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STATEMENT OF VENEZUELAN AMBASSADOR TO THE PEOPLE OF AFRICAN UNION
May 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

25 May 2021

Sal, Cabo Verde

Ambassador Alex Saab is Deputy Permanent Representative to the African Union

This day is symbolic. On this day of celebration, it is the heart of all freedom fighters that we hear beating in unison. On May 25, 2021, we celebrate the liberation of a continent and peoples oppressed by imperialism and the West’s insatiable thirst for conquest. This ferocious quest for imperialist domination has led to the enslavement of Africa for centuries. Colonization has attempted to destroy African civilizations, cultures and traditions, has denied its history and humanity, has plundered its wealth and resources. But today we celebrate the resistance against this oppression, we admire the resilience of a people and a continent. 

This day of liberation is dear to me. It is meaningful in many ways. As Ambassador of Venezuela to the African Union, I fully share this “common vision of a united and strong Africa” and I fully adhere to this “noble ideals which guided the founding fathers of our Continental Organization and generations of Pan-Africanists in their determination to promote unity, solidarity, cohesion and cooperation among the peoples of Africa and African States”. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela intends to consolidate its friendly relations with African nations in full respect of these values. But this day of liberation is also dear to me as a freedom fighter against the imperialist domination that continues in various forms to oppress other cultures. I have in mind the oppressed, I have in mind the persecuted, I have in mind the unfortunate ones chained by the neo-colonial power that continues, in other forms, to enslave. 

My greetings for the liberation are sincere. They are expressed by a man who knows oppression, injustice and arbitrariness, who has been subjected to them for almost a year in a jail, detained in Cape Verde, arbitrarily, by order of the intransigent neo-colonial power of the United States. And this day gives me strength to stand up and express my hope in the idea of justice, and to appeal to the African nations and the African Union so that injustice and arbitrariness cease. 

On this day of celebration, I will dare to paraphrase the great Léopold Sédar Senghor, reminding you that “you are the witnesses of the immortal Africa, you are the witnesses of the new world that will be tomorrow” and I will dare to conclude with Simon Bolivar, who allows me to remind me every day that my struggle is not in vain, because “freedom is the only goal worth sacrificing the lives of men”. 

These words are those of a friend of the oppressed, a friend of Africa, an ambassador to the African Union arbitrarily detained by Cape Verde on the orders of the Trump Administration for almost a year. These words are there to remind you that freedom must be conquered every day and is never acquired. I know this all the more because I am deprived of it. 

Ambassador Alex Saab

Deputy Permanent Representative to the African Union

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Merck Foundation brings 26 African Ministers together to Empower Women and Youth in STEM through their online Merck Africa Research Summit (MARS) in partnership with African Union
May 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

MARS Online VC brought distinguished leaders on a single platform to reaffirm Merck Foundation’s commitment towards developing a strong Africa roadmap towards gender equality
LUSAKA, Zambia, May 10, 2021/ — Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit -MARS was conducted online during the 8th edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary 2021; The MARS Summit High-Level Ministerial Panel Discussion with 26 Ministers of Health, Science and Technology, Education, Information And Gender and MARS Researchers.

Merck Foundation , the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany conducted the Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit – MARS 2021 online, in partnership with the African Union and African Ministers of different sectors, during the 8th edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary 2021, held in partnership with the Government of Zambia. The conference was inaugurated by The President of the Republic of Zambia, H.E. Dr. EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU and Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp Chairman of both of Executive Board of E.Merck KG and Merck Foundation Board of Trustees. It was co-chaired by H.E. Mrs. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of the Republic of Zambia and Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.

Elaborating about the MARS Summit, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and Chairperson of MARS Summit explained “I am very happy to have more than 20 Honourable African Ministers of different sectors, coming together for the MARS Summit. Merck Foundation has been committed to underscore its long-term commitment towards building Research Capacity in Africa. This year, the Summit mainly addressed the importance of Empowering youth to address sustainability challenges in Africa and Global South, Empowering women in education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics); challenges and strategies, the response to Coronavirus pandemic, and the Role of Scientific Research in responding to Cancer and Vaccines Development – Two emerging challenges in Africa”.

Elaborating about the MARS Summit, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and Chairperson of MARS explained “I am very happy to have 26 African Ministers of different sectors, coming together for the MARS Online VC. Merck Foundation has been committed to underscore its long-term commitment towards building Healthcare and Research Capacity in Africa with a special focus on women and youth. This year, the Summit mainly addressed the importance of Empowering women and youth in education and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics); challenges and strategies, the response to the Coronavirus pandemic, and the Role of Scientific Research in responding to Cancer and Vaccines Development – Two emerging challenges in Africa”.

Dr. Eng. Ahmed Hamdy, Executive Director, African Union – Scientific, Technical and Research Commission, emphasized, “The Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit was a valuable opportunity for all those engaged and interested in health research in Africa to learn about the full spectrum of ground-breaking scientific research currently underway in the continent with respect to COVID-19, and prepare the road ahead in Africa’s strategy to tackle the pandemic with a concrete approach”.

MARS Online VC brought distinguished leaders on a single platform to reaffirm Merck Foundation’s commitment towards developing a strong Africa roadmap towards gender equality by discussing policies, leadership, and scientific roles that can enable women to recover and thrive in a post-COVID-19 world.

Hon. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Minister of Health and Population, Malawi said, “Women stand at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organizers, and as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combating the pandemic. This MARS ministerial panel has highlighted both the centrality of their contributions and the role of governments and policies in advancing gender equality which will be conducive in our collaboration to empower women and supporting girls in education. I am very privileged to work closely with the African Ministers to contribute towards the development of Africa.”

The High-level Ministerial panel included:Hon. Dr. Jonas Kamima CHANDAMinister of Health, ZambiaHon. Dr. Dennis WANCHINGAMinister of General Education, ZambiaHon. Dr. Brian MUSHIMBAMinister of Higher Education, ZambiaHon. Elizabeth PHIRIMinister of Gender, ZambiaHon. Dora SILIYAMinister of Information & Broadcasting Service, ZambiaHon. Silvia Paula Lutucuta, Minister of Health, AngolaHon. Dr. NDIKUMANA ThadéeMinister of Public Health & Fighting against AIDS, BurundiHon. Dr. François HAVYARIMANAMinistre de L’Education Nationale et de la Recherche Scientifique, BurundiHon. Imelde SABUSHIMIKEMinistre de la Solidarité Nationale, des Affaires Sociales, des Droits de la Personne Humaine et du Genre, Burundi Hon. Marie Chantal NIJIMBEREMinistre de la Communication, des Technologies de L’Information et des Médias, Republic of Burundi Hon. Jacquiline Lydia MikoloMinister of Health & Population, Republic of the Congo Hon. Dr. Ahmadou Lamin SamatehMinister of Health, The Gambia Hon. Ebrima SILLAHMinister of Information, The Gambia Hon. Colonel Remy LamaMinister of Health, Guinea Conakry Hon. Pr. Amadou Bano BarryMinister of Education, Guinea Conakry Hon. Amara SompareMinister of Information & Communication, Guinea Conkary Hon. Khumbize Kandodo ChipondaMinister of Health & Population, Malawi Hon. Dr. Patricia KaliatiMinister Of Gender, Community Development & Social Welfare, Republic of Malawi Hon. Agnes NyalonjeMinister Of Education, Malawi Hon. Ulemu MsungamaMinister Of Youth & Sports, Malawi Hon. Timoth Pagonachi MtamboMinister Of Civic Education & National Unity, Malawi Hon. Dr. Kalumbi ShangulaMinister of Health & Social Services, Namibia Hon. Dr. Joyce Moriku KaducuState Minister for Health, Uganda Hon. Monica MutsvangwaMinister of Information & Broadcasting Publicity, Zimbabwe Hon. Sthembiso NyoniMinster of Women Affairs Small & Medium Enterprises, ZimbabweHon. Amon MurwiraMinister of Higher & Tertiary Education, Zimbabwe

About Merck Foundation:

The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation. Website. 

