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FIRST AFRICAN PASSPORTS GO TO PRESIDENTS OF RWANDA AND CHAD
July 18, 2016 | 0 Comments

The African Union wants to roll out the continental passport to millions of Africans.

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AU Confirms Will Hold Elections, Denies Split
July 18, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Chris Stein*

Heads of state and government pose during a photo call before the official opening of the 27th African Union (AU) Summit in Kigali on July 17, 2016.

Heads of state and government pose during a photo call before the official opening of the 27th African Union (AU) Summit in Kigali on July 17, 2016.

The African Union summit meeting in Kigali will be voting for a new AU commission on Monday, despite rumors of a call for the election to be delayed.

There have been persistent rumors at the summit that the ECOWAS bloc of west African states is unhappy with the choice of candidates offered to succeed outgoing AU commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

There are three candidates, two of them women, former Uganda vice president Specioza Wandira Kazibwe and Botswana Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson Moitoi, and Equatorial Guinea Foreign Minister Agapito Mba Mokuy.

Late Sunday an AU legal counsel, Vincent O Nmehielle, denied the rumors of a delay.

“Stop speculating.  There is no ECOWAS concern that has made an election to be postponed.  Elections are going forward tomorrow.  No more names are entering the list, while the elections are going on tomorrow.  If somehow we are not able to obtain the necessary majority then the rules will kick in and you will be advised as to the outcome,” Nmehielle said.

ECOWAS does not determine whether AU commission elections are held, he added.

AU rules say the winning candidate must obtain two thirds of member states’ votes.  Nmehielle explained that if no one wins this majority in the first round, the candidate with least votes will be knocked out and a second round held.

If a two thirds majority is still not obtained, he said, the election will be suspended pending another vote and an interim chairperson appointed.

One journalist questioned the democratic credentials of some of the candidates’ home countries.  Nmehielle declined to comment.

“Can you define democracy for me?  When you say candidates from undemocratic countries I do not know what you mean.  They are members of the African Union.  To be a candidate it is open to all members of the African Union,” Nmehielle said.

According to AU rules the commission chairperson and deputy chairperson are elected by heads of states or their representatives at the summit, while the eight commissioners are elected by member states’ foreign ministers.

*VOA

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African Blocs Fail to Agree On Free Trade Area
July 16, 2016 | 0 Comments

13659089_10206873082642326_7854642814787249514_nTwenty-six African countries have failed to agree on how traders would access a market of more than 600 million people through the proposed Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), blurring expansion plans by companies.

The EAC, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) have differed on the kind of preferential treatment sensitive goods and services from one bloc would be offered in another.

The 12-month period for negotiations expired on June 30.

“We were to complete this work by last month (June) but we did not reach an agreement. There are still challenges,” said Mark Ogot, a senior assistant director in-charge of economic affairs at Kenya’s Ministry of East African Affairs.

It is understood that though the blocs have reached a common position on the proportion of tariff lines to be liberalised they have broken ranks over a common tariff to be applied on sensitive products such as maize, wheat, sugar, textile and cement which are considered essential in spurring the growth of domestic industries.

The EAC countries have agreed to liberalise 37 per cent of the tariff lines estimated at 5,600 items. This would allow about 2,000 items excluding sensitive items to enter member countries at zero duty.

The other goods would be charged duty at the rate of 10 per cent for intermediate goods and 25 per cent for finished goods.

Southern African Customs Union – the SADC Customs union – has agreed to remove duty on 60 per cent of its 7,000 tariff lines, offering opportunity for 4,200 goods to be exported to southern Africa.

TFTA protocol had targeted the removal of duty on between 60 per cent and 85 per cent of the tariff lines. The remaining 15 per cent of the tariff lines were to be negotiated over a period of between five and eight years.

Comesa has 5,000 tariff lines but its members who are neither in EAC or SADC have been allowed to negotiate individually because the bloc does not have a customs union.

A trade framework agreed upon by heads of state during the TFTA launch last year required countries to exchange tariff concessions based on reciprocity.

Mr Ogot said plans are underway to extend the negotiation period but the duration is still not yet clear.The EastAfrican has learnt that the protracted discussions have been complicated by South Africa, which is keen on protecting its key markets from competition.

It is understood that South Africa is wary of opening up its domestic market and its export market in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, which are members of the SACU to the selected items, especially maize, wheat, electronics and equipment from other blocs.

“South Africa does not appear to be keen on this arrangement because they dominate the market and are cautious of losing part of it,” said Ogot.

Under the TFTA pact the members of the three trading blocs agreed to ignore sensitive products and subject them to duty and quota restrictions in order to ensure fair competition.

The products earlier listed for protection until 2017 included, maize, cement sugar, wheat, rice, textiles, milk and cream, cane and beet sugar, secondhand clothes, beverages, spirits, plastics, electronic equipment.

The implementation of the agreement would effectively open the door for EAC goods, to markets such as South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea and vice versa.

The TFTA agreement is expected to serve as the basis for the completion of a Continental Free Trade Area by 2017 which South Africa appears to be more keen on. The CFTA aims to boost trade within Africa by up to 30 per cent in the next decade, and eventually establishing an African Economic Community.

South Africa has said that implementing the TFTA would complicate its trade with Europe because EAC is yet to sign an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union.

Spanning the continent from Cape Town to Cairo, the grand FTA encompasses 26 Countries with a combined population of nearly 625 million people and a total gross domestic product (GDP) of approximately $1.2 trillion.

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Morocco seeks to rejoin African Union after Western Sahara row
July 16, 2016 | 0 Comments

_90402957_moroccoMorocco has sent a special envoy to lobby African leaders to rejoin the African Union 32 years after it left in a row over Western Sahara.

Taib Fassi Fihri met Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi and said Morocco wants to re-join the AU without any preconditions.

Morocco claims Western Sahara as part of its territory, much of which it has occupied since 1975.

But the AU recognises Western Sahara as an independent state.

Morocco is the only African country not to be an AU member.

The AU, however, says it will continue pushing for the rights of Western Sahara to hold a referendum on its self-determination.

Brahim Ghali, the new leader of the North African territory is expected to attend the African Union summit in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, according to the AU’s deputy chairperson Erastus Mwencha.

Thousands of Sahrawis have spent years in refugee camps

Thousands of Sahrawis have spent years in refugee camps

Mr Ghali was elected the Western Sahara president and secretary-general of the independence movement Polisario Front on 9 July.

He replaced long-time leader Mohamed Abdelaziz who died in May.

How did we get here?

  • 1975-76: Morocco annexes two-thirds of Western Sahara after colonial power Spain withdraws.
  • 1975-76: Polisario Front declares the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), with a government-in-exile in Algeria. Thousands of Sahrawi refugees flee to western Algeria to set up camps.
  • 1984: Morocco leaves the Organisation of African Unity (which later became the African Union) in protest at the SADR’s admission to the body.
  • 1991: UN-monitored ceasefire begins in Western Sahara, but the territory’s status remains undecided and ceasefire violations are reported. The following decade sees much wrangling over a proposed referendum on the future of the territory but the deadlock is not broken.
  • March 2016: Morocco threatens to pull its soldiers out of UN global peacekeeping missions in Western Sahara, after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon uses the term “occupation” when referring to the territory.
  • May 2016: Long-time Polisario Front leader Mohamed Abdelaziz dies aged 68
  • *BBC
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Election of New Chair to Top AU Summit Agenda
July 8, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Jill Craig ,

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission, is to step down after holding the position for the last four years

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission, is to step down after holding the position for the last four years

As heads of state meet amid the rolling hills of Kigali for the African Union summit, which kicks off Sunday, the biggest item on the agenda will be the selection of the next AU Commission chairperson.

The current chair, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma of South Africa, is to step down after holding the position for the last four years.

“I think it’s important to stress that who leads the African Union Commission matters,” said Elissa Jobson, advisor on African Union relations for the International Crisis Group. “And it matters immensely. The chairperson is responsible for shaping the continent’s economic, political and security agendas, and so it’s really key that they have the best candidate in this job.”

So far, there are three candidates. Two are current foreign ministers, one from Botswana and the other from Equatorial Guinea. The third candidate is Uganda’s former vice president and a former U.N. special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.

But Peter Pham, the director of the Washington-based Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, cautions that Dlamini Zuma’s successor may not come out of this summit, since a two-thirds majority vote is required.

“This time around, with three relatively unknown candidates, it might well be the case that a two-thirds majority is not achieved, and there is additional campaigning and the possibility that other candidates might throw their hats in the ring,” said Pham.

The leadership turnover doesn’t stop there. A new deputy chairperson and eight commissioners of the AU will also be selected, according to Monde Muyangwa, director of the Africa Program at the Wilson Center.

“So you have a huge leadership transition occurring at the African Union and so this is really going to determine which way does the African Union go,” said Muyangwa.

ICC issue simmers

Back in January, an AU ministerial committee was asked to draw up a strategy regarding the International Criminal Court, giving special consideration to whether AU member countries should leave.

