission … It was agreed that such a roadmap should be domesticated and implemented by each member state. A couple of countries have in fact, already done a national launch. The Roadmap has the following pillars: 1- Employment and Entrepreneurship, 2- Education and Skill Development, 3- Health and Wellbeing, 4- Governance and Youth Empowerment.
A presidential solemn declaration on the youth may be adopted following the debate.
Burkina Faso has proposed for consideration an African Decade for Technical, Professional, Entrepreneurial and Employment Training in Africa (2017-2027)
2/ Institutional Reform of the African Union
President Paul Kagame (Rwanda) is expected to present a report on the implementation of his proposed reform plan for the AU, adopted by the Assembly in January this year. A decision will be taken on what has been done and what remains to be done.
Building on his success back home, President Kagame is intensifying the pressure to put the continental body on tract for effectiveness and efficiency to meet the on-going challenges that our continent is facing and to implement the ambitious Agenda 2063.
3/ Peace and Security
The Chairperson of the AU Commission is expected to provide a report on the state of peace and security in Africa with recommendations for the Assembly. Highlights will likely include South Sudan, CAR, Somalia, DRC, Mali etc… as well as emerging security threats such as cybercrime and trending threats such as maritime security and piracy, terrorist, fundamentalism and religious extremism etc.
Since he took over the chairmanship of the Commission in March this year, Chadian diplomat Moussa Faki Mahamat has clearly shown through his movements that peace and security is among his top priorities. In fact, “silencing the guns in Africa” has been his top message while campaigning to win his position. In just a few months, Moussa has already visited Africa’s major hotspots. A report on the implementation of the master roadmap of practical steps to silencing the guns in Africa by 2020 will then be considered by the Summit.
Silencing the guns by 2020?
Last year the African Union prepared a Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by 2020. It is a well elaborated document with the correct analysis of the situation … but then what is next? Let’s face it: Are we really moving towards silencing the guns in the next 3 years ? if so, what are we doing collectively and individually in our various capacity to get there? Can we silence the guns without ensuring democratic governance, decent and true elections, responsible and fair management of our natural resources? Can we break the vicious circle of conflicts without insuring justice and accountability for the heinous crimes being committed on our people by our people? …Alternation on power is one of the problems that we need to resolve collectively without further delay . There is an imperative in all societies to renew political leadership from time to time through credible elections. Since we are still struggling to ensure credible elections in Africa, alternation in power must be tabled and courageously discussed and adopted.
Beside the already burning conflict zones, I am worried about the silence and/or inaction of the continent on several potential and on-going risky situations such as Zambia, DRC, Cameroon, Zimbabwe etc.) where unacceptable pressures are being made on independent media, civil society and political opposition. Without abiding to our shared values contained in the various policies standards and treaties that we have adopted, I am afraid “silencing the guns” will remain a beautiful slogan!
We know the guns are mostly carried by desperate and vulnerable youth who, most of the time, have nothing else to lose. They are in Somalia, South Sudan, Darfur, CAR, DRC, Nigeria, Mali etc… They are in many other countries, they are trained and graduated but without job… some of them are choosing to leave the continent at any cost… In 2017 alone, more than 1,500 young Africans have perished in the Mediterranean Sea and many other died of thirst in the Sahara Desert, while trying to reach Europe.
Efforts made by the chairperson of the Commission on this issue must be matched by member states’ political will to guarantee democracy and rule of law and if most of the political regimes in our continent continue failing on democracy and rule of law, the road to peace and security, prerequisite for our development agenda will be long, very long…
A contribution to the ways forward: We need to imagine courageous tools and make bold steps to change the paradigms… the Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by 2020 has very useful ideas… but how do we ”force” the power holders to make these happen? We all know the main root causes of our conflicts… So the 1st step for silencing the guns is an environment of democracy, respect of the human rights and the rules of law and a decent and inclusive management of national wealth aiming at reducing inequality… But again how do we monitor this and ensure it is happening? I am imagining, an independent High Level Task Force on democracy, rule of law, human rights and good governance to be appointed by the Assembly of the Union in order to systematically track the implementation by member states, of democracy, rule of law and human rights and equality/inclusivity standards contained in our various instruments, especially their relation with fragility and conflicts in different countries in the continent. The Task Force shall be able to make public without any condition, its Report of the state of democracy rule of law and human rights in Africa… so it will become clear to all of us which regimes are undermining our common aspirations. The said Task Force shall obviously work with and build on the existing mechanisms (APRM, AGA, APSA, Panel of the Wise…) What I wish to see here is a Task Force that is directly accountable to African people without the obstruction of the leadership… This may bring a heavier pressure them… Please share your views and comments on this…
We must stop praising the evil doing among ourselves, but rather start exposing and sanctioning them in line with our shared values. A lot must be done at country then regional levels… (see recent example from ECOWAS in The Gambia), then the AU Commission and other organs shall support… We all have a role to play in this… our people must stand up, like recently in Burkina Faso, and say a big NO to bad and irresponsible leadership, make sure that their votes are counted and their money are properly used, not stollen. The elite class has a big responsibility in sensitizing and mobilizing other for the good cause…
4/ Budget and Funding of the Union
According to the current projections, in 2018, the African Union will need about 800 Million USD for its operations ($154M), programmes ($296M) and peace support ($350M). The approved 2017 budget amounts 782 Million USD.