*SOURCE Merck Foundation
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Moussa Faki Reelected Unopposed as Chairperson of the African Union Commission
February 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

A big win and a second term for Moussa Faki  .Photo Credit: African Union
A big win and a second term for Moussa Faki .Photo Credit: African Union

The former Chadian Prime Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat was recently reelected as the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. In doing so, Moussa Faki made history as the first person to be reelected as the Chairperson of the AU Commission. Running unopposed, the former Chadian Prime Minister garnered 51 out of 55 votes in a secret ballot to enter into his second final term as the Chairperson of the AU Commission.

The AU Commission elections happened on Saturday 6 February 2021, during the 34th African Union Summit. Owing to the unprecedented corona virus pandemic, the 34th African Union Summit was held virtually with the leaders of all 55 member states as well as their foreign ministers/delegates present.

Moussa Faki’s reelection will see him serve as the AU Commission Chairperson for the next four years. Speaking on his triumph on Twitter, Faki said he was “deeply humbled by the overwhelming and historic vote of confidence by AU Member States by voting 51 out 55 to extend my mandate at the helm of the AUC Commission for another 4 years.”

 During the same Summit, elections were also held for other AU Commission positions including the new set of commissioners and that of deputy chairperson. Rwanda’s Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa who is the deputy governor of the National Bank of Rwanda won the deputy chairperson race. In a Twitter post after her triumph, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa said, “My very sincere gratitude and appreciation for the trust and honor that the Heads of States and Government of the African Union have bestowed on my country and in my person. I commit to serve with dedication and to the best of my ability under your wise guidance.”

For Moussa Faki, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa and the new set of AU Commission commissioners, there really is no time to celebrate their victories as they have to come up with long-lasting solutions to the threats facing the entire African continent. They all know very well the devastating impacts that the novel corona virus pandemic has brought about on the continent disrupting lives and livelihoods. The current second wave of the pandemic which engulfs the continent is leaving behind lots of dead people. In the process, it’s also disrupting livelihoods for the survivors thus ushering in double jeopardy. There is of course the threat of an imminent 3rd wave which may as well be more devastating than the 1st and 2nd waves. Faced with all these challenges, Moussa Faki, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa have it all to do from the onset.

At the present moment, many countries across the globe are battling to secure Covid-19 vaccines. In the case of Africa however, several reports have indicated that the continent finds itself at the bottom of the ladder of a grossly unequal distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. Malcolm Webb of Al Jazeera states that “Experts estimate that the richest countries will have vaccinated most of their populations at some point later this year, and that the world’s poorest countries – many of which are in this continent (Africa) – will not vaccinate the same amount of their population until maybe three years from now or possible never at all.” Faced with such a dim outlook, Moussa Faki and his new team will have to work near-miracles to ensure the continent moves at par with other developed nations. The AU Chairperson knows himself the task ahead as he stated that “There is vaccine nationalism on the rise, with other rich countries jumping the queue, some even pre-ordering more that they require,” in an interview before the Summit. Against this background, Moussa Faki as he stated will have to come up with great strategies and initiatives to “correct the glaring inequality in fiscal stimulus measures between advanced economies and the rest of the world.”

 It’s not just the threat of the corona virus pandemic that Moussa Faki has to worry about. The continent is still bedeviled by several conflicts which are hindering continental development on the socio-economic as well as political front. Instances of electoral violence are still reported in many countries across the continent while cases of abuse of human rights and Islamist extremism violence is on the rise. The new AU Commission team will therefore, need to find ways to bring these conflicts to an end. The frontrunner for the AU’s newly merged political affairs and peace and security department Bankole Adeoye from Nigeria will have the all-important task of coming up with measures to address the continent’s socio and political problems.

At the present moment, there are two socio-political problems which need urgent attention. Up north, the Anglophone Crises in Cameroon is showing no signs of coming to an end in the near future. However, the number of people who are dying, those disposed and those whose livelihoods have been affected by the crises is huge such that an urgent intervention is needed to prevent further damage. Down south, there is a rising security crises in northern Mozambique ushered in by Islamist extremists who are reported to kill mercilessly villagers in that region. The threat in the Mozambique poses a new threat in a region that constantly reels under electoral violence conflicts.

At the same Summit, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo Felix Tshisekedi assumed the year-long chairmanship of the African Union. Addressing fellow Heads of State, the DRC president said in his tenure as the AU Chair, he plans to focus on climate change, fighting sexual violence, promoting the African Continental Free Trade Area and accelerating the DRC based Grand Inga Hydropower Project.

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Team Europe supports Africa’s COVID-19 response with 1.4 million test kits donated by Germany and delivered by the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge
October 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), through the African Union, today received the third and last batch of 1.4 million COVID-19 test kits donated by the Government of Germany. The kits were delivered through a European Union (EU) Humanitarian Air Bridge flight as part of the EU’s global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, worth over €26 million, with contributions from the EU, Germany, Austria, Spain, and Sweden.

This donation is to provide direct support for implementation of the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for the COVID-19 Outbreak, and the Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) across Africa.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Team Europe has mobilized support for response in Africa through a variety of actions designed to help bridge the supply and capacity gaps and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the continent.

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, noted that today’s humanitarian aid delivery is a concrete example of the strong partnership between the EU and the African Union.

“The European Union has been at the forefront of the global fight against COVID-19. From day one we have fought the pandemic both at home and abroad. From day one we put solidarity and cooperation at the heart of our response, because it is our firm conviction that nobody is safe until everybody is safe. Today’s delivery of COVID-19 test kits and materials is another visible testimony of the EU’s global coronavirus response. It is also a clear recognition of the remarkable role the African Union has played to lead the continental response to the pandemic,” said Mr. Borrell.

“The cornerstone to preventing any disease is to test, and the key factor in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic is partnership based on sound solidarity principles. The donations by the Government of Germany further demonstrate the solidarity that we have always enjoyed from the European Union and we appreciate their support in fighting this invisible enemy,” said H.E. Mr Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

“This final delivery of life-saving testing equipment to the African Union wraps up the first phase of the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge, which has provided crucial support these past months to vulnerable countries amidst the coronavirus pandemic,” said Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management.

The kits will be distributed to African Union Member States, as was done with the previously donated kits, which have helped more than 24 African countries to perform over 700,000 tests.
Stephan Auer, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ethiopia and the African Union said: “We can only beat the coronavirus together – worldwide. This is why we are supporting the African Union in cooperation with the EU. We are happy to support the Africa CDC as they coordinate the procurement and distribution of life-saving diagnostics to African Union Member States. With this support to the PACT initiative, we contribute to making testing widely available in Africa.”

In addition to this donation, Team Europe, in partnership with Africa CDC, is contributing to the deployment of rapid responders and community health workers, provision of in-country and virtual training, risk communication and community engagement, and enhancement of preventive measures and surveillance capacities. In June 2020, the EU allocated €10 million to facilitate the deployment of healthcare workers and rapid responders for surveillance, laboratory testing and case management at country level as well as to strengthen other activities of the Africa CDC. Additional support will be mobilized in the coming weeks with strong focus on the most vulnerable groups.

Background

The test kits have been sourced by the German Epidemic Preparedness Team (SEEG). The SEEG was initiated in 2015 by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in response to the West African Ebola crisis. It brings together the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Charité Clinic, the Robert Koch Institute and the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine. In addition to providing test kits, the Africa CDC and SEEG are partnering for external quality assessment of reference laboratories, using the provided test kits for benchmarking and accreditation of quality and effectiveness of testing in Africa.

The total Team Europe global response package stands at €36.5 billion, combining resources from the EU, its Member States, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. This support focuses on addressing the immediate health crisis and the resulting humanitarian needs; strengthening partner countries’ health, nutrition, water and sanitation systems and their research, preparedness and response capacities; as well as supporting the alleviation of social and economic consequences of the pandemic. At least €6.8 billion is allocated to supporting countries in Africa as well as a considerable part of the overall Team Europe guarantees of €2.9 billion.

*Source African Union

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Africa50 supports COVID-19 response with US$300,000 grant to Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC)
May 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

The grant will be used specifically for the purchase of test kits and other medical equipment and to mobilize frontline responders

Africa50 has announced a grant of US$300,000 to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to support response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.  The grant will be used specifically for the purchase of test kits and other medical equipment and to mobilize frontline responders, as highlighted in the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19.