Critics of the ICC point out that all of the cases it has investigated or prosecuted stemmed from Africa.

The committee said that in order to prevent an African withdrawal from the court, the ICC should grant immunity from prosecution to sitting heads of state and other senior officials. But that demand is at odds with many human rights activists, who say it would undermine the effectiveness of the court.

Elise Keppler, the associate director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch said, “Now whether or not the conclusions and assessments of that committee are going to be considered at this AU summit is not clear, although it’s important to note that we have seen again and again in the past few years that the issue of the ICC and AU attacks on the ICC regularly comes up very last minute, sometimes on the floor of the debate at the African Union summit. So really, we don’t know for sure now, but anything is possible.”

Pham doesn’t believe the ICC issue will become a priority at this particular summit, because no sitting head of state other than President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, is under threat, although he says in the long-term, the issue will be important.

“In many respects, the collapse of the ICC case against the president of Kenya, in a way took a bit of the urgency out of the African threat to withdrawal from the ICC,” he said

War crimes court for South Sudan?

South Sudan will likely be discussed. HRW’s Keppler said the AU was tasked in the 2015 peace agreement to establish a hybrid court to prosecute crimes committed during the conflict, because the country is not a part of the ICC.

“And we’ve been looking to the African Union commission to get this process off the ground. I think a great outcome from the summit would be to see that there is encouragement for more progress,” said Keppler.

Last month, South Sudan’s leadership called on the international community to “reconsider” setting up that tribunal in an op-ed published in The New York Times.

Meanwhile, the 54-nation bloc will be issuing its first e-passports, which will go to AU heads of state, permanent representatives of these states and ministers of foreign affairs as part of a pilot program.

The goal of the new passport is to ease restrictions in the movements of people, goods and services across national lines.

“Which is a step at least symbolically in the direction of a closer union, a pan-African identity,” said Pham. “But the reality is that despite those aspirations and those ambitions, it’s not the want of passports that causes Africans not to travel to each other’s countries, and to trade and do business with each other. It’s the lack of transportation infrastructure that makes that. A passport won’t do you any good if you don’t have a road that will get you from one place to another, or you don’t have customs officials and customs clearing houses to expedite the passage of goods.”

Muyangwa expressed a bit more optimism that the e-passports will be more than just symbolic.

“I’ve been encouraged by the discussion on the benefits of this e-passport at the highest levels in Africa so hopefully this is something that you’re going to get more and more countries signing up for and hopefully becoming a reality in the next few years.”

The AU summit opens July 10 and culminates with the heads of state meeting on July 17 and 18.

*VOA

 

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Africa: Uganda Debts Threaten Kazibwe’s AU Job Bid
June 20, 2016 | 0 Comments

Dr Specioza Wandira Kazibwe

Dr Specioza Wandira Kazibwe

Despite securing national and regional backing for the African Union top job, Dr Specioza Wandira Kazibwe’s chances could be scuttled by Uganda’s failure to pay membership fees to continental organisations.

It was reported last week that Kampala had committed Shs 3.5bn to former vice-president Kazibwe’s campaign for the July election; but sources said Uganda’s ‘serial defaulter’ status could rock the boat.

“Our candidate stands very good chances of getting the job but our biggest problem is that we have accumulated unpaid membership fees to several organisations. Our opponents could use that against us,” said a source who declined to be named so as to discuss the matter freely.

Kazibwe launched her campaign for the job of All Commission chairman at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on June 10. She faces Botswana’s foreign affairs minister, Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, and Equatorial Guinea foreign affairs minister Agapito Mba Mokuy. The winner will serve up to 2020.

Buoyed by the Shs 3.5bn cash kitty, Kazibwe last week began a continental charm offensive, with her first stop being the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in Angola. Kazibwe reportedly met 12 heads of states and their delegations on the side lines of the event, which President Museveni also attended, to front her candidature.

Ironically, given how much the government is investing in her bid, one of the issues that could knock wind out of Kazibwe’s campaign’s sails is money matters.

SHS 38.4BN DEBT

Uganda is indebted to international organisations to the tune of Shs 38.4 billion, according to the most recent financial audit review of the ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Office of the Auditor General. The audit, dated December 15, 2015, shows that Shs 33.1bn is for annual subscriptions while Shs 5.3bn is for other outstanding obligations.

Tasked to explain why the government had not paid the debt, foreign affairs ministry officials told auditors the problem was insufficient budget allocations by the finance ministry. The auditor general warned at the time that Uganda’s failure to meet its international financial obligations could come back to haunt the country in the future.

“The practice may limit the country’s participation in activities organised by international organisations. It may also attract litigation and its associated penalties from other creditors,” he noted in the report.

MINISTRY CONCEDES

In an interview on Friday, the foreign affairs permanent secretary, Ambassador James Mugume, conceded that the government has defaulted on payments to some organisations. But the African Union was not one of them.

“Regarding the AU, we are clear,” he said. “We have paid [membership] up to 2015 and, in the budget that is coming up, we are paying our membership for 2016.”

Mugume named one of the organisations that Uganda owes money as the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), but argued that it did not mean the country was not playing its role on the continent.

“There are [organisations] where we have not been paying like IGAD and others, but you know we have been playing such a big role to stabilise IGAD,” he said. “We had to stabilise South Sudan and do it by ourselves; so, this contribution they are talking about would not even have been enough to stabilise the situation in South Sudan.”

Mugume, a member of Kazibwe’s campaign team, also said that wherever they have so far gone to solicit support for the former vice president, nobody has raised the issue of the fees Uganda has not paid yet.

“Nobody has complained but everybody recognises our singular role in IGAD,” he said. “Whether it is Somalia or South Sudan, we have been playing our role.”

STRETCHED EMBASSY

While the main audit does not indicate exactly which other organisations Uganda owes money, a separate report on the performance of our embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia sheds light on at least one other affected programme.

According to the second audit, dated December 7, 2015, the government failed to allocate Shs 683 million required to meet Uganda’s obligations as a member of the African Union Peace and Security Council. Uganda was voted onto the council in 2013 for a three-year term.

In the report, the auditor general says that due to failure to send that money, Uganda’s embassy risked failing “to meet its obligations of its mission charter, including its participation in the AU Peace and Security Council.”

Uganda’s embassy in Addis Ababa is a multipurpose station charged with the role of representing Uganda in Ethiopia and Djibouti. It is also accredited to the AU, UN-ECA, AfDB, and is a member of the Peace and Security Committee on South Sudan, in addition to its regular role of offering consular services to Ugandans in the Horn of Africa.

Yet, in the words of the Auditor General, the embassy – which is expected to perform a key role to ensure Kazibwe’s election to the AU top job – is always battling “expenditure pressures on the available funds.”

“According to the ambassador, this scope of work involves a lot of activities including travelling, all of which require substantial resources in form of funding and time,” says the Auditor General’s report.

In the 2014/15 financial year, the government released less money than the mission had budgeted for its activities, resulting in a shortage of Shs 171 million. The Auditor General says this led to failure to maintain the existing embassy building (which Uganda has been renting since 1972), the ambassador’s residence which is in a run-down area and even the three official cars attached to the mission.

Uganda also risks losing a plot of 9,086 square metres that the Ethiopian government allocated to the country for the construction of a new embassy. While Uganda’s neighbours on the land, Zimbabwe and Chad, have already developed and occupied their plots, Uganda has not developed its own since it was allocated in 2005.

With the Ethiopian government asking for the full payment of Shs 417 million for the plot before development can go on, Uganda’s failure to pay the money looks likely to cost the embassy the prime property.

“During inspection, I noted that half of the plot had been recently fenced off with iron sheets without the knowledge of the embassy, with a possibility that it had been reallocated to another developer,” says the report.

EXPERIENCED CANDIDATE

Mugume said Uganda would counter any efforts to de-campaign Kazibwe’s candidature using the unpaid bills by highlighting the country’s role as a peacekeeper in Africa.

“We have had our troops in Somalia and even when EU funding has reduced, we have maintained them. We have stabilised South Sudan until they have attained peace. So for anybody to suggest we are not playing our role is wrong,” he said.

The veteran diplomat said they are confident of Kazibwe’s chances of securing the AU job, especially since she received the endorsement of other East African countries at a time when the region is a front runner to take over the AU chair.

“West Africa had their chairperson in [Alpha Oumar] Konaré [from Mali]. Central Africa had [Jean] Ping from Gabon. Southern Africa had [Nkosazana Dlamini] Zuma. So, it is now the turn for East Africa and the Maghreb region [North Africa] but we have the support of the Maghreb so that means we have the momentum,” Mugume said.

*Allafrica

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Africa: Tedros Campaign to Head WHO Launched by African Union in Geneva
May 25, 2016 | 0 Comments
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu (left), at the Geneva press conference launching his candidacy to head the World Health Organization, with Algerian Health Minister Abdelmalek Boudiaf.and African Union chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Ethiopian Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu (left), at the Geneva press conference launching his candidacy to head the World Health Organization, with Algerian Health Minister Abdelmalek Boudiaf.and African Union chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Geneva — On this sunny Tuesday in the city that hosts the highest number of international organizations in the world, Africa took center stage presenting a united front in support of the candidature of Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to head the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Ethiopian minister of foreign affairs, who previously served as his country’s health minister from 2005 to 2012, was designated at the January meeting of the African Union summit as the continent’s sole candidate to become the next WHO director general.

