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Three Things the G20 must do to support Africa in COVID-19 Pandemic
March 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
The G20 Summit 2019 in Osaka, Japan .Photo Reuters
The G20 Summit 2019 in Osaka, Japan .Photo Reuters

Addis Ababa, 26 March 2020 (ECA) – This is a global crisis affecting the whole world. Africa, however, will be hit harder with a heavy and durable economic toll, which will threaten progress and prospects, widen inequalities between and within countries, and worsen current fragilities.

African countries need support in preparing for the health crisis, and for the economic fallout. The measures being taken in Asia, Europe and North America such as physical (social) distancing and regular hand washing will be a particular challenge for countries with limited internet connectivity, dense populations, unequal access to water and limited social safety nets.

In line with the steps being taken across the globe, African countries are preparing for the worst effects of this pandemic.

Here are the three things the G20 must do:

1. Support for an immediate health and human response

a. G20 leaders should support and encourage open trade corridors, especially for pharmaceuticals and other health supplies, as well as support for the upgrade of health infrastructure and provide direct support to existing facilities. This will enable countries to focus on prevention as much as possible and start building curative facilities. Support should be provided to WHO and CDC Africa with funds channelled through the Global Fund, GAVI and others.

b. G20 leaders should support public health campaigns and access to information including through an expedited private sector partnership for internet connectivityto enable economic activity to continue during social distancing measures and to support the effective sharing of information about the pandemic.

2. Deliver an immediate emergency economic stimulus to African governments in their efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic

a. G20 leaders should announce a US$100 billion (in addition to the $50bn already committed) to fund the immediate health response, social safety nets for the most vulnerable, feeding for out of school children, and to protect jobs. As a proportion of GDP this is consistent with measures taken in other regions. To ensure immediate fiscal space and liquidity, this package should include a waiver of all interest payments, estimated at US$44 billion for 2020.

b. G20 leaders should support a waiver on principal and interest for African Fragile States such as the Sahel, Central African Republic and others who are already struggling with the burden of debt and have limited fiscal space.

c. G20 leaders should endorse for enhanced predictability, transparency and accountability of financial flows so finance ministers can plan effectively and civil society stakeholders can help track flows to ensure reach those most in need.

3. Implement emergency measures to protect 30 million jobs immediately at risk across the continent, particularly in the tourism and airline sectors.

a. G20 leaders should take measures to support agricultural imports and exports, the pharmaceutical sector and the banking sector. An extended credit facility, refinancing schemes and guarantee facilities should be used to waive, restructure and provide additional liquidity in 2020.

b. G20 leaders should support a liquidity line available to the private sector operating in Africa to ensure essential purchases can continue and all SMEs dependent on trade can continue to function.

c. G20 leaders should ensure that national and regional stimulus packages covering private and financial systems include measures to support African businesses through allowing for the suspension of leasing, debt and other repayments to global businesses

*Economic assessments of the impact of COVID-19  presented to the African Ministers of Finance can be found here: uneca.org/vc-covid19-impact-africa

*Source ECA

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The African Union and the European Union join forces for ensuring peace in Africa
March 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 18, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The African Union Commission and the European Union Delegation to the Africa Union signed the fourth EU Support Programme for the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (EU APSA IV). The signing took place on the margins of the AU – EU Commission to Commission meeting that was held in Addis Ababa on 28 February 2020.

The EU has committed 40.5 million Euro support to APSA-IV intends to, over the next four years, further strengthen the capacity and coordination of APSA components to adapt to emerging security challenges in Africa.

In particular, through the African Peace Facility, the European Union will support activities of the African Union Commission, the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution in the areas of:

  • Conflict cycle management, with a focus on Early Warning Systems and the African Standby Force;
  • Effective coordination and partnership at all levels within the APSA (including with Civil Society Organizations);
  • Engagement with and inclusiveness of youth and children in tackling APSA aspects.

While reinforcing early warning data collection at regional and continental level, and reinforce informed decision making, this new contribution will also contribute to the further operationalisation of the African Standby Force and will reinforce engagement of youth and civil society for peace. It will also tackle some of the new threats to stability on the continent such as terrorism, trafficking and climate change related risks to peace and security.

Speaking on the occasion of the signing of the new Agreement, the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui, welcomed the launching of the funding for the Fourth EU Support Programme to the African Peace and Security Architecture (EU APSA IV). The Commissioner, reaffirmed the AU leadership and ownership in promoting peace and security on the continent and expressed readiness to take further actions towards reinforcing synergies and coordination in tackling global challenges through cooperation and partnership.