The Chief Executive Officer of Africa50 (www.Africa50.com), Alain Ebobisse, says the grant signals the beginning of a longer-term partnership between Africa50 and Africa CDC on public health issues in Africa.

“As a pan-African entity funded by 28 African shareholder governments, Africa50 is well placed to join Africa CDC and the African Union in their efforts to combat COVID-19 on the continent. We look forward to a longer-term collaboration with Africa CDC to help address the continent’s health infrastructure needs, leveraging each other’s expertise and stakeholder networks. We are fully committed to engaging with our African shareholders and partners in these challenging times,” says Alain Ebobisse.

Africa50 is a pan-African infrastructure investment platform that contributes to Africa’s growth by developing and investing in high-impact national and regional projects and mobilizing private sector funding. The grant was awarded as part of Phase 1 of the COVID-19 Relief Support Initiative (RSI) of Africa50, which aims to respond to immediate public health needs in Africa.

“The Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 highlights four things: cooperation, collaboration, coordination and communication. This pandemic will be won at the community level and it requires everybody working together with a unique level of cooperation. We particularly acknowledge the grant from Africa50 as a good example of the kind of solidarity that Africa needs from individuals and institutions in Africa,” says Dr John Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC.

The Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT): Trace, Test & Track, launched by the African Union Commission in April 2020 has identified well-coordinated actions and strong partnerships at all strategic levels as key to achieving remarkable success in the response to COVID-19 in Africa. PACT aims to support testing of 20 million Africans by the end of 2020 and the deployment of one million community healthcare workers to support contact tracing. This donation contributes to efforts towards accomplishing this very important aspiration of Africa’s Heads of State and Government.

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COVID19: African Union in Discussions with Madagascar over herbal remedy
May 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Union is in discussion with the Republic of Madagascar, through its embassy in Addis Ababa, with a view to obtain technical data regarding the safety and efficiency of a herbal remedy, recently announced by Madagascar for the reported prevention and treatment of COVID19.

In this regard, the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs H.E Amira ElFadil convened a meeting with the Chargé d’Affaires of the Republic of Madagascar Mr. Eric Randrianantoandro on 30th April at which it was agreed that the member state would furnish the African Union with necessary details regarding the herbal remedy.

Once furnished with the details, the Union, through the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), will review the scientific data gathered so far on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 Organics. This review will be based on global technical and ethical norms to garner the necessary scientific evidence regarding the performance of the tonic.

These developments follow the participation of Madagascar’s President H.E. Andry Rajoelina in a teleconference Meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly of AU Heads of State and Government with the Chairpersons of the AU Regional Economic Communities (RECs) on 29 April 2020, in which he participated as Chairperson of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and where he made a presentation to his peers regarding the herbal remedy.

The teleconference was convened by H.E. President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa, and Chairperson of the African Union (AU), and had the aim of apprising the Chairpersons of the RECs about the actions and initiatives undertaken by the African Union in response to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the continent. The meeting also provided a platform for the Chairpersons of the RECs to brief the Bureau about regional measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Africa CDC
Africa CDC is a specialized technical institution of the African Union which supports Member States in their efforts to strengthen health systems and improve surveillance, emergency response, prevention and control of diseases.

*Source AU

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Statement of the African Union (AU) Labour Migration Advisory Committee (LMAC) on the novel Coronavirus Disease COVID-19 and the condition of African Migrant Workers
April 16, 2020 | 0 Comments

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 16, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The outbreak, in late 2019, of the novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and now labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) is redefining humanity in ways we can only know after the virus is successfully defeated. The virus has disregarded status, class, race, religion, nationality, gender, creed and location and businesses, government operations. In addition, the world of work as well as individual and communal lives have been affected in profound and dire ways.

Thousands have succumbed to the virus, and, on behalf of all Members of the AU Labour Migration Advisory Committee, we extend our profound condolences to the families and nations in Africa and the world that have lost citizens and loved ones.We acknowledge and commend the important support and coordination of the efforts of Member States by the Africa Center for Disease Control (Africa CDC) (Africa CDC) and the measures being taken by Ministry of Labour of Member States, the African Union Commission and RECs to address the COVID-19 at the workplace.

The African Union Labour Migration Advisory Committee (LMAC) is extremely concerned about the welfare of African migrant workers, refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) caught in the cross-fire of this current global health crisis.As countries increasingly adopt sweeping measures, thousands of vulnerable African labour migrants have become stranded in their different countries of work. Some are likely to fall victim to hardship, exploitation, and extortion in their desperate effort to return to their homes and families before the intensification of the on-going global containment measures.

We are also concerned that the majority of migrant workers are most exposed to the possibility of infection, owing to squalid living conditions, inadequate workplace health and safety protection, and little or no social protection coverage. Domestic workers in particular, face a higher level of exposure to the contagion. Many workers across sectors and industries also survive on daily wages and will suffer huge wage losses due to the stoppage of economic activities.

Families and dependents and countries are projected to equally suffer as remittances are hard hit. Recipient families are in dire need of remittances in these COVID-19 hard times, as they help in social expenditures of beneficiary persons, in particular their health.

The Coronavirus pandemic has also adversely affected many business operations in Africa.

There are real threats to the collapse of some businesses and the risk of job losses, including those of migrant workers. It is noticed that the majority of migrant workers are found in the informal economy, most of the time as self-employed offering jobs to nationals in the country of destination, or in agriculture as seasonal workers. Women Cross Border Traders play a significant role in promoting the intra-African trade, contributing significantly to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Given that the social security system does not cover workers in these sectors, migrant workers are left to themselves to face the COVID-19 impact.

The AU LMAC, therefore, calls upon the AUC, RECs, member states, social partners’ organizations and the international community to strategically consider and implement measures to mitigate against businesses collapse, jobs and income losses. In the near future, Member States are encouraged to put in place unemployment insurance plans and to extend social security to workers in the informal economy and rural sectors. 

Whilst we are very much encouraged by statements and measures taken so far by several regional economic communities and Member States within the continent to this pandemic, it should be noted, however, that most do not comprehensively take into account the millions of migrants, refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in Africa. Countries can craft strategies on how to incorporate migrants within their COVID-19 responses, using the interim guidance released by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee.

Further, we call on African governments in the post-COVID-19 era to carefully look at and renegotiate the different Labour Migration Agreements that they may have signed with the view of ensuring the enjoyment by migrant workers of adequate health and safety, social protection and portability, and other human and labour rights protections.

Parliaments are essential in framing the right legislative response needed to address the social and economic impact of the COVID-19, including facilitation measures to support workers, employers and the post-COVID-19 economic recovery.We recognize the engagement of the Civil Society Organizations, Workers and Employers Organizations in complementing the efforts of the governments.

Accordingly, therefore, the AU LMAC calls for the pursuit of coordinated and coherent mitigation and recovery measures at the global level. Whilst we note and commend the initiatives by various governments, countries, regions and social partners’ organizations, the failure to adopt a robust and comprehensive global approach may lead to short-term outcomes that may create and exacerbate the vulnerability of many migrant workers. 

This is the time for the expression of genuine and practical global compassion and solidarity.

ECOWAS through the West African Health Organization (WAHO) is providing technical and financial support to Member States from its own resources, in addition to assistance from international partners. We commend all other RECs efforts in providing essential support to their respective Member states to prevent and mitigate the effects of the pandemic. 

Finally, we urge all persons, especially IDPs, refugees and migrant workers to observe and comply with the standard public health guidelines for the containment of COVID-19 and other progressive measures by governments. Importantly, we appeal to everyone to avoid fear but to embrace caution.

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

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Mozambique: Government and African Development Bank sign financing for Mueda-Negomano road phase II
April 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Government of Mozambique and the African Development Bank have signed a protocol agreement for a $34 million grant for the paving of the 35-km Nambungali-Roma road to facilitate trade and promote social inclusion of local communities.

Mozambican Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane and Bank Country Representative, Pietro Toigo signed for their respective sides on 24 February. The works form part of the second phase of the Mueda – Negomano Road Project, which seeks to improve transport infrastructure between Mozambique and Tanzania.