 At today’s press conference at the Geneva headquarters of WHO, the candidate was flanked by Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who chairs the African Union Commission, and Algerian Health Minister Abdelmalek Boudiaf.

Foreign Minister Tedros told assembled reporters and observers that a fresh view is needed to efficiently tackle the world health challenges. While noting that Africa has never had the opportunity to lead the UN agency, he emphasized that his candidacy is based on merit as demonstrated by a respected track record both at home and in the international arena.

A leaflet distributed at the press conference included an hearty endorsement by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. “Dr Tedros’ signature approach takes innovation, collaboration and community ownership as its core principles. The transformative changes he brought to Ethiopia’s health sector are testimonies to his unique leadership style that gives primacy to county ownership and adaptive home-grown solutions,” the Prime Minister is quoted as saying.

 “Through his leadership of global organizations, he has introduced reforms that helped them live up to the challenges of the day. I am proud to nominate Dr. Tedros, a transformational leader and unrelenting champion of global health, for the WHO Director General post.”

Selection of the next WHO director general takes place in May 2017. In the intervening 12 months, Tedros said he will convey his platform to the world, key elements of which include universal access to basic healthcare, emphasis on policies to improve women and girls health, emergency-response readiness and consolidation of the WHO funding structure.

The press conference was held on the margins of this week’s World Health Assembly, the decision-making body for WHO which includes delegations from all the 194-member states.

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African Union says it will send rights observers and military monitors to violence-plagued Burundi after visit by 5 African presidents
February 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

By RODNEY MUHUMUZA*

South African President Jacob Zuma (R) addresses a news conference next to Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza in Burundi's capital Bujumbura, February 26, 2016, after an Africa Union-sponsored dialogue in an attempt to end months of violence. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana

South African President Jacob Zuma (R) addresses a news conference next to Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura, February 26, 2016, after an Africa Union-sponsored dialogue in an attempt to end months of violence. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — The African Union said on Saturday it will deploy rights observers and military monitors to violence-plagued Burundi following a visit to the country by five African leaders.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza supports the deployment of 100 military monitors and 100 human rights observers, the AU said in a statement. Nkurunziza had previously opposed the AU’s decision to deploy peacekeepers, saying they would be treated as an invading force.

The leaders of Ethiopia, Gabon, Mauritania, Senegal and South Africa visited Burundi this week to encourage peace talks between Nkurunziza and his opponents.

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who was nominated by a regional bloc last year to mediate the Burundi crisis, is expected to convene all-inclusive talks, the AU statement said.

Burundi has been wracked by violence since April 2015, when Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term, which he eventually won despite violent street protests.

More than 400 people have been killed in Burundi, according to the U.N, and a new rebel group has been formed against Nkurunziza.

The capital, Bujumbura, has descended into “new levels of lawlessness” as Burundian authorities target perceived opponents with increased brutality, Human Right Watch reported this week. Burundi’s security forces have tortured or ill-treated suspected opponents so severely during arrests or in detention that some almost died, the New York-based rights watchdog said, citing beatings using rocks, bricks, gun butts and metal rods.

“Whereas dead bodies on the streets of Bujumbura were a daily occurrence in the second half of 2015, many abuses are now taking place under the radar, with security forces secretly taking people away and refusing to account for them,” it said in a statement Thursday.

*Source AP

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The African Union appoints the High-Level Delegation to Burundi
February 5, 2016 | 0 Comments
New African Union Chair Person Idriss Derby

New African Union Chair Person Idriss Derby

The Chairperson of the African Union (AU), H.E Idriss Deby Itno of the Republic of Chad, recalls the decision taken by the 26th Ordinary Session of the  Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, held from 30 to 31 January 2016, to dispatch a High-Level delegation to Burundi for consultations with the Burundian Government and other Burundian stakeholders.

The Chairperson of the Union, after consultations, announces the composition of the High- Level delegation as follows, representing the five regions :

– H.E Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (North Africa region);

– H.E Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa (Southern Africa region)

– H.E Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal (West Africa region),

– H.E Ali Bongo Ondimba of the Republic of Gabon (Central Africa region),

– H.E Hailemariam Desalegn of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (Eastern Africa Region)

It is to be recalled that the mandate of the High-Level delegation is to consult with the Government, as well as with other Burundian actors, on the inclusive dialogue and the deployment of the African Prevention and Protection Mission in Burundi (MAPROBU), if accepted by the Government of Burundi

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The 28th Ordinary Session of the African Union Executive Council Positions Agenda 2063 as key element of discussion
January 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

19590-28th_ordinary_session_of_the_executive_councilThe African Union (AU) Executive Council has emphasized the importance of upholding human rights especially women’s rights in Africa for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa under the Agenda 2063 framework.

This came at the opening of the 28th Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council today 27 January 2016, at the AU Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme: “2016: African Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on the Rights of Women”.

The opening ceremony was attended by a high level gathering that included: H.E. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma AUC Chairperson, the United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Mr Carlos Lopez, AU Ministers of Foreign Affairs, AU Commissioners, officials and invited guests.

Addressing the distinguished delegates at the opening ceremony, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma reiterated the AU vision which is to build an Africa that is driven by its citizens and stressed its relevance to the theme of this year, “African Year of Human Rights with particular focus on the rights of women”. The Chairperson recalled aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063 which clearly states the African Union position of achieving “an Africa whose development is people driven , relying on the potential of the African people especially its women, youth and caring for children”.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma emphasized that Agenda 2063 is not only the program of the AU but also for the various diversities of African people from all walks of life, the poets, singers, dancers, youth, women and girls , private sector, farmers, entrepreneurs the children of Africa and all African citizens, men and women, young and old, urban and rural as well as the diaspora.

Dr Dlamini Zuma recognised efforts by the youth in entrepreneurship, innovation, universities, and civil society; tackling Africa’s problems in innovative ways. She however recalled that the report on the critical skills for Agenda 2063 from the just concluded Mekele retreat highlighted a huge skills gap. The AUC Chair called for discussions with Africa’s private sector on industrialisation, agriculture, infrastructure development, movement of goods, people and services among others.

In relation to this year’s theme on Human Rights with particular focus on the rights of women, Dr. Dlamini Zuma said since the launch of the first African Gender Scorecard, countries have taken steps to do better and that in 2016, the gender score card would focus on indicators related to human rights.

Dr. Dlamini in her closing remarks commended the resilience of the people and governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and the continental and global solidarity that put an end to the Ebola epidemic.

Hon. Simbarashe S.  Mumbengegwi Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Chair of the Executive Council in his opening remarks called for domestication of Agenda 2063 and continued commitment towards the fulfilment of the African Vision. He further added that the issue of terrorism which has caused loss of lives and property has negatively affected the socio-economic development of some parts of the continent hence the need to unite against all forms of terrorism.

28th_ordinary_session_of_the_executive_council_2Mr. Mumbengegwi in his conclusion congratulated the AU member states for conducting successful elections in the past year, which he said reflect the collective commitment to democracy and good governance. He also seized the opportunity to inform his colleagues that Zimbabwe’s tenure as Chair of the African Union comes to an end during this 26th AU Summit, and went on to further attribute the successes achieved during the year to the cooperation of the Executive Council, the PRC members, the Commission and other AU institutions (See complete speech of the Zimbabwe Minister of Foreign Affairs on the AU Website: au.int ).

The United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Mr Carlos Lopez underscored the need for structural transformation to boost Africa’s Economic advancement. Mr. Lopez condemned the genocide in Rwanda.

In his conclusion Mr. Carlos Lopez called on member states to prioritise putting an end to armed conflicts. (See complete speech of Mr. Carlos Lopez on the AU Website: au.int ).

The Executive Council meeting is the second of three statutory meetings to be held under the on-going 26th summit of the African Union, holding from 21 to 31 January 2016. The first meeting was that of the Permanent Representatives Committee which was held from 21 to 23 January. The final meeting of the summit will be that of the Heads of State and Government to take place from 30-31 January.

For two days, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs/External Relations and other ministers or authorities duly designated will convene in closed session to deliberate on the different items on their agenda including the consideration of the report of the Permanent Representatives Committee.

The Executive Council will prepare the agenda of the Heads of State with appropriate recommendations for consideration by the Assembly.

*AU

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Dr. Donald Kaberuka, outgoing President of the African Development Bank, appointed as High Representative for the AU Peace Fund
January 28, 2016 | 0 Comments
AU Chairperson Dr Dlamini Zuma with Donald Kaberuka

AU Chairperson Dr Dlamini Zuma with Donald Kaberuka

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has appointed Dr. Donald Kaberuka, as the AU High Representative for the Peace Fund. It is to be recalled that, at its meeting held on 26 September 2015, in New York, the Peace and Security Council, meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government, expressed its support to the initiative of the Chairperson of the Commission to appoint a High Representative for the Peace Fund, whose mandate shall include mobilizing additional resources for AU peace and security-related activities, and requested her to expedite this appointment.