“The signing of APSA IV is an important milestone in the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa and globally as it enables the AU, the RECs and RMs to implement concrete actions and objectives aimed at achieving a conflict-free Africa. Furthermore, this support will enhance the efforts of the AU in realising the vision of Africa to silence the silencing the Guns and create conducive conditions for Africa’s development. Indeed, the APF has been instrumental in the AU peace efforts in various areas, including Darfur in Sudan, Somalia, the Central African Republic (CAR), among others” stressed, Commissioner Chergui.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union, the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms Jutta Urpilainen, noted:

“We consider it crucial for Europe to continue supporting African-led initiatives and to work together on the financing of African-led peace initiatives. Therefore in a world were crises are becoming more complex and protracted, the fourth EU Support Programme to reinforce the capacities of and cooperation between African Peace and Security Architecture stakeholders (EU APSA IV) represents one of the priorities of the EU cooperation with the African Union”.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the African Union Commission.

Useful links
https://www.africa-eu-partnership.org/en/financial-support-partnership-p…
https://www.peaceau.org/en/topic/the-african-peace-and-security-architec…

Contacts
Pablo Isla Villar – Programme manager EU Delegation to the African Union – Pablo.ISLA-VILLAR@eeas.europa.eu
Brenda Mofya – Senior Programme Officer, African Union Commission, MofyaB@africa-union.org

For further information please contact:
Ms. Esther Tankou Azaa | Head of Information Division | African Union Commission African Union Commission| E-mail: YambouE@africa-union.org|

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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African Union’s Commission and the European Commission meet in Kigali
February 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
Chairperson of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat speaks during a briefing to the press, next to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen during her visit to the African Union in Addis Ababa, on December 7, 2019. (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP) (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images)

The European Union and Africa are longstanding strategic partners, whose prosperity and security are closely interlinked. The partnership between Africa and Europe is finally coming of age and it’s time to take it to a new level. Africa wants to take its future into its own hands and Europe needs a strong Africa. Our aspirations coincide. We both want to create good jobs, manage human mobility, drive the digital innovation, reconcile economic growth and the environment, and silence the guns in Africa. We are both ready to play our part to achieve these goals.

In the coming months, our two continents will discuss how to turn these aspirations into reality. This week the African Union’s Commission and the European Commission hold the tenth meeting in our history – as the first milestone in a year that can redefine cooperation between our continents, shortly before the EU presents its new comprehensive Africa Strategy. The goal is for both sides to take their cooperation to a new level in the Africa-Europe Summit in October.

Our two continents are changing fast and the world is much more complex, but with the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development or the Paris Agreement we have showed that if Europe and Africa join forces we can help shape a better future for the next generations.

We need a stronger partnership to tackle the key challenges of today, be it the green transition or the digital transformation, attend to the aspirations of our youth and fight inequalities.

Economic growth in Africa continues to outperform that of the other continents: Africa will be home to the majority of the world’s fastest growing economies in the coming years. Business environments are improving and the digital revolution is spreading fast: three in four Africans have a mobile phone, and African start-ups attract investment from all over the world. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement could add a multiplying effect to all these trends.

We owe it to the future generations to leave them a healthy planet. The future will be green or there will be no future. It depends on our collective ability to stop global warming. No place suffers more than Africa from climate change. European Commission is pushing for bold action inside Europe on all these issues. The European Green Deal will make Europe the first climate neutral continent. But solutions will only be sustainable if they are agreed and shared across continents.

Together we can create an economy that works for the people, boosting investment in strategic sectors and investing in the education and skills our youth need to succeed in the labour market. We can scale up the use of digital technologies to improve business, health care and service delivery. And we can do so lowering the carbon footprint in the process. Africa does not have to repeat the same mistakes that other continents did: it can move directly to a new economic model, which is more respectful of the planet and more technologically advanced.

Our cooperation does not start from scratch. Our sister organizations have been working for over two decades. The EU is Africa’s first partner in trade, investment, development assistance and security.

We are working closely together in support of Africa’s initiative to silence the guns by 2020.

Europe has consistently supported African solutions to African problems and has mobilised 3.5 billion euros since 2004 through the African Peace Facility.

This year has to bring about tangible change for Africans and Europeans. The 2020s can be the decade of a new and more mature friendship between our two continents. Together we can build solutions that work for Africa and for Europe alike.