The successful completion of the project will complement the recently constructed Unity Bridge to significantly reduce travel time to the ports of Pemba in Mozambique and Mtwara in Tanzania, and boost regional trade and integration between the two countries.

“Bridging the infrastructure gap, particularly to increase national and regional connectivity, is key to the efforts to eradicate poverty and to accelerate economic growth,” Maleiane said.

The project is also expected to foster social inclusion by stimulating employment opportunities along the corridor through sponsored vocational training and promotion of women-led businesses.

The road project will be complemented by ancillary works to increase its social inclusion impact with an additional investment of $2m in community markets, clinics and other social facilities. The Bank will also provide technical assistance to two sector agencies — Administração Nacional de Estradas (ANE) and the Fundo de Estradas (FE), giving them capacity to improve their operations. The Government of Mozambique will contribute $536,000, mainly for resettlement and compensation.

*AFDB

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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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Africa needs more scientists and engineers for developments- AU Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat
February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire
The chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Mr Moussa Faki
Mahamat has said that Africa needs more scientists and engineers to
develop itself and also in-order to minimise its dependence syndrome.
Mr Mahamat made the remarks during his visit to the African Capacity
Building Foundation (ACBF) headquarters in Harare to sign the AUC-ACBF
agreement on the ACBF’s status as specialised agency of the African
Union.
Mr Mahamat said that Africa should now have the capacity to fund
what it needs on its own and also to tell its partners what it needs.
He said that 90% of the human resource capital in Africa is in the
humanities and the arts sector which he said that was not bad, but
called for training of more scientists and engineers for the continent
to boost its development agenda.
Mahamat also expressed concern at the lack of mathematics teachers
in some African countries, a challenge which he said needed to
urgently addressed.
He also urged agencies and partners in Africa to evaluate their
interventions to assess their progress to enhance the continent’s
development. Mahamat also called for more scientific innovation on
the continent adding that the continent needed more researchers.
ACBF Executive Director, Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie, said that Africa was
investing in unemployment due to its major human capacity development
in the humanities, social sciences and the arts.
Nnadozie sid that there was need in transformation of skills and this
is a major issue which the ACBF and other partners was working on
addressing. He said that there was need to mobilise resources to
overhaul the education systems and quality of education on the African
continent.

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PRESIDENT BUHARI TO ATTEND AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT IN ADDIS ABABA; SET TO CHAMPION ANTI-CORRUPTION CAMPAIGN AT REGIONAL LEVEL
January 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

By FEMI ADESINA*

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari attends the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa on January 29, 2016.Getty Images Tony Karumba

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari attends the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa on January 29, 2016.Getty Images Tony Karumba

President Muhammadu Buhari will Friday depart for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to participate in the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).
The highlight of the President’s engagements during the visit will be his Statement under the historic theme for the AU Summit, namely: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”

This is the first time in the 54-year history of the AU that anti-corruption will be made a theme of the gathering of the regional leaders.

It would be recalled that on July 4, 2017 during the 29th Session of the AU, African leaders unanimously endorsed President Buhari to champion the fight against corruption on the continent. The endorsement was in recognition of his personal commitment and widely acclaimed anti-graft drive at the domestic level.

On July 25, 2017, the President in a letter to President Alpha Conde of Guinea, who is also the out-going AU Chairperson, formally accepted his nomination to lead members of the AU on this crucial crusade against a veritable socio-economic vice that is anti-development.

While thanking his colleagues for the honour, he reiterated his “commitment to contribute towards our collective efforts to strengthen good governance and development on the continent.”

Apart from anti-corruption, other issues lined for consideration by African leaders and their delegations include, peace and security (transnational terrorism); institutional reforms of the continental body; free movement of persons; climate change; trade; aviation; education; gender and development.

President Buhari will also hold bilateral meetings with some of his colleagues on issues of common interests.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau; the Minister of State (Aviation), Hadi Sirika; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; and the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu are in the President’s delegation to the Summit.

*Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity)

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An emotional tribute in memory of former AfDB President Babacar Ndiaye
September 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
Babacar Ndiaye, the Bank Group’s fifth elected President, who served two terms between 1985 and 1995, passed away on July 13, 2017 in Senegal

President Adesina and Babacar Ndiaye's family

President Adesina and Babacar Ndiaye’s family

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 23, 2017/ — “Goodbye, Papa, farewell to the ambassador for Africa’s development, rest in peace.” In an intensely emotional tribute, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org), Adesina Akinwumi, opened a ceremony honouring Babacar Ndiaye at the organisation’s headquarters in Abidjan.

Adesina announced that the AfDB headquarters auditorium will from now on be named Babacar Ndiaye Auditorium.

Babacar Ndiaye, the Bank Group’s fifth elected President, who served two terms between 1985 and 1995, passed away on July 13, 2017 in Senegal.

With Ndiaye’s widow and several children in attendance, as well as former AfDB President Kantinka Dr Kwame D. Fordwor, members of the Senegalese and Ivorian Governments, representatives of the diplomatic corps, and active and retired AfDB staff members. Adesina fondly recalled Babacar Ndiaye’s complete and passionate commitment to the development of Africa.

“He was an AfDB icon, he was a father and mentor to every one of us, and emphatically launched the career of the Bank Group’s current President. He inspired us. In losing him, Africa has lost one of its best sons.”

President Adesina underlined the personal ties between him and his predecessor, recalling that he knew Ndiaye when he worked for the West Africa Rice Development Association (WADRA), which was then based in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire.

“Babacar Ndiaye was charismatic, and left an indelible mark on our continent. His legacy is vast, because he always saw the big picture. He was quite simply magnificent,” Adesina stated.

He added, “During the campaign for the AfDB presidency, I naturally went to see him in Dakar. He welcomed me warmly. I took the opportunity to tell him about my vision for the High 5s . He agreed right away, and told me, ‘That’s what Africa needs to transform itself.'”

Arriving at the institution in 1965 as part of the first group of African managers, Ndiaye climbed the organisational ladder to become Division Chief, Director, Vice-President for Finance, and then President in 1985. Babacar Ndiaye was the first AfDB President to be re-elected to a second term of office.

Under his leadership, the pan-African financial institution obtained its first Triple-A rating in 1984.

The former President was the force behind the increase in the Bank’s capital in 1987, which jumped from approximately US $6 billion to $23 billion, a 200% increase, after approving the process of opening the Bank’s capital to non-African countries. He was also responsible for bringing the Bank into the international financial market.

“Babacar Ndiaye accomplished tremendous things for the AfDB and for Africa. He always advocated for excellence. He made the AfDB a credible and respected institution internationally,” stated Donald Kaberuka, former AfDB President (2005-2015), in a message read on his behalf by Victor Oladokun, AfDB Director for Communication and External Relations.

Builder of institutions

Beyond his complete commitment to the Bank’s success and providing it with a solid foundation, Babacar Ndiaye helped establish major pan-African institutions, such as the African Import-Export Bank, Afreximbank; Shelter Afrique; and the African Business Roundtable. Representatives of these organizations were specially sent from Cairo, Lagos and Nairobi to attend the tribute ceremony on Thursday.

“Without Babacar Ndiaye, African industry leaders such as Aliko Dangote or Michael Ibru would undoubtedly not be where they are today. Babacar Ndiaye invested his faith and perseverance in Africa’s business community. We will be eternally grateful to him,” said Bamanga Tukur, President of the African Business Roundtable.

Christopher Edordu, founding President of Afreximbank, highlighted Ndiaye’s visionary approach, which allowed him to look beyond the era’s Afro-pessimism and embrace opportunities to finance African businesses.

“It took more than six years to establish Afreximbank. When others abandoned it, Babacar Ndiaye persevered and had patience. He firmly believed in the future of African trade at a time when that belief was not widely shared. Seeing what we have become today, we have to recognize the fact that he was a true visionary,” Edordu explained.

It was not the only time that the AfDB’s fifth elected President was proven right when confronted with naysayers. At a time when housing was not yet central to urban development in Africa, he encouraged the creation of Shelter Afrique, an organisation dedicated to financing affordable housing on the continent.