The Chairperson of the Commission, through the appointment of Dr. Kaberuka, is sending a strong signal to the international community on the AU’s commitment to work towards finding sustained, predictable and flexible funding mechanisms to support AU-led peace operations, as expressed in the Common African Position on the Report of UN High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) and subsequent Report of the United nations Secretary General entitled the future of UN Peace Operations: implementation of the recommendations of the High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations.

Donald Kaberuka, a Rwandan economist and former Minister of Finance, is also the outgoing President of the African Development Bank Group, and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Dr. Kaberuka is currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum, the Mandela Institute (Minds) and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. He has also joined the Center for Public Leadership Community as a Hauser Leader-in-Residence. Dr. Kaberuka will bring to the AU his globally appreciated knowledge on Development financing, as well as his well-known dedication to Africa.

 

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The AU condemns the terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou and expresses its full solidarity with and support to the Government and the people of Burkina Faso
January 18, 2016 | 0 Comments
Dr Dlamini Zuma

Dr Dlamini Zuma

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, leant with great dismay about the terrorist attacks yesterday, 15 January 2016, in various locations in Burkina Faso, against a military post in Tin Akof and against a hotel and a restaurant in the capital, Ouagadougou.

The Chairperson of the Commission strongly condemns these despicable and cowardly terrorist attacks that caused many casualties and injuries among the civilian population and the Defence and Security Forces. On behalf of the AU, she presents her heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and wishes speedy recovery to the injured and expresses the full solidarity of the AU with the people and the Government of Burkina Faso.

The Chairperson of the Commission stresses that these attacks take place at a time when the new authorities of Burkina Faso, emanating from the elections of 29 November 2015, which put an end to the Transition, initiated in November 2014, usher in a new era of democracy, justice, reconciliation and sustainable development, with the support of the countries of the region and the international community as a whole.

The Chairperson of the Commission stresses, once again, the imperative need for strengthened and always better coordinated collective African and international efforts to deal with the growing threat of terrorism and extremism in Africa. She reiterates her call to the Member States to enhance their cooperation within the framework of the relevant African and international instruments. In this respect, she reaffirms the vital importance of establishing, quickly, an Intervention Force to be deployed in northern Mali, to fight against the criminal and terrorist groups operating from that region towards other countries of the Sahel, as envisaged in the Conclusions of the meeting, held in Bamako, on 4 September 2015, by the Defence Ministers of the Member countries of the Nouakchott Process on Enhanced Security Cooperation and Operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahelo-Saharan Region. On this painful occasion, she reiterates the determination of the AU to continue to support Burkina Faso in its efforts towards reconciliation and reform.

*APO

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AU Commission wins FAO Jacques Diouf Award 2014-2015
December 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

Mr Erastus Mwencha: Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission Mr Erastus Mwencha: Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission[/caption] The new Government Complex Conference Centre of Lusaka, Zambia was full to capacity, with high profile representatives from different worldwide organisation as well as continental organisations dealing with various forms of child abuse including early marriages and related issues. The delegates converged in Lusaka on 26 and 27 November 2015, to discuss ways to eradicate the scourge of child marriage in Africa, within the framework of the First African Girls’ Summit, organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Zambia. The AUC Chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, addressed the Summit participants in a recorded video message saying, “We must end child marriage and educate the girl child so that they can attain their full potentials….Girls who end up as brides at a tender age are coerced into having children while they are children themselves.” She stressed that cultural norms that undervalue girls and women are largely to blame. “Child marriage generates norms that have become increasingly difficult to exterminate – norms that undermine the value of our women.” The AUC Chairperson further stressed that child marriage is a critical problem that interrupts the education of girls and undermines their chance to develop and that child marriages take away girls chance to develop and get empowered. “Children’s rights should be respected. The future of our children must be protected because they are our assets for our development.” Dr. Dlamini Zuma underscored. Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African Union represented the AUC Chair at this important Summit on ending child marriage in Africa.  He reiterated the importance of the AU Campaign on ending child marriage in accordance with the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. According to Commissioner Kaloko, the AUCampaign to End Child Marriage is aimed at raising awareness and accelerating change across the African continent. He noted that the adoption of the AU Common Position on this issue at the AU Summit last June, demonstrated commitment at the highest level in the continent. “Country-level launches of the AU Campaign are also helping to mobilise stakeholders, governments, civil society, traditional and religious leaders, men and boys, to contribute to national level action. Looking forward, we must focus on supporting countries to develop national-level strategies and policies to end child marriage that are realistic, well-resourced and effectively implemented,” underlined the Commissioner. Speaking while officially opening the First AU African Girl Summit on 26 November 2015 in Lusaka, H.E Edgar Changwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia reiterated that child marriages must come to an end. The Head of State said child marriages pose a greater challenge in Zambia just like other African Union member states. He urged AU Member countries to fight this scourge so as to create an ideal and safe environment for all children in the continent. The President stated that his government is working tirelessly to ensuring that child marriage is completely eradicated. “So far, the prevalence has reduced from 42 percent to 32 percent; let us join hands together and end the scourge,” he stressed.  President Lungu expressed appreciation to the African Union for choosing Zambia as the first country to host African Girls’ Summit on ending child marriage in Africa. The Zambian Minister of Gender, H.E. Prof. Nkandu Luo said there is need for everyone’s participation and commitment to curb child marriages. “Zambia is not spared, it is among other countries that are struggling with issues of child marriages”, the Minister noted. “The Government of Canada is committed to ending child, early and forced marriage because the impacts of this practice are so profound and so far-reaching. We all know the facts -15 million girls are married every year before they turn 18. That’s 15 million childhoods interrupted. 15 million futures forever changed. Child marriage is a violation of girls’ rights. It disrupts their access to education, jeopardizes their health and makes them vulnerable to violence. It also keeps girls from reaching their full potential and from fully contributing to the social and economic growth of their families, communities and countries. “Said the representative of the Canadian Government, Hon. Joyce Murray, Member of Parliament in her opening remarks.  (See complete statement of Hon. Murray on the AU Website: au.int ) The Summit brought together religious and traditional leaders, the youths, African First Ladies amongst other dignitaries. The event featured several short videos, parallel sessions and panel discussions on child marriage. The first panel discussion was animated by Dr. Olawale Maiyegun, AU Director for Social Affairs, Mrs. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, African Union Goodwill Ambassador on ending Child Marriage, Ms. Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Famous Nollywood actress, Dr. Tererai Trent, Child marriage survivor and activist, Mrs. Letty Chiwara, UN Women Representative to Ethiopia, the African Union and UNECA, and the representative of “Girls not Brides”. The issues discussed during the parallel sessions included: Changing the attitude on tradition and culture towards harmful traditional practices and the role of the media in the promotion of positive support for preventing child marriage and teen pregnancies, among others. The outcome document of the Summit stressed among others, on the critical need to recognize that everyone has a role to play in ending child marriage – from international organizations to continental, regional  and national organizations through concerted actions and strategies that holistically address the issue, to communities themselves, including religious and traditional leaders, parents, men and boys, and girls themselves. The Summit resolved that a multi-sectoral approach is needed to end child marriage. This interventions at multiple levels simultaneously such as mobilizing families and communities in order to change attitudes and reduce the acceptance of the practice; ensuring that girls have access to quality education and health services, including reproductive health services, as well and economic development opportunities; empowering girls to be able to say no to marriage; and establishing and implementing laws and policies that protect girls and help prevent child marriage. *AU/APO]]>

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AU celebrates one of Africa's longest serving women Diplomats, Amb. Kongit Sinegiorgis of Ethiopia
November 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