*EU

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At Pre-Launch Of African Diaspora Development Institute In Maryland-USA, Ambassador Arikana Receives Award For Promoting Pan-Africanism
December 15, 2019 | 0 Comments
Ambassador Arikana receives award for promoting Pan-Africanism (photo: Amos Fofung for Pan African Visions)
Ambassador Arikana receives award for promoting Pan-Africanism (photo: Amos Fofung for Pan African Visions)

Ambassador Arikana Chihombori-Quao former African Union Ambassador to the United States of America has been honored with an award for her firm stand on promoting the Pan-African spirit and driving socio-economic development to the African continent.

She received recognition from Prince Adekoye, Chief Executive Officer of Africa400years.org, a New Jersey-based organization that commemorates and celebrates Africa and Africans in remembrance of 400 years of slavery.  

Ambassador Arikana served as the AU ambassador to the US from 2017 right up to October 2019 when she got terminated purportedly due to her strong stance on France occupation hold over its former African colonies, which she shared publicly.

Speaking as she receives the recognition which she dedicated to Pan-African legends before her, the medical doctor and activist reputed for her grasp of public speaking, thanked the African diaspora who turned out for the pre-launch of the African Diaspora Development Institute, ADDI, a body which she added will henceforth be the go-to place for development initiatives in Africa.

Addressing attendees at the soft launch of ADDI a brainchild of hers, the renowned public speaker and educationist cum entrepreneur urged the diaspora to come together and invest in building #TheAfricaWeWant or sit back and watch foreigners do so while ripping millions off their continent.

And to build this Africa, she said it was important they do so via the ADDI, an umbrella African diaspora organization where all Africans in the diaspora ought to convene to build #TheAfricaWeWant by driving healthcare, education and socio-economic development to the continent.

Registered and based in the United States, the institute African office will be situated in South Africa and will also include the putting in place of an African diaspora center of excellence and a Pan-African fund to raise money and invest in the African continent.

“I will not rest unless all Africans raise up to drive our development – the continental agenda of Africa must be driven by children of the continent,” she said categorically as she enjoined all to turn out in February 2020 for the official launching of the continental institute.

Ambassador Arikana dedicated the award to Pan-African legends (photo: Amos Fofung for Pan African Visions)
Ambassador Arikana dedicated the award to Pan-African legends (photo: Amos Fofung for Pan African Visions)

Prior to her appointment, Ambassador Arikana Chihombori-Quao was a renowned family medicine doctor in Murfreesboro, Tennessee where she has been practicing medicine for the last 25 years. Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao is known internationally for her diligent efforts to improve healthcare systems, particularly in countries in Africa, and to promote women’s rights around the globe.

Addressing attendees at the pre-launch (photo: Amos Fofung for Pan African Visions)
Addressing attendees at the pre-launch (photo: Amos Fofung for Pan African Visions)

Nearly 20 years ago, at a conference organized by then-Africa Resources, Presidents Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe presented the noted philanthropist with an Achievement Award. This was her first major distinction.

Since 2012, she was the Chair of the African Union-African Diaspora Health Initiative (AU-ADHI) where she was involved in mobilizing the African Diaspora health professionals to assist in addressing the healthcare crisis on the continent of Africa.

In 2015 at the 25th AU Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dr. Chihombori-Quao was one of the fifteen women who received the “Women of Excellence Award” alongside President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Mrs. Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi, and Mrs. Winnie Mandela, the former first lady of South Africa, as well as several other prominent and remarkable African women.

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African Court begins 55th ordinary session
November 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights has today began its 55th Ordinary Session in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania.

The Judges, among others, will examine over 15 applications and at least nine Judgments are expected to be rendered before the close of the four-week Session on 29 November 2019.

The Session will also discuss the Court’s work plan for 2020 and will be updated on the status of the Court’s permanent premises. The Court currently operates from the premises of the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) in Burka area.

The Session is also expected to review the just ended Fourth African Judicial Dialogue in Kampala, Uganda, under the theme: ‘’Tackling Contemporary Human Rights Issues: The Role of the Judiciary in Africa’’. 

The Judicial Dialogue brought about 300 participants, including Chief Justices and the Presidents of Constitutional Courts of the AU Member States, among others.

The Judges will also review the First International Court Forum on Human Rights which preceded the Judicial Dialogue, also in Kampala. The Forum brought together the Judges of the African Court, the Inter-American Court and the European Court of Human Rights and concluded with the Kampala Declaration.