Tribute to Babacar N'DIAYE, 21 September 2017

Tribute to Babacar N’DIAYE, 21 September 2017

According to Edmond Adikpe, Shelter Afrique’s regional representative, “Babacar Ndiaye knew how to anticipate. He understood early on that Africa must address the problem of housing. At Shelter Afrique, we are eternally thankful to him for everything he did during our creation and evolution.”

The room was filled with emotion as one speaker followed another, with the audience warmly applauding their words of praise for Babacar Ndiaye, who remains the only President in AfDB history to have risen through the ranks of the organisation.

“He was installed as President in 1985 at the Abidjan Congress Centre in the presence of then Ivorian President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who held the African Development Bank in high esteem,” recalled Paul Morisho Yuma, former AfDB Secretary General, drawing a standing ovation from the audience.

“Senegal is proud of you”

Although he devoted his life to Africa, Babacar Ndiaye never forgot Senegal, his country of origin. According to the Senegalese Budget Minister, Birima Mangara, AfDB Governor for Senegal, who flew in from Dakar to attend this ceremony, Ndiaye contributed significantly to the development of bilateral cooperation between his country and the Bank. “Between 1972 and now, the AfDB has invested close to 1,400 billion CFA francs in Senegal. We owe that to all of you here, but in particular to Babacar Ndiaye.

“Senegal is proud of you as a son. Babacar Ndiaye is not gone; he is still present in the depths of Africa. We hear his breath in an Africa on the move,” added the Senegalese Budget Minister, paraphrasing the poet Birago Diop.

 

In attendance, Ndiaye’s widow, Marlyne Ndiaye, nodded her head in agreement, with tears in her eyes. Arriving in Abidjan in 1965, Babacar Ndiaye developed a special relationship with Côte d’Ivoire, home of the Bank’s headquarters. No fewer than three Ivoirian Ministers were present in the AfDB auditorium this week.

“He was a friend of Côte d’Ivoire. We all miss Babacar Ndiaye. President Alassane Ouattara misses him, having known him well and greatly appreciated him. He was a roving ambassador for African development,” agreed François Albert Amichia, Minister of Sports and Leisure, who led the Ivorian Government delegation.

His memory lives on

Alassane Ndiaye, son of the deceased, spoke on behalf of his family. He first thanked the Bank for taking the initiative to hold the ceremony to honour and pay tribute to his father. “The entire family is proud of and thankful for this ceremony. What you have done today touches us deeply and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” said the Ndiaye family’s spokesman, in a voice filled with emotion.

He urged those present to pursue the trail blazed by his father.

“He wanted the best for Africa. He believed in and loved the idea of a better Africa. Let’s continue to work for a better future for our continent. That would be the best and most unique way to perpetuate his hopes and his memory,” continued Alassane Ndiaye.

“Replacing darkness with light, well-nourished and healthy children, free flow of goods, people and ideas throughout the continent, and restoring hope to the hopeless – these were the ideals to which President Babacar Ndiaye dedicated his life. The work to realize these dreams continues in the High 5s,” declared AfDB Senior Vice-President Charles Boamah at the ceremony’s conclusion.

Last July, a high-level delegation from the Bank, led by Charles Boamah, along with Vice-Presidents Alberic Kacou and Amadou Hott, Acting Vice-President, Finance, Hassatou N’Sele, and Director of Special Projects Sipho Moyo, attended Babacar Ndiaye’s funeral in Dakar.

During a recent visit to the Senegalese capital, President Adesina visited his predecessor’s home to express his sympathy and support his widow and children.

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

*courtesy of AFDB

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Mugabe donates $1 million to African Union
July 4, 2017 | 0 Comments

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe arrives at the African Union headquarters during the opening ceremony of the 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Governments, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 3, 2017. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe arrives at the African Union headquarters during the opening ceremony of the 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Governments, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 3, 2017. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on Monday he was donating $1 million to the African Union (AU), hoping to set an example for African countries to finance AU programmes and wean it off funding from outside donors.

For years, about 60 percent of AU spending has been financed by donors including the European Union, World Bank and governments of wealthy non-African countries.

Mugabe, who has held power in Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, has said reliance on foreign funds allows big powers to interfere in the work of the AU.

The 93-year-old Mugabe told an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he had auctioned 300 cattle from his personal herd in May to fulfil a promise made to the continental body two years ago.

“Africa needs to finance its own programmes. Institutions like the AU cannot rely on donor funding as the model is not sustainable,” Mugabe said in comments broadcast on Zimbabwe’s state television.

“This humble gesture on Zimbabwe’s part has no universal application but it demonstrates what is possible when people apply their minds to tasks before them.”

The African Union’s 2017 budget is $782 million, increasing from $416.8 million last year. African leaders in July 2016 agreed in principle to charge a 0.2 percent levy on some exports to help finance AU operations.

Zimbabwe, whose economy was devastated by a drought last year, does not disclose its contributions to the AU. The top five African contributors are Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and South Africa.

*Reuters.(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by James Macharia and Andrew Roche)

 

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Kagame and African ministers of foreign affairs meet to put reforms in action
May 9, 2017 | 0 Comments
The reforms aim to make the AU more efficient politically, operationally and financially, so that the African multilateral organisation is better positioned to meet its mandate to member states and African citizens

Kagame and African ministers of foreign affairs meet to put reforms in action

Kagame and African ministers of foreign affairs meet to put reforms in action

KIGALI, Rwanda, May 8, 2017/ — President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, his AU reform advisory team and close to 40 African Ministers of Foreign Affairs met yesterday in Kigali, Rwanda, to discuss the implementation of the African Union (AU) reforms adopted in January 2017.

In July 2016, at the 27th African Union Summit, member States of the AU entrusted President Paul Kagame of Rwanda with the mandate to lead the African Union reforms to enable the Union to better meet its mission’s goal and truly serve African citizens.

In January 2017, the proposed reforms were accepted by all Head of States and Governments. The reforms aim to make the AU more efficient politically, operationally and financially, so that the African multilateral organisation is better positioned to meet its mandate to member states and African citizens.

The African leaders are committing themselves to:

  • Focusing on key priorities to ensure that the AU efforts are not dispersed and that the AU is focused on priorities that will make a real difference to African citizens. This will also enable a clear division of labour between the AU and member states.
  • Realigning the AU institutions to deliver against these priorities and ensure that the Union Commission structures, organs, and specialised technical agencies focus on the agreed priorities.
  • Managing the AU efficiently at both political and operational levels, to allow the members to create an efficient and effective Commission staffed by the best African professionals. This would also strengthen the working methods of the AU Summit to improve the quality and impact of decision-making whilst ensuring the timely implementation of Assembly decisions; and
  • Financing the AU  and sustainably to strengthen the African Union’s financial management and accountability
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Africa: AU Bans Ministers From Nigeria, Other Member Countries From Representing Presidents
February 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

President Idriss Déby of Chad, centre, hands over to President Alpha Condé of Guinea, right, with the former head of the AU, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, left, at the summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photograph: Courtesy Africa Union

President Idriss Déby of Chad, centre, hands over to President Alpha Condé of Guinea, right, with the former head of the AU, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, left, at the summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photograph: Courtesy Africa Union

The Chairperson of the African Union, President Alfa Conde of Guinea, has banned ministers from addressing the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments as from next AU Summit.

Conde, told the 28th AU Summit on Tuesday in Addis Ababa that the measure was part of the recommendations made in 2016 at AU summit in Kigali,

He said that a committee headed by President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, was set up by AU to reform the Summit and how its meeting would be conducted.

“If you call it Assembly of Head of States, it should remain so, there is no need for minister to take the floor.

Ministers should be at the level of their executive meeting and should be limited to that, he said.

 He alleged that most of the president do not spend time at the meeting, adding that after opening ceremony, some of them take their leave.

Conde, who also frowned at attitude of not being punctual by the leaders, which called “African time,” said it was high time such attitude was checked.

According to him, when they go for such meeting outside Africa the leaders always keep to time but it is only in Africa they come to meeting at will and late.

The AU Chairperson, who said the measure would take effect from July, said it was one of the steps to implement the reform on how the business of the Summit should be conducted.

*AllAfrica/Vanaguard

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Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat named AU Commission chair
January 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

Chadian diplomat elected as the new AU Commission chairperson after seven rounds of voting in Addis Adaba.