H.E. Ambassador Kongit Sinegiorgis H.E. Ambassador Kongit Sinegiorgis[/caption] The African Union (AU) has honoured and celebrated the distinguished career of one of Africa’s longest serving women Diplomats, H.E. Ambassador Kongit Sinegiorgis of Ethiopia. Ambassador Kongit spent 52 years and 10 months in the Foreign Service of Ethiopia, during which she witnessed the historic creation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963, and its transformation into the African Union on 9 July 2002. The formal, but entertaining ceremony took place at the Headquarters of the AU on 16 November 2015, and was co-hosted by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and H.E. Mr. Mull Sebujja Katende, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Uganda to the AU and Dean of the East African Region. In her speech to honour the veteran Diplomat, the AU Commission Chairperson described Ambassador Kongit as “one of the finest daughters of our continent. An African Diplomat par excellence, who loves her country and also loves her continent.”  She said that Amb. Kongit has not only fought hard for Ethiopia’s firm positions, but also for Africa’s interests. Speaking on behalf of the East African Group of Ambassadors, H.E. Mull Sebujja Katende, said Amb. Kongit’s passion over the years has never waned, describing her as a distinguished historic figure with a lot to share. This was a sentiment and a sense of admiration that were equally emphasized by all speakers, even describing her as a “walking encyclopaedia of OAU/AU.” “It is a great honour to pay tribute to you,” said the French Ambassador to Ethiopia, Amb. Brigitte Collet, noting the remarkable contribution of Amb. Kongit to Ethiopia and Africa. The tributes were furthermore echoed online by colleagues around the world. On his Twitter account, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Russia, Amb. Mike Nicholas Sango, described Amb. Kongit as “a remarkable patriot, diplomat and all-round human being. She sets a high bar for us all to aspire to.” H.E. Amb. Kongit was the former Permanent Representative of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the AU and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Tedros Adhanom, and Executive Secretary of the UNECA also paid tribute to the diplomacy legend. Dr. Carlos Lopes announced that Amb. Kongit would be associated to a $46 million project to transform into a museum the Africa House at UNECA, where the OAU was founded. Her Pan-Africanism will inform the museum project expected to be completed in 2018. 16854-au_celebrates_one_of_africas_longest_serving_women_diplomats_amb._kongit_sinegiorgis_of_ethiopia_555On her part, the guest of honour, Amb. Kongit, expressed her emotion-filled gratitude for the tributes paid to her while still alive. “I feel greatly honoured and deeply touched… There is no greater honour than serving one’s country to the fullest,” she remarked. She said that it was time to turn the page and have a good rest with her loving son. The ceremony brought together members of the Diplomatic community in Addis Ababa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia and the staff of the African Union. H.E. Amb. Kongit Sinegiorgis was born in Harar, Ethiopia, in 1940. She obtained a BA in International Relations from the London University College, and shortly thereafter joined the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she spent over 52 years and 10 months with different duties and responsibilities. *APO/AU]]>

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Accra hosts Forth Conference for African Economists
November 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

H.E Dr. Anthony Mothae Maruping H.E Dr. Anthony Mothae Maruping[/caption] “Industrial Policy and Economic Performance in Africa” was at the center of discussion of the Fourth Congress of African Economists that kicked off on 16 November 2015 in Accra, Ghana, bringing together economists from the five regions of Africa and the Diaspora,  to exchange views on how to strengthen and encourage research on economic and policy issues related to the structural transformation and development of the African continent within the framework of the AU Agenda 20163. The Congress was opened by H.E Dr. Anthony Mothae Maruping, Commissioner of Economic Affairs of the African Union, and H.E Hon. Mona Quartey, Deputy Minister of Finance of the Republic of Ghana. Commissioner Maruping underlined the pivotal role of industrialization in the quest for transformative growth.  He explained that, not so long ago, almost every speaker on African economies with the exception of a few, jumped on to a “bandwagon” chanting the refrain: “six out of ten fastest growing economies globally are in Africa”. According to the Commissioner, analysts put average growth rates at 4%+ seen as rising towards 5%+. The few that did not jump onto this bandwagon were viewed as pariah. Yet Africa has fifty four economies making six only eleven per cent. In addition, given that Africa is still home for over 30 least developed countries and several low middle income countries, all accompanied by rapidly growing populations, growth rates of between 4 and 5 per cent fell short of what would be required to achieve economic transformation sought. “Sustained growth rate of at least 7 per cent in real terms remains what is required to achieve sufficiently rapid socio-economic development. Coupled with diversification and inclusivity and equitable distribution of income and wealth, some resilience to external shocks would be attained and Africa would be set on the road towards poverty eradication. ….. Many African economies remain commodities based. They thrive during commodities price boom with multinationals engaged in extractive industry repatriating profits. GDP figures then look impressive but very little remains to permeate into the domestic economy.” Unlined Commissioner Maruping. Such economies, he said, experience setbacks when commodities prices fall. Hence the need to transform African economies ensuring diversification and value addition. “African economies are currently going through a rough patch. Demand for raw materials exports has sharply declined, commodities prices have dropped drastically, drought is adversely affecting agricultural production and hydro-electric power generation, thus exacerbating energy deficit. Unemployment rate is rising and incomes are declining. Poverty is rapidly rising. Tax bases are shrinking. Fiscal deficits are widening. Foreign exchange reserves are dwindling. Domestic borrowing has soared. External borrowing has been complicated by credit rating downgrades. Authorities in most cases are resorting to deep expenditure cuts affecting supply of necessities.” Commissioner further noted, adding that, there is definitely a dire need for a new strategy for African economies. “Business as usual is not an option. Agenda 2063 is that strategic framework”, he said. Minister Quartey who was addressing the Congress participants on behalf of H.E John Dramani Mahama, President of Ghana, stressed that the meeting will not only be a unique and memorable experience, but will further contribute to the deepening of the knowledge on how to improve productivity and boost inclusive and sustainable growth in Africa through industrialization. The Minister recalled that, over the last decade, Africa has embarked in the transformative process of changing its destiny. “This process has been solid with sustained growth and a high degree of resilience against global economic turbulence”. Noted the Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Finance. She further pointed out that, the continent is home for some of the world fast growing economies returning more than seven per cent of annual economic growth. Ministers Quartey expressed satisfaction saying that “today, there are encouraging prospects for a strong and prosperous Africa that is free from extreme poverty”. Dr. Rene N’Guettia Kouassi, Director for Economic Affairs of the African Union moderated most of the sessions during the Congress. He set the context by recalling that on September 25th, 2015, the General Assembly (GA) adopted by acclamation Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development together with its 21 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets. The Agenda also needs more than three hundred indicators for its assessment and follow-up.  He said statisticians are busy working on methodologies for quantifying attendant indicators and that Africa had contributed substantially to this outcome through her Common African Position on Post 2015 Development Agenda (CAP on P2015 DA). “Industrialization is a fundamental part of the African strategy towards inclusive growth and economic transformation for the next decade and beyond (AU, 2014). Indeed, at a time when countries of the continent are in search of new sources of economic growth to consolidate the gains of the last decade and move towards inclusive growth and sustainable development, attention to industrialization is more important than ever”. Noted Director Kouassi. The 2015 Congress of African Economists is an opportunity for researchers, policymakers and practitioners of economic policy and development in Africa and in the diaspora to contribute to the maturation of the debate on industrial policy strategy to implement with a view to boost African development and shift labor from lower to higher productivity sectors over the decades to come. The Congress also provided an opportunity for young African Economists in Africa and in the Diaspora to circulate their research findings as well as share information with African policymakers on industrial development of the continent. It has also enhance skill retention and use so as to propose African solutions to African problems.  . Worth recalling that, the First African Economists Congress was held from 2 to 5 March 2009 in Nairobi under the theme: “Towards the creation of the African single currency”. The Second Congress was held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from 24 to 26 November 2011 under the theme: ” How to achieve strong and sustainable economic growth in Africa, in order to reduce unemployment and support the dynamics of regional and continental integration” and the Third Congress was held in Dakar, Senegal from 6 to 8 March 2013 under the theme “Industrialization and economic emergence in Africa.” The current Congress featured sessions on developing capacities and skills for Africa’s industrial policy and structural transformation: past, present and future; the role of industrial policy in enhancing Africa’s economic performance; Comparative industrial policies: Lessons from other regions; Africa’s industrial policy in a challenging global context; Industrial policy as a catalyst of Africa’s regional integration; Constrains and opportunities for Africa ’s industrialization; Institutional and regulatory framework for industrial policy in Africa: the role of African states and the private sector; and Navigating contemporary challenges: Some policy options among others. The African Union invites partners to support this important Congress that hold every two years while thanking the ACBF for contributing to the successful organization of the 4th African Economists Congress. *APO]]>

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China contributes 2 USD million to support the establishment of the Africa’s Centre for Disease Control
November 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

H.E Mr. Erastus Mwencha H.E Mr. Erastus Mwencha[/caption] The People’s Republic of China has donated 2 USD million to the African Union Commission to support the establishment of the African Center for Disease Control (ACDC). The grant documents were signed today 13th November 2015 at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa by the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Mr. Erastus Mwencha and the Vice Minister of Commerce, H.E Mr. Qian Keming who was leading a high level Chinese delegation. H.E Mr. Mwencha, on behalf of the AUC Chairperson, H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, expressed his gratitude to the People’s Republic of China for the financial support of the 2 USD million for the inception of the African CDC project and also for the donation of IT equipment to the Commission. Furthermore, the Deputy Chairperson acknowledged the strong and fruitful cooperation between Africa and china highlighting the impressive growing economic relations between China and Africa. “In 2012, the volume of trade was 198.5 USD billion and is estimated to reach 385 USD billion by end of 2015 if the current trends continue” He said. “These relations are mutually beneficial to both parties and are underscored by a sense of mutual respect. While Africa gains by the injection of technical and financial support, China also gains the access to Africa’s vast consumer market and to reserves of natural resources, which are needed to support China’s growing industrial sector.” He continued. The Deputy Chairperson also noted that since the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2000, it has provided a valuable platform for Africa-China dialogue on key issues of development for both parties. He appreciated the ongoing partnership in various sectors including economic cooperation, trade, industrial investments, infrastructure and aviation, with transformational benefits over the last decade has made on bilateral basis with African countries. H.E Mr. Qian Keming, Vice Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China expressed the readiness of his country to strengthen and broaden the areas of cooperation with Africa. The Vice Minister of Commerce highlighted that the Africa’s Agenda 2063 its First ten-year implementation Plan can be compared to China’s thirteenth five-year plan, which aims at boosting China’s long-term social and economic policies. He reiterated the commitment of China to fully supporting the African Union in the implementation process of Agenda 2063. He also said that the upcoming Forum on Africa-China Cooperation (FOCAC) that will take place is South Africa would be a critical step in demonstrating the will of the two partners to testify their excellent cooperation. H.E Mr. Qian Keming also said that H.E Xi Jin, President of the People’s Republic China would announce the Africa-China Cooperation for the next three years. He added that Plan would focus on development areas industrialization, infrastructure, and agriculture modernization. The discussions between the two delegations also included, among others, the regional aviation cooperation between China and Africa, the establishment of the Pan African Television and Radio and  the construction of the High Speed Train network. The 6th FOCAC will take place in December 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa. In the margins of the Summit, the 5th Africa-China Entrepreneur Summit, the China Manufacturing Expo will be organized APO]]>