The 10th Extra-Ordinary Session will be held from 2 to 6 November, also in Zanzibar, and among others, will consider some proposals for amendments to the Rules of Court.

The Judges will pay a courtesy call on the President of Zanzibar H.E Dr Ali Mohamed Shein.

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Much Ado About Nothing?- AU Pours Cold Water On Furor After Arikana Recall
October 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

-Her successor will build on the solid foundation she has laid- AU Chair Faki

By Ajong Mbapndah L

The replacement was normal diplomatic practice for political appointees, says AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki

After suffering a week of acerbic  criticisms over the decision to end the tenure of Ambassador Chimbori Arikana as Ambassador to the USA, African Union Chairman Moussa Faki has dismissed as “patently untrue” insinuations that her pronouncements,and opinions predicated the decision.

“Dr Chihombori has maintained a public presence freely without fear or prejudice to voice her opinions,” Ebba Kalondo, Spokesperson for Chairman Faki in a statement issued today.

 “Political appointees at the African Union, including Dr Chihombori, are appointed at the discretion of the appointing authority. The duration of such political appointments is also determined at the discretion of that appointing authority,” Kalondo said in the statement.

According to Kalondo, in the course of her three year tenure, the AU Commission never found any reason to sanction Ambassador Arikana over any of her public presence.

“Dr Chihombori has maintained a public presence freely without fear or prejudice to voice her opinions. Therefore to state or suggest that Ambassador Chihombori’s termination of service is due to any pronouncements she has made, or opinions she may have held during her three-year tenure, is patently untrue,” Kalondo said.

The replacement of Ambassador Arikana was normal diplomatic practice for political appointees everywhere, said Faki’s spokesperson, while expressing hope that her successor will build on the solid foundation she has laid.

The decision to replace Arikana triggered a fire storm and some harsh words from her supporters towards AU Chairman Moussa Faki.While some seasoned professionals and Washington connoisseurs were not surprised with the decision to replace the outgoing Ambassador, her partisans thought the decision was engineered by the French government which did not appreciate her straight talk.

While the statement from Chairman Faki may put the controversy to rest, a Change.org petition to reinstate Arikana has so far garnered some 30,000 signatures.

Full Letter from Ebba Kalondo,Spokesperson to the Chairperson of the African Union Commission below.

Communiqué on the end of tenure of Ambassador Arikana Chihombori-Quao, AU Permanent Representative to Washington, DC

Addis Abeba, 15 October 2019: The African Union Commission is aware of reports circulating on social media making claims surrounding the circumstances of the recall of the Permanent Representative of the African Union Mission to the United States of America, Dr Arikana Chihombori-Quao.

Political appointees at the African Union, including Dr Chihombori, are appointed at the discretion of the appointing authority. The duration of such political appointments is also determined at the discretion of that appointing authority.

Dr Chihombori received a letter on 7 October 2019 bringing her tour of duty to an end, in line with the terms and conditions governing her contract of appointment, after serving three years as Permanent Representative of the African Union Mission to the United States of America, and appreciating her contribution to the Union during her tenure. This is normal diplomatic practice for political appointees everywhere.

Dr Chihombori has never been sanctioned by the Commission on any public pronouncements she has made during her three-year tenure and nor has the Commission ever thought the need to do so. On the contrary, Dr Chihombori has maintained a public presence freely without fear or prejudice to voice her opinions. Therefore to state or suggest that Ambassador Chihombori’s termination of service is due to any pronouncements she has made, or opinions she may have held during her three-year tenure, is patently untrue.

We wish our esteemed colleague the best in her future endeavours and trust her successor will build on the solid foundation she has laid.

Ebba Kalondo
Spokesperson to the Chairperson of the AfricanUnion Commission
Mobile: +251911510512
Email: KalondoE@africa-union.org

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Mixed Reactions Trail Sack Of AU Ambassador to The USA
October 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

The decision to remove Ambassador Arikana has divided opinions.

By Ajong Mbapndah L

A few months shy of a third year in office, Ambassador Arikana Chihombori-Quao was notified by the African Union Chairman Moussa Faki that her stint had come to an end.

“In line with the terms and conditions of service covering your appointment as permanent Representative of the AU to the USA, I have decided to terminate your appointment with effect from 1st Nov 2019,” read the letter from Chairman Faki to Ambassador Arikana.

Sent from the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa on 7 October, the letter expresses appreciation to Ambassador Arikana for her constant commitment to African causes, and the great contribution she has made to the continental organization.