*

Faki, Chad's foreign minister since 2008, beat four other candidates [File: EPA]

Faki, Chad’s foreign minister since 2008, beat four other candidates [File: EPA]

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat has been elected as the new chairperson of the African Union Commission, in a vote held at the bloc’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday.

After seven rounds of voting, the Chadian foreign affairs minister defeated favourites Amina Mohamed of Kenya and Senegal’s Abdoulaye Bathily.

Two other candidates, Botswana’s Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, and Mba Mokuy, of Equatorial Guinea, also contested for the seat.

The 56-year-old and father-of-five succeeds South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the first woman to lead the bloc of 54 states, who did not seek a second term in office after completing a four-year term.

Kenya was the first to congratulate the newly-elected AU chief.

“Kenya congratulates him on a race well won. We pledge to work with him to defend the pan-African agenda of integration for Africa, as well as democracy, sovereignty and prosperity for all of its people,” a statement by Kenya’s State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said.

Faki is not new to the workings of the AU, having previously served as the body’s chair of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council.

Heads of state from the 54-member countries cast their vote in a private ballot.

A candidate needs to secure at least a two-thirds majority, 36 votes, to be declared winner.

The AU was supposed to pick a new leader in July last year but the election was postponed following three rounds of voting after candidates failed to garner the required number of votes.

More than 50 percent of the member states abstained from the second round of voting last year.

Meanwhile, the AU is expected to vote on Tuesday whether Morocco, the only country in Africa that is not part of the organisation, will be re-admitted into the body.

Rabat withdrew from the union in 1984 to protest against the admission of disputed Western Sahara territories.

*Al Jazeera

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Why I want to Lead Africa – Amina Mohamed
January 14, 2017 | 1 Comments

By Maureen Chigbo *

AMBASSADOR Amina Mohammed, foreign affairs minister of Kenya, is passionate about Africa.  The passion is what is driving her to vie for the position of the chairperson of the African Union Commission, AUC this January.  She is, however, leaving no stone unturned to ensure she succeeds. She has been travelling from one African country to another in search of support, and she is succeeding.  Realnews has reliably gathered that some countries including Nigeria are already supporting her candidature.

Mohamed is vying for the post because of her conviction that Africa is destined to realise its full potential as envisioned by her forefathers’ foresight reflected in the African Proverb; “If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far – go together”. “This burning desire to forge an even deeper integration of this great continent is clear in our peoples’ resolve to succeed together, and to create a better future for our children and future generations,” Mohamed said.

Perhaps, this explains the basis for her vision for the AUC anchored on Africa’s blueprint for development: Agenda 2063–The Africa We Want – a destiny of greatness. She views Agenda 2063 as a grand vision whose achievement will be the sum of many acts of courage, vitality and persistence by every African citizen.

Mohamed is of the view that the path for the continent’s sustainable development and prosperity is no longer an aspiration but an unfolding reality. “The ground has shifted on many fronts and Africa today epitomises hope and opportunity. An increasing number of the fastest growing economies are domiciled in Africa. The continent is steadily inching into the global limelight as a strategic partner in global economic growth and development.

“These are exceptional times for Africa. We have, in recent years, witnessed the tenacity, drive, grit and determination of Africa’s youth. Our youth are taking full advantage of advances in information technology and the digital age to curve out innovative and transposable solutions to lift communities out of vulnerability and extreme want. Africa’s growing population is the youngest in the world, it is better educated than previous generations and it will define the future of our continent.”

She believes the progress of Africa has to be secured through an all-inclusive approach that encompasses consultation, cooperation, coordination for the successful implementation of Agenda 2063. “It is also important that we concretise and adopt mechanisms to ensure that available resources are utilised to generate optimum results. Every African citizen deserves a life of dignity free from harm in order to promote social justice and the realisation of their potential. I am optimistic that together we can continue to create a continent that not only embodies our pride and dignity, but is also a hub for peace and stability.”

Mohamed’s conviction is informed by the significant reduction in armed conflicts and internal strife, the improved peace and stability, and the commendable progress in democratic governance. Furthermore, history has repeatedly proved that partial and secluded prosperity does not insulate citizens from the burdens of crises, war and conflict. “For this reason, our common accord will guarantee sustainable peace and stability in all Member States,” she said.

“My vision is that of a Commission that will utilise and build on the current momentum to secure Africa’s rightful place in the community of nations. In order to fulfill this objective, I envision a continent united in both values and outlook, and whose transformation is decisive and inclusive.

“I stand for a Commission that will work for the full realisation of the objective of a ‘people-centred’ African Union that is internationally respected; financially independent; economically prosperous; closely integrated and singularly responsive to the needs and wishes of the vast majority in the continent of Africa. I pledge to do my part and serve each member with passion, loyalty, compassion, selfless determination, alacrity and tenacity,” she said.

Her bid to be the chairperson of the African Union Commission is not without precedent. Mohamed, a lawyer, diplomat and politician, is not new to international politics. Over the years, she has traversed the globe working with different international organisations. She became the first female chairperson of the World Trade Organisation’s General Council in 2005.  Also, she previously worked as the assistant secretary and deputy executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

From 2001 t0 2005, she was a member of the executive boards and committees of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, WIPO, International Labour Organisation, ILO, World Health organisation, WHO, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR and United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS.

Between 2006 and 2007, Mohamed acted as director for both Europe and Commonwealth Countries as well as Diaspora matters. She also chaired the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Affairs’ Committee on Strengthening and Restructuring.

During the 2010–2011 calendar year, Mohamed served as the President of the United Nations Conference on Transnational Crime in Vienna. Additionally, she was the permanent secretary in the ministry of justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs from 2008 to 2011.

Born in Kakamega, Kenya to an ethnic Somali family on October 5, 1961, Mohammed is the eighth of nine siblings.  She married Khalid Ahmed in 2002 and they both have two children and also care for four orphans

Mohamed is multilingual, speaking her native Somali as well as English, Russian and Swahili, with a working knowledge of French.  A graduate of University of Kiev, Ukraine, she also has a Master of Laws, LLM, in International Law, and  Postgraduate Diploma, PGDip, in International Relations from the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

Her priorities, if elected AUC chairperson, include running an independent and efficient organisation, ensuring predictable and adequate financing resource base for AUC; providing dynamic consultative framework to pursue continental integration by building on achievements of regional economic communities; mobilising resources to improve infrastructure deficit in the continent; work with partners  to ensure Africa’s justice at international negotiation forums; promote peace and security in Africa, and unleash the potential of women and youth among others.

Mohammed exclusively told Realnews that she is a unifier and will unite African countries, erase whatever past division and ensure that African Union is internationally respected, financially independent, economically prosperous, closely integrated, and singularly responsive to the needs and wishes of all the people of Africa including the diaspora – leaving no one behind.

Only time will tell if she will be elected to fulfill these noble aspirations of hers for a continent in dire need of firm and focused leadership.

Mohamed, in an exclusive interview speaks to Realnews on topical issues affecting African and how she intends to make Africa a strong and influential regional player if elected into office. Excerpts:

Realnews: Why do you want to become the chairperson of the African Union Commission?

Mohamed: In the course my career, which spans over three decades, I have worked with many colleagues from the continent on issues of importance to Africa including; mega projects on infrastructure development, international and regional trade notably negotiating amendments to the Trade-Related, Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, TRIPS, agreement which allowed Africans to access affordable medicines for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, climate change, biodiversity and desertification, governance, rule of law, democracy and human rights, youth and, peace, security and cohesion. I have been intimately involved with all issues African, both soft and hard and have chaired many African meetings at the highest level. I therefore intricately know the state of our Union.

At this defining moment in Africa’s history, everyone is aware of the massive opportunities that the African Union presents and understands the challenges that need to be resolved by all of us, collectively.

I am known as a unifier, a consensus builder, a team player and a pan Africanist who believes in the African Union project. I deliver on mandates entrusted to me and know that I am ready, able, passionate and willing to commit myself to the African Agenda.

My vision for the African Union Commission (AUC/the Commission) is that of a Commission that will utilise and build on the current momentum to secure Africa’s rightful place in the global community.