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AU welcomes newly elected President of Tanzania, re-elected Presidents of Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea
November 6, 2015 | 0 Comments

Alpha Conde was reelected for a second term in Guinea Alpha Conde was reelected for a second term in Guinea[/caption] The African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has welcomed the newly elected President of Tanzania, H.E. John Magafuli, who was sworn in on Thursday, 5 November 2015, following his victory at the general elections that took place on Sunday, 25 October 2015. The AUC Chairperson also congratulated Presidents Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire and Alpha Condé of Guinea for their re-election in office in their respective countries. “I am greatly pleased to send this congratulatory message to President John Magafuli and the people of Tanzania. It was refreshing to witness the peaceful transition which took place in the country on the 25 October and it is my hope that this great nation will continue moving forward in this trajectory,” Dr Dlamini Zuma said. She has also congratulated outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete for his statesmanship, leadership and contribution to Tanzania and the African Union during his tenure of office. H.E. Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, and current Chairperson of the African Union and other Heads of State and Government attended the inauguration ceremony, to equally welcome the new President Magafuli in Tanzania. The AU Commission Chairperson also congratulated President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire and President Alpha Condé of Guinea for their re-election to the Presidency in their respective countries, stating: “I am also delighted to congratulate Presidents Alassane Ouattara and Alpha Condé of Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea as they begin their second and final terms in this high office”. Save for very few exceptions, elections in Africa in 2015 have gone very well, reflecting a very positive trajectory for the continent. The AU Commission Chairperson expressed her fervent hope that the remaining elections for this year and about twenty others planned for next year will be organised peacefully and in a democratic manner wherein the People of the continent fully exercise their sovereign right in determining their leaders. *AUC/APO]]>

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AU report cites mass graves, cannibalism in South Sudan
October 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

By JASON PATINKIN* [caption id="attachment_21939" align="alignleft" width="300"]FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 file photo, a man walks in a ward of mainly soldiers with gunshot wounds inside the Juba Military Hospital in Juba, South Sudan. A report by African Union investigators, released lated Tuesday, Oct. 27th, 2015 says mass graves have been discovered in South Sudan and cites horrific crimes against civilians, including forced cannibalism. The report also disputes that there was a coup attempt in December 2013 by former Vice President Riek Machar. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File) FILE – In this Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 file photo, a man walks in a ward of mainly soldiers with gunshot wounds inside the Juba Military Hospital in Juba, South Sudan. A report by African Union investigators, released lated Tuesday, Oct. 27th, 2015 says mass graves have been discovered in South Sudan and cites horrific crimes against civilians, including forced cannibalism. The report also disputes that there was a coup attempt in December 2013 by former Vice President Riek Machar. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)[/caption] JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — African Union investigators discovered mass graves in South Sudan and found evidence of horrific crimes, including forced cannibalism, according to a long-awaited report. President Salva Kiir’s faction in the conflict is also accused of recruiting an irregular tribal force before the outbreak of war in December 2013.

The report, released late Tuesday, also disputes that there was a coup attempt in December 2013 by former Vice President Riek Machar. Government troops carried out organized killings of members of the ethnic Nuer in Juba, the capital, the report said. When violence broke out, Machar, a Nuer, became a rebel leader. He and Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, recently signed a peace agreement.

The African Union investigators, led by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, found that the conflict began on Dec. 15, 2013, as a skirmish broke out between Dinka and Nuer soldiers of the presidential guard following political tension between Kiir and Machar, who had been fired as Kiir’s deputy the previous July.

The report was scheduled for release months ago but its release was delayed by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council. Hundreds of Nuer men were rounded up and shot, and mass graves were discovered. Perpetrators — described as government forces or their allies — allegedly tortured their victims, including by forcing them to jump in fires or eat human flesh, according to the report. The killings were “an organized military operation that could not have been successful without concerted efforts from various actors in the military and government circles,” the report said. “Roadblocks or checkpoints were established all around Juba and house to house searches were undertaken by security forces. During this operation male Nuers were targeted, identified, killed on the spot or gathered in one place and killed.” The report said Minister of Defense Kuol Manyang Juuk described a shadowy “group (that had) organized itself as Rescue the President. It killed most people here (in Juba) — from 15th to 18th. It was even more powerful than organized forces.”

The group comprised some Dinka soldiers who had been mobilized following a 2012 border crisis with northern neighbor Sudan. Some of these soldiers were moved south to Kiir’s private farm near Juba in 2013 and later participated in the killings, the report said, citing interviews with informants.

Amid the Juba killings, Machar fled the capital and mobilized an insurgency which committed revenge attacks against the Dinka, sparking a cycle of violence in Bor, Malakal, and Bentiu towns which also included rape and murder of people in churches and hospitals, according to the report. Those revenge attacks occurred so quickly they were also likely coordinated, it added.

Kiir and Machar signed a peace agreement in August but fighting continues.

*Source AP/Yahoo]]>

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AU Commission Chairperson congratulates Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania for conducting peaceful General Elections
October 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan led the Commonwealth Observer Mission Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan led the Commonwealth Observer Mission[/caption] The African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma congratulates the governments and the peoples of both the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and the United Republic of Tanzania for holding serene and peaceful elections on 25 October, 2015. The AU Commission Chairperson said the massive participation by the Ivoirians and Tanzanians in the general elections reflects their understanding of the importance of exercising their civic duty and fundamental rights. It is an indication of the maturation of the democratization process on the continent. The regularity of conducting elections in African countries, and the active citizen engagement in electoral processes clearly demonstrate the citizens’ commitment to upholding the principles enshrined in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. This commitment enhances prospects for peace, political stability and development in Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania. It is adequately indicative that through the ballots, the guns will be silenced by 2020. As the votes are being counted, the AU Commission Chairperson calls on all  Ivoirian and  Tanzanian stakeholders to respect the voice of the electorate, to remain calm, with the same serenity they demonstrated on the day of the voting. She urges all political actors to always put the interest of their country above all other interests. The AU Commission Chairperson also reiterates the need for stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire and Tanzania to resort to officially recognised peaceful disputes resolution mechanism, should there be any election-related disputes. *AUC/APO]]>

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UN Secretary-General and AUC Chairperson appoint Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi of Nigeria as Joint Special Representative for the UNAMID
October 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, president of the United Nations Human Rights Council, answers questions during a news conference at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia, Tuesday, April 28, 2009. Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi is on four-day visit to Brazil. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)[/caption] United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma announced today the appointment of Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi of Nigeria as their Joint Special Representative for Darfur and Head of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), with responsibilities including those of African Union-United Nations Joint Chief Mediator. He replaces Abiodun Oluremi Bashua of Nigeria, to whom the Secretary-General and the Chairperson wish to reiterate their deep appreciation for his dedicated service during his tenure as Acting Joint Special Representative/Joint Chief Mediator. Mr. Uhomoibhi brings to his new position extensive experience after a long and distinguished career in international forums. Most recently, he has served as the Founder and President of the Pan African Institute for Global Affairs and Strategy. During his over 30 years of service in the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Uhomobihi served as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ambassador of Nigeria to Switzerland and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva. He also held positions in the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations in New York, Consulate-General of Nigeria in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, and its Embassies in Ethiopia and Yugoslavia. From 2008 to 2009, Mr. Uhomoibhi served as the third President of the United Nations Human Rights Council and Chairman of the World Intellectual Property Organisation General Assembly. Mr. Uhomoibhi holds a doctorate degree in modern history and international relations from Oxford University, United Kingdom, a master’s degree in history and political science and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Mr. Uhomoibhi was born Ewatto, Nigeria, in 1954. He is married with children. *AUC/APO]]>

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Electrify Africa in 10 Years? No Problem Says Head of AfDB
October 26, 2015 | 0 Comments
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AU flag hoisting ceremony at the African Institute for Remittances
October 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