In the letter, Chairman Faki expresses confidence that Ambassador Arikana will continue to render services to Mother Africa in future endeavors.

While the decision from Chairman Faki may appear as a routine change considering that others have previously served before Ambassador Arikana, tongues are wagging in Washington,DC , and the decision has not gone down well with some of her partisans.

So furious are her partisans that the unprecedented move of creating on an online petition on Change.Org. Initiated by Prof. Apollos Nwauwa who  signed as Secretary of the African Diaspora Union, the petition is calling on the African Union to reinstate Ambassador Arikana.

“Dr. Chihombori-Quao has spoken globally to sensitize and empower all peoples of African Descent to come together and build the “Africa We Want” as adopted in African Union Agenda 2063,” the petition read.

“Not everyone is embracing her bold but honest discourses for effecting change for the betterment of Africa.  On October 7th, 2019, Ambassador Quao was relieved of her position as the “Permanent Ambassador” in a unilateral decision made by the African Union Commission Chairman without any hearing or explanation, and yet presented as representing the opinions of all 55 countries.”

The petition goes further to ask a series of questions surrounding her ouster. “why was she dismissed, or better, who benefits from her removal? Were African heads of states and governments consulted? Who called the shot? Or is Africa, and peoples of African descent, still facing the debilitating effects of modern colonialism or neocolonialism?”

Though no reason was given for the removal of Arikana nor were reasons always given for the departure of some of her predecessors, some of her supporters believe that it may not be unrelated to her hyper activism ,and blunt critique of the colonial legacy that still holds Africa hostage.

Making allusion to a widely circulated video in which she lashed out at the Berlin conference, and fingered the French for its monetary policies that have continued colonization of Africa in a different form, supporters of Arikana believe that AU Chair Moussa Faki may have been pressured by outside forces to terminate her appointment.They point to the fact that the video which was previously posted on the AU website was inexplicably pulled down within three weeks despite the excitement it generated.

Arikana who has not issued a formal statement, was viewed by some Washington players as blurring the line between activism and diplomacy. You are either one or the other, said a source.  While he lauded Ambassador Arikana for bringing more vibrancy to the AU Mission in Washington,DC, the source said the activist part of Ambassador was bound to ruffle feathers,in Washington and beyond,  and her departure was bound to come sooner or later. Still, the source said he will not like to read so much meaning into the decision to relieve Ambassador Arikana of her duties. Ambassadors come and go, and there is no reason for her to be an exception he went on.Citing the letter from Faki and the dynamism of Ambassador Arikana, the source said there definitely will be plenty of opportunities out there for her to be of high profile service to Africa especially in capacities where diplomatic niceties will not be a burden to her.

“I do not know how the letter that was supposed to be meant for Ambassador Arikana went viral,” said another source from the African -American Community in Washington, DC. She had great passion for Africa and we hope her replacement builds on her successes, he said.

On the profile of the ideal replacement, he said, Chairman Faki could appoint another female Ambassador, someone equally dynamic, with a better understanding of how Africa and Washington work. Washington has its dynamics, and the AU will be better served with the appointment of someone who has a through mastery of these dynamics ,he said.

Meanwhile as of press time, the petition on Change.Org had garnered some 2000 signatures.

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African court to begin 54th ordinary session
September 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights will begin its 54th Ordinary Session on Monday, 2 September 2019, at its Seat in Arusha, Tanzania, according to a spokesperson.

It is reported that the Judges, among others, will examine over 15 applications and at least six Judgments are expected to be rendered before the close of the four-week Session on 27 September 2019.

The Session is also expected to review the preparations for the Fourth African Judicial Dialogue slated for October 30 to 1 November 2019 in Kampala, Uganda, under the theme: ‘’Tackling Contemporary Human Rights Issues: The Role of the Judiciary in Africa’’. 

 The Judicial Dialogue brings together the Chief Justices and the Presidents of Constitutional Courts of the AU Member States.

The Judges will also discuss the progress on the First International Court Forum on Human Rights to be held from 4 to 5 November in Zanzibar. The Forum will involve the Judges of the African Court, the Inter-American Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

 

 

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AU, African Development Bank sign $4.8 million grant earmarked for continental free trade secretariat
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 06 July 19 – The African Development Bank Group on Monday signed a $4.8 million institutional support grant to the African Union (AU) for implementation   of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The grant, approved by the Group’s Board of Directors on 01 April 2019, forms part of a series of interventions by the Bank in its lead role to accelerate implementation of the Free Trade Agreement, seen as a major force for integrating the 55-nation continent and transforming its economy.