In order to fulfil this objective, I envision a continent united in both values and outlook and whose transformation is decisive, inclusive and conclusive. I stand for a commission that will work for the full realisation of the objectives of a people-centred African Union that is internationally respected, financially independent, economically prosperous, closely integrated and singularly responsive to the needs and wishes of all the people of Africa including the Diaspora ̶ leaving no one behind.

We have an obligation to shape the common destiny of our people. Our heritage, our history, our African views and our shared values can and must craft the solutions to many of our most pressing challenges.

We must work in solid partnership and our goal must be straightforward – to empower our people and to afford them real opportunities to grow, to prosper and to live in dignity.

We already have a roadmap for Africa’s development. Agenda 2063 provides us with a continental framework. It will take a visionary, strategic and determined leader at the helm of the AUC who can bring consensus among all the member States and who can spearhead interactions and synergy among organs and platforms necessary for the speedy unification of the continent.  I believe that I am that leader.

Realnews: African Union have been perceived as a toothless bulldog. How can you make the organisation more effective if elected as the AUC Chairperson?

PRESIDENT BUHARI RECEIVES KENYA DEPUTY PRESIDENT 3. R-L; FCT Minister Alhaji Muhammad Musa Bello, Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, Kenya Cabinet Secretary Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb (Dr) Amina Mohamed, Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Hajiya Khadija Bukar Ibrahim, President Muhammadu Buhari, Special Envoy of President of Kenya, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President of Kenya Hon Williams Ruto, Kenya Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Silas M. Kiragu and Principal Administration Secretary Coordination, Operation and Protocol, Abdul K. Mwasserah at the State House in abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. NOV 11 2016

Mohamed: The African Union has had its share of challenges. That has, however, not dampened the spirit of our continental unity and shared prosperity. Challenges enable institutions to self-evaluate to discover areas of possible improvement. Our African people are today more committed to continental unity and prosperity than ever before. This is an opportunity, to tap into our collective goodwill to strengthen the organisation and deepen our union. There is also the converse narrative that is seldom celebrated: that of a continent, under a union that has responded to crises within the continent, and on time. The African peace and security architecture and the mechanisms of response is a clear example of solid and effective response and action.

As a continent, we evaluated the strides made over the past half century, recognised the gaps and together, put in place a vision to guide our engagement for the next 50 years. Agenda 2063, which is our roadmap to achieving “The Africa We Want”, is a testament that we are aware of our journey and our desired destination. So my role, if elected chairperson of the AUC, will be to faithfully implement Agenda 2063. I will catalyse this common resolve by the African people to realise their destiny. This requires the entire continent, including the diaspora to work in concert ̶ something that is and will continue to happen.

 

Realnews: Funding has always been a great challenge to the African Union. What will you do differently to shore up revenue flows to the AU?

Mohamed: Africa must take responsibility for the growth of its economy and institutions.  We have the means to do so.  In order to realise the vision that we have set ̶ Agenda 2063, we must ensure effective, inclusive and optimal use of available resources.

Implementing Agenda 2063 will require resources, planning, evaluation and reporting.  The formular accepted by African Heads of State and Government to contribute 0.2% import levy towards the financing of the African Union and its programmes is a solid indication that we are committed to Africa’s financial autonomy.

In order to fully implement this commitment, my role, if elected, will be to work with governments on implementation.  Financing the agenda will be easier if member states align their development policies to Agenda 2063.  We must reinforce our political will to deliver on this promise.

Over the years, we have created institutions and organs that support Africa’s development. The African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa already have in place programmes that are in line with Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030. In order to harness the output generated by our development agencies, we must ensure that we create synergies to allow resource maximisation, reduce duplication and eliminate resource wastage.

We also need to put together an African Business Council that will deeply integrate the private sector into the African development agenda.  The Ebola epidemic offered invaluable experience in working with the African private sector to raise funds for development and we will continue to build on this partnership.

Illicit financial flows deprive Africa of valuable resources necessary for development. These flows are a global phenomenon whose solution requires a global coordinated response.  If elected, I will coordinate the African response to work with national governments in order to put in place legislation and mechanisms in line with agreed and mutually reinforcing global response initiatives.

Realnews: Crisis is brewing in Gambia over its current president’s refusal to step down after losing the last election. How can this problem be resolved?

Mohamed: Great effort has been made by Regional Economic Communities, RECs, to manage regional conflicts in the continent. We have seen the way Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group, ECOMOG, managed the conflict in West Africa and the way the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD, and the South African Development Community, SADC, have dealt with the conflicts in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes Region respectively.

Regional Economic Communities and the conflict response mechanisms already in place are critical in instances where peace, security and stability is threatened. The African Union Commission’s role should therefore be to ensure that the necessary responsive mechanisms are facilitated and coordinated to find sustainable solutions to existing and emerging conflicts in Africa.  Our aim should be to ensure that Africans feel and are secure.

Realnews: Corruption has been said to be the bane of development in Africa. What do you think?

Mohamed: Corruption is a challenge. However, we are seeing reforms in the form of legal and policy enactments in national constitutions.  Effective responses ought to be conceived within the African model but principally embracing good governance, rule of law, and institutional independence.

Institutions are critical in addressing corruption. So we must strengthen them and our capacity to manage public, private and societal affairs. Corruption exists in many forms. Economic and financial corruption and corruption of values are the main forms compromising our development in Africa. A targeted response would therefore engage leadership and management of our institutions and our national and continental values. Education, mentorship, law and policy and home-grown intrinsic values and principles will be critical in addressing this persistent problem.

Realnews: Weak natural resources governance has also marred the exploitation of natural resources in Africa. What can be done to improve the situation to fast track development in Africa?

Mohamed: Africa must and should be empowered using African resources. Minerals, oil, gas, agricultural land, forests, blue economy, wind and solar generation and biodiversity among many others are factors that drive development.

Africa’s natural resources should be leveraged for inclusive and sustained growth. Our regional organisations including the African Development Bank have set up mechanisms to support policy makers and governments in managing Africa’s natural resource management − the African Natural Resources Centre, ANRC, is a good policy support tool.  What remains now is to ensure that these institutions and programmes communicate and collaborate with governments, Regional Economic Communities and the African Union Commission to find solutions to exploitative and harmful resource extraction.

Africa’s wealth, resident in natural resource exploration and trade needs to be ploughed back to the continent. We, therefore, need to work together, across all sub-regions and countries to track: our natural resource wealth and our countries’ and people’s gains from it. Investing in concrete natural resource economic policy, institutions, Regional Economic Communities’ capacities and a legal framework will guide our intervention in this area. As we continue to integrate, so must our approaches to natural resource management. We must share best practice and reinforce our common interests as far as development is concerned.  For this to effectively happen, collaboration, cooperation and coordination is critical.

Realnews: Youth unemployment has been described as a time bomb in Africa. Can you comment on this?

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Mohamed: There is no doubt that Africa’s demographic versatility is our core strength. 65 percent of Africa’s entire population is below the age of 35 making Africa the world’s youngest continent.  This is Africa’s greatest opportunity. But we have to ensure that it is properly harnessed to provide positive output to the continent. This demographic dividend can only bear on our development aspirations if we nurture, tap and mainstream the youth into our development matrix.

Policy and decision-makers have the enviable responsibility to harness Africa’s talents and human capacity into one force that works in harmony to solve the continent’s greatest challenges.

Brain drain, though unavoidable in most cases because of economic considerations, is depriving Africa of many professionals and other abilities that could be used to realise the African dream. That is why innovative approaches to leadership development and education are critical to ensure that our youth and professionals explore their potential and gain the intellectual flexibility to conceive solutions to our challenges. Deliberate youth engagement, consultation and involvement is essential in all spheres of governance.

We must also integrate to ensure that the youth have access to wider professional and economic markets to work and do business. Free movement of goods, services people and capital will greatly unlock this demographic dividend.

Realnews: Terrorism is spreading in the continent. How can this problem be tackled?

Mohamed: Terrorism and violent extremism have emerged as the major threats to international peace and security. The expansion of internet access and the growing sophistication of extremist and criminal groups render these threats increasingly transnational, thus requiring a collaborative response. Indeed, the fact that no nation can consider itself immune from its dangers implies that no society can remain disengaged from efforts to combat it.