H.E Dr Mustapha S. Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs AUC H.E Dr Mustapha S. Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs AUC[/caption] Today H.E Dr Mustapha S. Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs AUC, performed the flag hoisting ceremony to mark the Operationalization of the African Institute for Remittances (AIR) in Nairobi, Kenya. The ceremony was witnessed by a number of Senior Government Officials of the Republic of Kenya and representatives from the African Diplomatic Corp and International Organizations in Nairobi. In his address, the Commissioner emphasized the key role the AIR will be playing in helping African countries develop proactive policies aimed at leveraging remittances for social and economic development. H.E. Amb Ben Ogutu, Political and Diplomatic Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, representing the Cabinet Secretary, reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of the Republic of Kenya to make available to the Institute the US$ 5 Million grant pledged by the government. Ambassador Abdoul Wahab Haidara, Ambassador of Senegal and Permanent Representative to UNEP & UN-Habitat in Nairobi, as well as the High Commissioner of Zambia H.E. Brenda Muntemba expressed their readiness to support the Institute. Others present included the Interim Executive Director of the African Institute for Remittances, Mr. Amadou Cisse, the Project Manager Mr. Abia Udoh and the Remittance Consultant Mr. Hailu Kinfe and many other government functionaries. It will be recalled that the African Institute for Remittances, an AU Specialized Technical Office, was officially launched in November 2014. *Source APO/AUC]]>

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AU Commission Chairperson to donate South African of the Year Award winnings to Youth Education Foundation
October 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma-1st Woman Chairperson of African Union Commission Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma-1st Woman Chairperson of African Union Commission[/caption] The African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has announced that her winnings from the ANN7 South African of the Year (SATY) Award would be donated to the “Thusanani Foundation”, a youth-led education initiative based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The SATY 2015 Award to Dr. Dlamini Zuma came with an amount of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousands South African Rands, (ZAR 250,000), and equivalence of about USD 19,000. Dr Dlamini Zuma said her motivations for donating her SATY Award winnings to Thusanani Foundation is in line with her strong conviction to support the youth training and skills development. “If sustained progress is to be made on the development of our continent, especially in light of the realisation of Agenda 2063 – The Africa we want, we must embark on and support the skills revolution,” Dr. Dlamini Zuma said. “The Thusanani Foundation is a well-established, youth-based and led organisation, which is committed to promoting training, and education and bridging the education information gap between township/rural and urban kids”. Dr. Dlamini Zuma explained further. She went on to highlight the fact that the organisation was established by young people to meet the needs of other young people, concluding that “these are the sorts of actions and innovations I love to support because they are what Africa needs in order to march confidently into the future.” The Thusanani Foundation, with an objective to provide “a holistic approach to youth development”, was created in 2011 with a mandate to “break the cycle of poverty through ensuring access and success in institutions of higher learning and sector specific/industry related skills development.” They also offer career guidance, mentorship and advisory services, peer to peer life skills development, information relating to higher education funding opportunities, etc. The foundation targets students between grades 9 and 12 in South African township and rural high schools, as well as first and second year students in universities and technical colleges. They currently have partnerships with a number of South African Universities and other institutions of higher learning, including the Universities of Johannesburg and Witwatersrand. They have facilitated the enrolment of over 300 students in 10 institutions around the country, with over 180 enrolled in 2014 alone. Dr Dlamini Zuma already provides a standing contribution of R1000 to Thusanani Foundation each month. And her hope is that this ZAR 250,000 from the SATY 2015 Awards will be used as seed money to establish an Endowment Fund for the Thusanani Foundation. The ceremony to officially hand over the cheque to the Thusanani Foundation will be announced in due course. *APO]]>

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AU Commission Chairperson mourns the death of Benin’s former President Mathieu Kérékou
October 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

Benin’s former President Mathieu Kérékou Benin’s former President Mathieu Kérékou[/caption] The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has expressed her condolences to the government and people of Benin following the demise of Benin’s former President Mathieu Kérékou at the age of 82 The death was announced on Wednesday 14 October2015.. In her message, the AU Commission Chairperson said she was saddened to learn of “the great loss of one of Africa’s elderly statesmen” and expressed her heartfelt condolences to President Yayi Boni and to the people of Benin, on behalf of the AU Commission and the African continent. President Kérékou ruled Benin for 30 years, after a 20-year one-party state reign and two democratically-elected terms in office. He stepped down from power in 2006, aged 72, after reaching the constitutional age limit to serve as President. He also gained respect as a mediator in a number of conflicts on the continent, notably in the peace process in Cote d’Ivoire, and as head of the Conseil de l’Entente, a body aimed at building closer links between the West African francophone countries of Benin, Togo, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. Benin has declared seven days of national mourning following the death of its former leader.]]>

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AUC Chairperson Approves the Deployment of African Union Short-Term Observers (STOs) Mission to Guinea
October 6, 2015 | 0 Comments

AUElections_1The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has approved the deployment of the African Union Short-Term Observation (STO) Mission to the 11 October 2015 Presidential Election in the Republic of Guinea. The STOs will arrive in Conakry, Guinea on 4 October 2015 and will remain in Guinea until 17 October 2015. This STO Mission follows the AU Pre electoral Assessment Mission (PAM) organized from 6 to 15 August in the said country. The African Union Electoral Observation Mission (AUEOM) will be led by His Excellency Dileita Mohamed Dileita, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Djibouti. The mission comprises thirty (30) Short Term Observers (STOs) from AU Member States and will be deployed throughout the country to follow the electoral process and to meet with government and electoral officials, candidates and political parties, civil society representatives and media to provide a critical assessment of the conduct of election. The Mission has the mandate to observe the Presidential Election in line with relevant African Union and international instruments such as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, the OAU/AU Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa, the African Union Guidelines for Election Observation and Monitoring Missions, the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights (ICCPR), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the 2005 Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation to which the AU is a signatory and the national laws of the Republic of Guinea. The Mission shall provide an objective, independent and impartial assessment of the conduct of the elections in line with the aforementioned international and regional best practices and standards. *AUC]]>

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Ambassadors briefed on Africa’s health policy direction
October 6, 2015 | 0 Comments

Pledge to support the 2016 Global Fund Replenishment efforts 200 (1)African Union Ambassadors meeting Friday were briefed on the progress in the implementation of AU health policy frameworks that are due to expire at the end of December and the next steps in achieving universal health access. The meeting comes in less than a week after world leaders meeting in New York adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that supersede the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The ambitious goals will address the unfinished business of health related MDGs and lay a solid foundation to put the world on a path to sustainable development and end poverty within an ambitious 15 years’ timeframe. “Sustaining health and education gains is key in our collective efforts to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals” said H.E. Daouda Diabate, Ambassador of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire to the United States of America. Goal three of the SDGs seeks to  ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages. Ending the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030 is one of the key priorities of the SDGs. “The international community has made remarkable progress since 2000 to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and tens of millions of lives have been saved. However the global community needs to continue to invest in lifesaving health programmes,” said President of the Friends of the Global Fund US, Deb Derrick. “Countries should remain committed to growing domestic health budgets in a time of limited international development resources,” she added. African Union Ambassadors pledged to advocate for the current efforts to have a fully funded Global Fund in the 2016 replenishment cycle. Close to 70% of the Global Fund resources support programmes in Africa. The AU representatives were briefed on the ongoing review of the Abuja Call and the AU Roadmap highlighting the critical milestones, remaining challenges and emerging issues in addressing health on the continent. In less than  a  decade access to  HIV  treatment  in  Africa  increased  more  than  100-fold. Approximately 10 million people are now on treatment.  New HIV infections and  AIDS-related deaths in Africa south of the Sahara declined by 33% and 30% respectively. Malaria incidence was reduced by 31% in Africa. An estimated 337 million malaria cases and 3 million deaths were averted in Africa. Malaria mortality rates have declined by 54% overall and by 58% among children. Africa’s TB treatment success rate reached 86% in 2013. In 2013 the case detection rate had slightly improved at 52%. Africa outpaced other regions in determining the HIV status of all people with TB. However Africa still confronts the world’s most acute public health threats. AIDS remains a leading cause of death in Africa, killing 1.1 million people on the continent in 2013, with an estimated 1.5 million new HIV infections. An African child still dies almost every minute from malaria. The TB response will need to reach about 1.3 million people in Africa. The meeting also provided a briefing on the recent Ebola pandemic that has brought to the fore the need for improved surveillance, international coordination and response, as well as the consequences of poorly- resourced national health systems. The African Union Support to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) deployed the biggest contingent of medical and public health experts (855) from 18 countries on the continent. To be better prepared for epidemics in the future the January 2015,  24th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU in Addis Ababa endorsed the establishment of the Africa CDC. The Africa CDC will serve as a specialised technical institution of the African Union with a vision for a safer, healthier, integrated and prosperous Africa in which Member States can prevent disease, detect, and respond together to crises of public health importance. The Africa CDC will establish early warning and response surveillance platforms to address in a timely and effective manner all health emergencies and support public health emergency preparedness and response. The African Union spearheads Africa’s development and integration in close collaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens.  AU Vision An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena. Created at the Abuja 2001 Special Summit, AWA is an Africa-led instrument to stimulate leaders into action and mobilize the resources needed to address AIDS, TB and Malaria in an effective, sustainable and accountable manner. Friends of the Global Fight works to end the worldwide burden of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We educate, engage and mobilize U.S. decision makers to support the Global Fund, the world’s largest public health financier.. The Global Fund is a 21st-century partnership organization designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. Founded in 2002, the Global Fund is a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases. The Global Fund raises and invests nearly $4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in countries and communities most in need. *APO]]>