Albert Muchanga, AU’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry, initialed for the continental body, and Obed Andoh Mensah, representing the Bank’s Director of the Industrial and Trade Development Department (PITD), signed on behalf of the Bank, signaling the startup of implementation.

African leaders meeting in Niamey, Niger in early July launched the implementation phase of the free trade area agreement established in March 2018 after it became operational at the end of May this year. Currently, 54 states have signed the deal and are set to begin formal trading next July.

“The AfCFTA is going to work and we are  confident that by the 1st of July next year, all the 55 countries would have been state parties – meaning, they would have signed and ratified the agreement and intra-African will start,” Muchanga said and urged countries to use this period to complete the parliamentary processes.

Muchanga commended the Bank’s strong and consistent support to ensure smooth implementation of the Agreement, saying the grant would be used judiciously for the rollout of various protocols relating to the structure and mandate of the AfCFTA secretariat.

The AU currently has an interim secretariat, tasked to provide the organizational structure for the permanent administrative body, its work program and related issues including its budget. The Niamey summit announced the siting of the AfCFTA secretariat in Accra, Ghana.

The Continental Free Trade deal has the potential to create the largest free-trade area in the world.  – uniting 55 African countries with a combined gross domestic product of more than $2.5 trillion. It is a major force for continental integration and expansion of intra African trade, currently estimated at around 16%.

The trade agreement is expected to expand intra-African trade by up to $35 billion per year, ease movement of goods, services and people across the continent’s borders and cut imports by $10 billion, while boosting agriculture and industrial exports by 7% and 5% respectively.

In his remarks, Andoh Mensah stressed that the deal will help stabilize African countries, allow small and medium sized enterprises to flourish, promote industrialization and lift millions out of poverty.

“If the AfCFTA is complemented by trade facilitation reforms, reduction in non-tariff barriers, improved infrastructure and policy measures to encourage employment and private sector investments, it will stimulate poverty reduction and socio-economic development across Africa,” he said, noting that the goals of AfCFTA are aligned to the Bank’s flagship High 5s.

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African Union hit by sexual harassment claims
November 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

The AUC chairperson formed a special team to investigate sexual harassment claims after he received an anonymous letter alerting him of the abuse

The AUC chairperson formed a special team to investigate sexual harassment claims after he received an anonymous letter alerting him of the abuse

Sexual harassment is a major problem for women who work at the African Union Commission (AUC), an internal investigation has found.

Most of the victims are short-term staff, youth volunteers and interns looking for jobs, the report said.

Those responsible “position themselves as ‘gate-keepers’ and ‘king-makers'”, it added.

The inquiry was launched in May and all staff members who had a complaint were invited for a confidential interview.

The special committee was formed by the AUC Chairperson, Moussa Faki, after an anonymous letter alerted him to the abuse.

The team found 44 cases of alleged sexual harassment and that young women were being “exploited for sex in exchange for jobs”.

The report did not name any of the alleged perpetrators.

Staff behind the harassment made “believable promises to young women that they will be offered contracts,” the report said.

Mr Faki says a policy on sexual harassment at work will be set up

Mr Faki says a policy on sexual harassment at work will be set up

Interviewees said reporting incidents of sexual harassment was often counterproductive as there was no process internally to do so because the AUC does not have a sexual harassment policy.

The team also found incidents of bribery, corruption, bullying, discrimination and intimidation.

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian paper says the inquiry was established after it reported on a petition signed by 37 female members of AU staff complaining about sexual harassment at the commission.

The AU Commission, which has its headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, said that given the findings and serious allegations, it would establish “a comprehensive sexual harassment policy that protects the victims and takes the strongest punitive measures against any perpetrator”.

Mr Faki would also form an internal committee to look into all the reported cases and make recommendations, a statement said.

*BBC

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“This is a watershed moment for Africa.” Deputy Chairperson shares insights on the ongoing financial reforms of the Union.
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

African Union Headquarters; 12th November 2018: At 31st Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July 2018, a budget of US$681,485,337 was approved for the financial year 2019. The budget covers three components operational, programme and peace support operations. The Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Amb. Kwesi Quartey, shares the five key takeaways of the adoption of the 2019 budget in what he describes as a watershed moment for Africa.