It is unlikely that AU Member states meet this year, their commitment made in 2015/2016 to cover 100% of AU operational budget, 75% of programme budget and 25% of peace support operation budget.
So far AU Member States have been paying less than 30% of the overall budget of the Union. More than 70% is paid by external partners.
Uncertainty on the source of funding of the Union: Donald Kaberuka, the High Representative for the AU Peace Fund is expected to provide an updated report on the implementation of the new funding strategy adopted by the Union in July 2016 in Kigali, by which 0.2 % levy on eligible imports should be collected from each member state to fund the AU. According to on-going technical discussions in closed doors, a number of AU member states are dragging their feet on coming up with domestic legislation to implement the Kigali Decision, evoking different excuses including those relating to the WTO rules… I have 2 questions on this: 1- Where were our member states’ technical experts on international trade at the time this decision was discussed?… 2 – Is it not the mechanism ECOWAS has been using for years? What is different here? Please share your views/comments below…
It is however encouraging to know that some member states (Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana etc) have been moving in the right direction by taking legislative national measures to implement the 0.2% commitment.
5/ Election of 2 Commissioners
In January, the Assembly elected the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson and appointed 6 Commissioners elected by the Executive Council out of 8 portfolios. The remaining following 2 Commissioners will be elected during the upcoming Summit.
- Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology
- Commissioner for Economic Affairs.
According to the gender and geographical representation policies of the AU, the 2 commissioners should be 1 male from the Eastern Region 1 female from the Central Region.
At the closure of the deadline, the AUC received the following application from the Deans of the regions:
Candidates for the post of Commissioner for Human Resources Science and Technology:
- Sarah Mbi Enow ANYANG AGBOR from Cameroon, Female, Central Africa Region
- Dr. John Patrick KABAYO from Uganda, Male, East Africa Region
Candidates for the post of Commissioner for Economic Affairs
- Hon. Yacin Elmi BOUH from Djibouti, Male East Africa region
- Newaye Christos GEBRE-AB from Ethiopia, Male, East Africa Region
- Victor HARISON from Madagascar, Male, East Africa Region
- Marthe Chantal Ndjepang MBAJON from Cameroon, Female, Central Africa Region
For the election of Commissioners, the statutes of the AU Commission imposes a pre-selection process at the regional level. Each region shall nominate 2 candidates for each portfolio. The nomination process shall be based on modalities to be determined by the region.
6/ Agenda 2063 : First 10-year implementation plan
A progress report on the implementation of the Agenda 2063 will be presented to the Summit. An African Economic Platform has been held for the first time this year with the aim to discuss cross-cutting issues that affect Africa’s economies and ways of which opportunities and options from these could be harnessed to ensure continental transformation. The other progress made is the domestication of the agenda into national planning frameworks done by several member states, the process on the Continental Free Trade Area and the African Commodities Strategy as well several discussions held with traditional and new partners. We should not however forget the fact that the realization of the Agenda 2063 is conditioned by a peaceful environment within the continent.
On the implementation of decisions: Less than 15% of African Union decisions are actually implemented and the upcoming summit will make more decisions… It is important to insist on the urgent need to change the rules of the game and to do things differently in terms of realizing the promises made through agreed policy frameworks and standards. If our leaders cannot implement their own decisions, why are they continuing meeting to take more decisions? Up to 5,000 delegates or more attend the AU summit 2 times every year to take an average of 40 decisions per summit. In between summits, hundreds of other policy meetings are held in different capitals. The average cost of a full member states meeting is between 300,000 – 1Milion USD… Some Specialized Technical Committees meetings cost up to 1.5 Million USD. At the end, if only less than 15% the decisions made are implemented… how can we make it to 2063?
This article will be updated regularly until the Summit starts: Last update: 9 June.
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