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Joint Communique by the AUC, OSAA, ECA, and UNIDO-Africa Must Industrialize
September 29, 2015 | 0 Comments

200 (2)Africa has seen remarkable economic growth since the turn of the millennium. It has become the second fastest growing region in the world and continues on this path despite the persistent global economic slowdown. There is still need to accelerate annual economic growth to more than 7% to effect real economic transformative growth. To be sustainable and inclusive, this progress must now be accompanied by structural transformation, which remains the only option to lift the people of Africa out of poverty. To fully benefit from its rich natural resources and to reap the benefits of the demographic dividend, Africa must industrialize. Heavily investing in the training and education of women and youth is indispensable. In order to achieve inclusive and sustainable industrialization, we must embark on a skills revolution particularly in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goal 9 recognize the centrality of inclusive and sustainable industrialization for development. African leaders made a bold statement towards inclusive growth and sustainable development in their own Common African Position on the post-2015 development agenda and the African Union’s 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration, culminating in the Africa Agenda 2063, and its First Ten Year Implementation Plan. Many African countries have already proceeded to formulate national strategies to take advantage of the current global momentum for fostering inclusive and sustainable industrial development. In this context, the African leaders attending the High-level event on “Operationalization of the 2030 Agenda for Africa’s Industrialization” called upon the international community to raise its financial support in line with Goal 9 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and to back industrial and infrastructural projects underpinning this development, especially as articulated under Aspiration 1 of the Africa’s Agenda 2063, which calls for a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development. In particular, they called upon the private sector to recognize Africa’s export and domestic market potential, and invited foreign investors to substantively increase their commitments to the continent. They also called upon international organizations to provide industrial policy advice and technical cooperation programmes to enable African countries to implement their strategies and to forge stronger regional and inter-regional cooperation. They emphasized the urgency for all countries to promote structural transformation, technological change and innovation. Regional Economic integration, intra-African trade, increased foreign direct investment and official development assistance, and South-South and triangular cooperation will be fundamental pillars of this process. UNIDO’s new Programmes for Country Partnership, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the African Mining Vision and the Action Plan for the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA) are promising mechanisms for mobilizing multi-stakeholder coalitions to promote industrialization. As also witnessed during the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, and the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, emphasis should continue to be placed on inclusive economic growth and sustainable industrial development. Now that the world has adopted the 2030 Agenda, we invoke all stakeholders to join forces and form a new global partnership for its implementation, particularly for the most vulnerable countries in Africa, including for the LDCs, the LLDCs and the SIDs. We need to seize this historical moment and take substantial steps collectively to achieve the transformative agenda of inclusive and sustainable industrial development for the benefit of all countries and their populations on the continent. The AUC, OSAA, UNECA and UNIDO fully commit themselves to support Member States in their calling upon the General Assembly to pass in 2016 a resolution for a Decade of African Industrialization 2016-2025. *AUC]]>

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AUC Chairperson joins world leaders to commit to gender equality and women's empowerment
September 29, 2015 | 0 Comments

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (R) and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (L), head of the African Union Commission UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (R) and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (L), head of the African Union Commission[/caption] World leaders have voiced overwhelming support and committed to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment aimed at achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The African Union Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, joined global leaders and delegates to make commitments at a meeting co-organised by UN-Women and the People’s Republic of China in the margins of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York. In her remarks, the AU Commission Chairperson said the AU places a central focus on achieving gender parity and women’s empowerment in its Agenda 2063. She pointed out that in Africa, the year 2015 is the year of women’s empowerment and development toward Agenda 2063. She noted that during the last Summit of Heads of State and of  Government, a Gender Scorecard was developed to track progress made in achieving gender equality. Dr. Dlamini Zuma committed to refining this tool in the future by including more indicators. The Chairperson noted that while Rwanda is leading the world with the highest number of women represented in Parliament, 22 countries have at least 30% of women in Parliament, while 14 countries have 30% of women ministers, with Cape Verde leading Africa with the highest representation of women ministers. During the gathering, Chinese President Xi Jinping, among others, announced a donation of $10million USD to UN-Women to finance development and training projects aimed at promoting gender parity and women’s empowerment. While leaders announced various contributions and donations, some of the world leaders expressed political will and determination in advancing the course for women’s empowerment and gender parity. President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya said progress for women is progress for us all, and the whole world stood to gain from gender equality. Holding 20 years after the Beijing declaration and platform for action to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, the meeting was attended by UN Member States, Non-Governmental Organisations, the private sector and partners. *APO]]>

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AUC signs MOU with partners on the implementation of the African Water Vision 2025
September 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

Tumusiime Rhoda Tumusiime Rhoda[/caption] Within the framework of partnership meeting for implementing the African Water Vision 2025, the African Union Commission (AUC), through its Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA), signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with CLTS-Foundation, Water Aid, Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA), Sustainable Sanitation Design (Susan Design), and Norges Vel. It was took place on 21 September 2015 at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The AUC and the partner organizations signed the MoU on different areas of collaboration to facilitate the realization of the Africa Water Vision 2025 through revitalizing efforts to create an enabling environment for international cooperation to achieve the 2025 vision. H.E Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, AUC stated that strategic ways of sanitation management is on top of the African leadership agenda. While emphasizing the sound implementation of the MoU signing, Mr. Bai-Mass Tall representing the  President of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), also said that water and sanitation issue should be priority equally to other matters around the continent. The meeting discussed issues related to the AU Water and Sanitation Initiatives that were presented by the Commission and which include: (i)- the Kigali Action Plan (KAP) that is in progress and already championed by the Government of Rwanda; (ii)- the  Operation 2M4M as scaling up of the KAP to all AU member States, that will allow massive interventions for access to water supply facilities  to 110 million Africans, and sanitation facilities to 220 million Africans; (iii)- the African Clean Village Programme for large sanitation communities led total sanitation to 250 million Africans mostly in rural areas in Africa; and (iv)- the Pan African Productive Sanitation Programme that aims at developing mechanism for private sector involvement for large scale interventions for reusing waste in agriculture and energy in order to contribute to better solve problem faced by: energy, water resource management, infrastructure, industry, climate, and air pollution sectors. The meeting was attended by AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture; AMCOW President; development partners; diplomatic corps; and AUC staffs. While the importance of this kind of partnership has been stressed by the Representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to successfully approach the holistic problems of water and sanitation in Africa, call was made to development partners to give equal attention and strengthen support to development issues including water supply and sanitation on the continent. For H.E Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, the pursuit of the Africa Water Vision 2025 is not an option especially given the need to unleash Africa’s development. *APO/AUC]]>

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Cameroon ready to host the Pan African University Rectorate
September 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

200 (2)The Government of Cameroon has indicated its readiness to host the Pan African University (PAU) Rectorate, which is currently located at the AUC Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Minister of Basic Education Adjidja Yusufa Alim, made the revelation in a meeting with the President of the PAU Council, Professor Tolly S. Mbwette, and other PAU Rectorate staff, who were on a two-day official mission to Yaounde. The PAU team also held discussions with the Cameroonian Prime Minister and Ministers of Higher Education, External Relations, as well as State Property and Land Tenure, on the modalities of relocating the Rectorate to Yaounde, and on deepening cooperation between the Cameroonian higher education sector and the Pan African University. The PAU officials were led on a tour of the temporary Rectorate building in Yaounde and the site for the construction of the permanent Rectorate complex. Following the discussions, the two parties agreed on a six-month roadmap, which will lead to the final relocation of the PAU Rectorate to Yaounde. Cameroon was designated host of the PAU Rectorate by the January 2015 Summit of the African Union, following a competitive bidding process involving five Member States. In a similar development, officials of the Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology, the PAU Rectorate and a team of African academics have concluded a five-day curriculum review and development seminar at the PAU Institute for Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences (PAUGHSS) in Yaounde, Cameroon. More than thirty social science and curriculum experts from across Africa and the African diaspora were involved in the exercise, which sought to reformulate curricular for the existing Masters in Translation, Interpreting, and Governance and Regional Integration programs at PAUGHSS. The seminar was also intended to develop curricular for new PhD programs the institute plans to introduce in the 2015-2016 academic year, and to explore the pedagogic use of the UNESCO volumes of the General History of Africa, to revitalize the common African History module being offered at all PAU institutes. The experts emphasized the need to formulate African education curricular taking into account the African perspective, and embed the PAU’s programs with relevant courses that reflect the continent’s collective past and current development agenda. *APO/AUC]]>

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