1. Give us a brief on the 2019 budget of the Union.
Amb. Kwesi; The Assembly of the Union adopted the 2019 budget for the Union at a total of US$681,485,337 at the African Union Summit held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July 2018. This amount reflects a significant decrease of the annual budget by 12%, compared to the 2018 budget. It is also a reflection that the share of AU member states financing the budget has substantially increased compared to the partner funding in previous years. If you look at the 2019 budget, excluding the peace support operations, member states will contribute 66% of the budget while 34% is expected to be secured from our development Partners.
This increase of member states contribution has come about by implementing the decision on financing of the Union to fund the activities and agenda of the Union. Through this mechanism, we can see that the continent is gradually realizing its vision of reliable, predictable and sustainable funding of its agenda. The 2019 budget also demonstrates an enhanced process of domestic resources mobilization but most importantly, stringent measures are now in place to ensure the prudent use of these resources to meet the development needs of our Continent
The breakdown of the 2019 budget is as follows; US$161.4 million will go into financing the operational budget of the Union, US$252.8 million will go into the program budget while US$273.3 million will finance Peace Support operations.

2. The preparation of the 2019 budget is said to be significantly different from the previous budget preparations, why is that?
Amb. Kwesi; Yes, the 2019 budget is different because the Union has adopted new ways of programme planning and budget process, to ensure greater accountability in line with the implementation of the decision of Financing on the Union.

This is the first time we had joint sittings of the AU Commission and organs, the Committee of Finance Ministers (F15) technical experts and the Permanent Representatives’ Committee sub-Committees of General Supervision and Coordination on Budget, Finance and Administrative matters and of Programs and Conferences, to prepare the budget. The preparation took about five weeks consecutively, looking carefully at the budget of each spending unit of the Union to ensure it complied with the nine golden rules.

During the 2019 budget, we also introduced the budget ceilings for departments and organs based on their track record on prudent execution rate, the ability to reach their targets and aligning their programmes strictly, to the priorities of the Union. This will greatly enhance the budget execution and ensure the expenditure is linked to results.

These joint sittings were also held at the ministerial level by the Committee of Ministers of Finance (F15) before the budget was presented to the Executive Council and the Assembly for adoption. The Committee of Ministers of Finance has since assumed responsibility for oversight of the African Union budget and Reserve Fund.

Related article- Financial reforms at the African Union lead to massive cuts of the Union’s Budget. https://au.int/en/pressreleases/20180706/financial-reforms-african-union…

3. You have made reference to the nine golden rules, tell us more about that.
Amb. Kwesi; The nine golden rules are financial management and accountability principles adopted by the Assembly of the Union in January 2018. These rules are meant to ensure financial discipline within the Union to enable us decisively address issues of low execution rates, identify undetected wastages and instances of over-budgeting by departments or organs, as well as ensure full compliance with the African Union financial rules and regulations.

So far, we have fully implemented four of the nine golden rules. There is an interlinking factor on the application of all the nine rules with the progress in the implementation of the decision on financing of the Union and therefore we will soon have the other five rules applied.

The nine golden rules speak to the fact that;
a) Member states’ contributions should cover a minimum threshold of the budget to ensure the Union’s self-sufficiency and sustainability, thereby decreasing dependence on external funding.
b) The rules recognize the need for major changes to be effected to ensure revenues are predictable. This touches on elements such as the full payment of assessed contributions by Member States and partners’ contribution, for the revenue streams to be centrally coordinated.
c) The rules also speak to the credibility of the AU budgeting system which must be based on a fully integrated and automated financial management system.
d) As I mentioned earlier, one of the rules is the annual budget ceiling which is communicated to department and organs before they submit their budget proposals.
e) Also, it is important that expenditure must at all times, be authorized for virements, surplus budgets and spending that exceeds approved budgets.
f) Another key rule, is seeing to it that resource flows and transactions are reliable and efficient. Funds must be provided to departments and organs in the agreed amounts at the agreed times.
g) Institutional accountability is of utmost importance, to ensure the flow of funds is tracked to service delivery units. This requires the harmonization of all the different management systems we use.
h) Reporting is also an integral part of the financial management process. The Financial Rules and Regulations requires that departments and organs report all activities for which funds have been received, as part of the compliance and quarterly performance reports.
i) Finally, there is also the aspect on centralizing the process for engaging partners to avoid unilateral engagements for partner funded programmes.
These rules are currently being translated into AU policy and procedures and will also be reflected in the AU’s updated Financial Rules and Procedures.