The strength of terrorist groups lies in their hybrid nature, which allows them to develop flexible and adaptive approaches that exploit conventional military attacks and asymmetric warfare. Their evolving nature presents a problem for state apparatus, which are often rigid and reactive. Their transnational dimension is also a challenge for law enforcement agencies which by nature are used to working in national contexts.

Faced with this challenging scenario, it is imperative to put in place fully comprehensive multi-pronged response strategies. However, our strategies in Africa tend to lay emphasis on security solutions with less resources being dedicated to prevention which entails the fight against radicalisation and political and economic integration of marginalised regions among other socio-economic measures. We need to collectively finance response mechanisms and within our individual national capacities.

A comprehensive strategy involves the concerted efforts of all government agencies including local authorities with the involvement of all sectors of society including religious associations, the private sector and civil society. It is also essential that the State meaningfully engages local community leaders who are familiar with the local social fabric.

Security-led responses must be adapted to suit the context of African states. It is important to put in place mechanisms that facilitate cooperation between defence forces, the police and the intelligence apparatus coordinated by special counter-terror units

Realnews: What difference will you make if elected as the chairperson of African Union Commission?

Mohamed: If elected, I will work with African governments, AUC commissioners, African Union organs, African institutions, African civil society, the African people and Africa’s strategic partners to:

  • Lead the faithful implementation of Africa’s Agenda 2063 by supporting micro-implementation by member States and regional implementation through Regional Economic Communities with the primary focus of actualising the First Ten Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063.
  • Pursue sustainable ways to finance the AUC and its programmes and develop concrete mechanisms to ensure optimum use of mobilised resources by encouraging and supporting national alignment of development policies to Agenda 2063.
  • Foster strategic partnerships for Africa’s development.
  • Strengthen synergy between and among African Development Institutions such as: The Permanent Representative Committee (PRC); African Union Peace and Security Council, AUPSC; African Commissions; New Partnership for African Development, NEPAD, Pan African Parliament, Economic and Social Council, ECOSOCC, African Courts, Regional Economic Communities, RECs, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, and the African Development Bank, AfDB, in order to mitigate against resource slippage and unnecessary competition. This will encourage seamless working relations and cooperation between these institutions and maximise the utilisation of available resources to the relevant interventions.
  • Improve Africa’s human development infrastructure by working with Governments to enact laws and promote policies that enable youth, women and marginalised communities to participate fully in development and decision-making.
  • Boost intra-African trade by working with Governments to set up the relevant policy mechanisms to speed up ratification of the various protocols necessary to actualise free movement of people and information in each of the RECs and across the continent. In addition, supporting the revolution of infrastructure in Africa by creating seamless connections through land, air and sea to maximize Africa’s potential in accordance with past Summit decisions.
  • Secure social stability through peace and security by consolidating the efforts and supporting the work of Organisations engaged in finding lasting peace and security, as well as leveraging cross sectorial cohesion through partner institutions.
  • Enhance democracy, values of good governance and the rule of law by leveraging the Commission as a platform capable of driving the political integration agenda by: strengthening regional and continental electoral systems and institutions reinforcing Africa’s electoral architecture; and supporting regional and national justice and human rights mechanisms such as the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
  • Augment the role of the African Diaspora in the implementation of Agenda 2063, and beyond.
  • Reposition Africa as a strong and influential global player.

*Realnews

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Morocco Accuses AU Chief of Obstructing Readmission
December 1, 2016 | 0 Comments

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, head of the African Union Commission, attends a news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2016. Morrocco claims Dlamini-Zuma is blocking its efforts to rejoin the African Union

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, head of the African Union Commission, attends a news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2016. Morrocco claims Dlamini-Zuma is blocking its efforts to rejoin the African Union

Morocco accused African Union Commission head Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of blocking its efforts to rejoin the organization it left 32 years ago, the country’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

Morocco has asked the African Union (AU) to readmit it, as it seeks support for its plan to offer autonomy to the disputed territory of Western Sahara while keeping it under Moroccan sovereignty.

Morocco abandoned its seat in 1984 when the AU recognized Western Sahara, a sparsely populated stretch of desert that was formerly a Spanish protectorate, and admitted it as a member.

Moroccan request delayed

The ministry said Dlamini-Zuma had delayed the distribution of the Moroccan request to AU members without any apparent reason, and then invented a new procedural requirement to reject letters from AU members supporting Morocco’s demand.

“The kingdom of Morocco denounces vigorously the maneuvers of African Union Commission head, who is trying to thwart Morocco’s decision to regain its natural and legitimate place in the pan-African institutional family,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency MAP.

“The president of the AU commission is dropping her neutrality and failing the rules and standards of the organization and its members’ will,” the statement added.

Many AU members support Morocco

There was no immediate comment from the African organization on the Moroccan statement.

Morocco says at least 36 of the 54 AU member countries do not acknowledge the territory as a separate state and it is time to withdraw its recognition. None of the Western powers, nor the United Nations, recognize the territory, which calls itself the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

But it is unclear if powerful AU members including Algeria and South Africa, which have expressed support to hold a referendum of the people of Western Sahara on their sovereignty, would accept Morocco’s request.

Discussion expected January

Morocco's King Mohammed, who visited Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (right), Nov. 19, 2016, has been touring Africa seeking support for a return to the African Union

Morocco’s King Mohammed, who visited Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (right), Nov. 19, 2016, has been touring Africa seeking support for a return to the African Union

The AU is expected to discuss the Moroccan request in its January 2017 summit in Addis Ababa.

Morocco has controlled most of the territory since 1975. The area has offshore fishing, phosphate reserves and oilfield potential. Morocco’s King Mohammed has been touring Africa in the last three months seeking support for its AU demand and autonomy proposal for Western Sahara.

In 2014, Morocco rejected the AU’s decision to appoint a special envoy for the Western Sahara, saying the body had no legal authority to intervene.

*Reuters/VOA

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Africa: Three Women to Join Kagame’s African Union Reform Team
October 11, 2016 | 0 Comments

Louise Mushikiwabo

Louise Mushikiwabo

At least three eminent women are set to join President Paul Kagame’s team that is charged with spearheading reforms at the African Union.

After The EastAfrican exclusively reported the appointment of Carlos Lopes, Donald Kaberuka, Strive Masiyiwa and Acha Leke to the team, one of the president’s 1.5 million Twitter followers questioned why no woman had been named.

“The team is not complete… awaiting consent of two women to join the team. Thinking of three,” President Kagame replied.

The AU is expected to wean itself of donor dependency by 2018. President Kagame was tasked with leading efforts to reform the AU into a self-reliant body.

Mr Kaberuka, the former president of the African Development Bank, presented a new model of financing to African leaders during the 27th Heads of State Summit held in Kigali in July. He will work with Mr Lopes, the outgoing executive director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and Mr Masiyiwa, the Econet Wireless founder. Mr Leke is a senior partner at global consultancy firm McKinsey & Company.

There was speculation that the team would include Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, but this was countered by the argument that her Cabinet position would not allow her to take up another full time engagement.

The other possible appointee was former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Ms Mushikiwabo, who is also the government spokesperson, confirmed that three women will join the team but said she could not reveal the names yet.

“Indeed, shortly three women will join the team working with President Kagame on the AU reform proposal to be shared with other heads of state at the next AU Summit in January 2017. President Kagame’s work on the reforms is quite advanced, but it’s never too late to get a woman’s views. The president wrote to his fellow African heads of state after the Kigali Summit asking for input to enrich his work, and a few have already responded,” Ms Mushikiwabo told The EastAfrican.

The AU has in the past come under scrutiny for its dependency on donors and its failure to make firm decisions on important matters affecting the continent.

Although the leaders have adopted a new model for financing the AU, challenges remain on how it will be implemented considering that a similar model floated by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo failed to take off. Mr Obasanjo had suggested that states levy a tourism tax of $2 on hotel rooms and a $10 levy on each air ticket bought.

The new model championed by Mr Kaberuka will see countries raise about $1.2 billion to finance AU operations through a 0.2 per cent tax on imports.

“Africa can do better in terms of mobilising internal resources,” Mr Lopes said.

*Allafrica

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