4. In regards to the decision on Financing of the Union, what is the progress on that since its adoption in 2016?
Amb. Kwesi; There is commendable progress in the collection of the 0.2% levy by member states. 11 of our member states paid their 2018 assessed contributions to the AU, either partially or in full, through the new financing arrangement. We have 24 States that are at various stages of domesticating the Kigali Decision on Financing the Union and of these, 14 are actually collecting the levy.

Let me also add that there is flexibility built into the implementation of the 0.2%. Member States have the ability to determine the appropriate form and the means they will use to implement the decision in line with their national and international obligations. It is for this reason that Member States that are, for example, members of the World Trade Organization have implemented the 0.2% levy without contravening their international trade obligations.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, the introduction of the golden rules and the joint sittings have provided stronger technical oversight of the AU budget.

Lastly, I think I would highlight the operationalization of the Peace Fund as a remarkable milestone. This year our Member States have contributed over US$55.9 million to the Peace Fund, which is the largest amount of money Member States have ever contributed to the Peace Fund since it was established in 1993.

5. What are your projections in advancing the ongoing financial reforms?
Amb. Kwesi; Looking at the progressive developments in Africa’s self-financing agenda, I believe this is a watershed moment for Africa. Our focus is to gradually move towards funding 100% of the Union’s operational budget, 75% of the programme budget and 25% of peace support operations by 2021, for the full ownership of the Union’s agenda.
We are working on revising the Scale of Assessment as currently, 48% of the Union’s budget is dependent on the contributions of only 5 member states under “Tier 1” of the scale of assessment. This presents clear risks to the stability of the budget. It is for this reason that in a meeting held in August 2017, Ministers of Finance recommended the introduction of ‘caps’ and ‘minima’ to our existing scale of assessment, in order to improve overall burden-sharing and risk reduction.

We also want to strengthen the sanctions regime for non-payment of contributions to ensure AU Member States payments are made on time. Under the current sanctions regimes, Member States non-payment are classified to be in default only if they are in arrears for two full years. This has led to a trend where about 33% of the assessed contributions are regularly held in arrears.

Finally, we are working towards developing a credible medium-term budget framework (2019-2021) based on revenue forecasts and capacity to spend. This will enable the Union to improve the credibility of its budget, strengthen financial management capacity and accountability and demonstrate value for money and results to its Member States. We are committed to ensure the highest standards of finance and budget management as well as seeing to it that we have a credible budget based on capacity to spend and proper revenue forecasts.

For more information, contact:
Ms. Doreen Apollos | Communication Advisor | Bureau of the Deputy Chairperson.
E-mail: ApollosD@africa-union.org | Tel: +251 115182737

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ACBF appointed African Union specialised agency for capacity development
February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission with African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) management after ceremony in Harare

Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission with African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) management after ceremony in Harare

The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) has been appointed as a specialised agency for capacity development by the African Union (AU) at a ceremony endorsed by Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of
the African Union Commission in Harare.

Under the new framework, capacity development activities ACBF is going to undertake under will include enhancing skills required to achieve sustainable development,strengthening the human and institutional capacity of national and regional institutions,promoting economic and social transformation through policy formulation,implementation, monitoring and evaluation focusing on Africa’s developmental agenda and generating and sharing knowledge on capacity development.

It is reported that the African Union Commission shall, subject to its applicable internal procedures facilitate effective collaboration with ACBF Agency through the commission and other relevant organs of the Union, collaborate with the ACBF Agency in joint resource mobilization initiatives for the financing of
capacity building interventions in the continent and facilitate the ACBF Agency role in coordinating capacity building initiatives on the African continent.

The ACBF agency shall also create a consultative forum in which Africans may participate as full partners in the establishment of priorities and the development of policies and programs to promote capacity building in policy analysis and development management, establish processes for coordinating capacity building efforts in
policy formulation and implementation that would lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness of
ongoing donor efforts, coordinate resource mobilization to provide funding and resources for capacity building in Africa, lead, coordinate and champion production of fit-for-purpose, high-quality, and timely capacity development knowledge in support of the implementation of Africa’s development priorities, coordinate
knowledge connection (government, private sector and academia), facilitation and sharing to improve development practices, coordinate capacity development advisory services and training at continental, regional and country levels to translate capacity development knowledge and learning into relevant and innovative methods and
practices, support the emergence of a knowledge-based economy to sustain development results
in Africa, publish and disseminate information related to capacity building and capacity
utilization in Africa, collaborate with national, bilateral or multilateral institutions carrying out specific capacity building and capacity utilization activities in Africa.

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