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Mugabe donates $1 million to African Union
July 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe arrives at the African Union headquarters during the opening ceremony of the 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Governments, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 3, 2017. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

The African leaders are committing themselves to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*AllAfrica/Vanaguard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Al Jazeera

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

By Maureen Chigbo *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Realnews

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

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

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

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

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

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

Moroccan request delayed

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

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

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

Many AU members support Morocco

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

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

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

Discussion expected January

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

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

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

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

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

*Reuters/VOA

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

Louise Mushikiwabo

Louise Mushikiwabo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Allafrica

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Africa: Will Rwanda Support for Kenya’s AU Chair Nominee Tip the Scales?
October 11, 2016 | 0 Comments

Kenya's nominee for the African Union Commission chair - Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed (file photo)

Kenya’s nominee for the African Union Commission chair – Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed (file photo)

Rwanda is supporting Kenya’s nominee for the African Union Commission chair – Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed – but it remains to be seen which way Tanzania and Uganda will lean.

Ms Mohamed was proposed for the job by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who cited her credentials in diplomacy and exemplary performance in her current docket.

She has been Kenya’s ambassador/permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, and served as the assistant secretary general and deputy executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi.

Ms Mohamed, who will be standing against candidates from the other regional blocs, stands a better chance of election if she gets support from all EAC member states.

Elections to replace Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is stepping down after one term to prepare for a stab at the South African presidency, will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January.

On Friday, a committee to vet candidates met in Addis Ababa.

Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo told The EastAfrican that her country would support Ms Mohamed, ruling out speculation that they would front the former president of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka or former EAC secretary general Richard Sezibera.

“She is the best woman for the job, and she is very much Rwanda’s candidate. She is highly qualified, has incredible diplomatic and managerial experience, and the right heart and mind when it comes to the strategic interests of our continent, as well as Africa’s active presence on the global scene,” Ms Mushikiwabo said.

Uganda’s International Relations State Ministry Permanent Secretary James Mugume said the country was yet to decide on whom to support, but would back the candidate the region agreed on between Kenya’s Ms Mohamed and Somalia’s Fowyiso Yusuf Haji Adan.

The nomination process for the chairperson was opened afresh after the AU Heads of State Summit in Kigali in July failed to elect a successor to South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who has been at the helm since 2012. At the Kigali summit, none of the three contenders for the position – Botswana’s Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, her counterpart from Equatorial Guinea Agapito Mba Mokuy and former vice president of Uganda Specioza Wandira Kazibwe – obtained the required two-thirds majority after seven rounds of voting.

Ms Mohamed is expected to battle it out with Mr Mokuy, Somalia’s Ms Adan and the July elections lead candidate Ms Moitoi. Uganda withdrew its nomination of former vice president Specioza Kazibwe after she did not make it among the top candidates.

The SADC trade bloc, has, however, maintained that it will forward Ms Moitoi’s name because Ms Zuma did not serve her second term. Mr Mokuy had portrayed himself as the Economic Community Of West African States (Ecowas) candidate, yet it was Senegal that instigated the 28 states to boycott the elections due to lack of “high calibre” candidates.

Mr Mokuy had sought the support of Nigeria, the West African economic powerhouse, and Kenya, with a special appeal from President Theodore Obiang Nguema.

Another likely candidate is Senegalese diplomat and politician Abdoulaye Bathily, who is currently the UN Secretary General’s special representative for Central Africa.

Chad’s President Idriss Deby, who currently holds the AU rotational leadership, is also believed to have put forth the name of his Foreign Minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who served as prime minister between 2003 and 2005, and who would present a second candidate for the Central African bloc.

South Africa is said to have great influence on the SADC countries. This week, South African President Jacob Zuma will be in Nairobi for a three-day state visit, and it is expected that President Kenyatta will use the opportunity to drum up support for Ms Mohamed.

In the July elections, South Africa supported Ms Moitoi. Then South Africa’s international relations minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the region would campaign with Botswana, and that South Africa was fully behind the SADC initiative. They have not come up with an alternative candidate.

Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Senegal, which led the Ecowas campaign to postpone the election, have also been pushing for a candidate.

In May, Senegal’s President Macky Sall raised concerns about the candidates with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Senegalese diplomat and politician Abdoulaye Bathily who is currently the UN Secretary General’s special representative for Central Africa was presented as a candidate at the Kigali meeting, but was turned down because the nominations had closed.

In Mr Bathily, in particular, Ms Mohammed is likely to face a veteran of African politics with working experience in West and Central Africa, one whose participation in the Pan African Movement and socialist movements left him with contacts across the continent, including liberation movements in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola and South Africa.Additional reporting by Daniel Kalinaki and Edmund Kagire.

*Allafrica/East African

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African Union to Use Imports Cash to Get $1.2 Billion Funds
July 18, 2016 | 0 Comments
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African Union fails to elect new leader
July 18, 2016 | 0 Comments
African Union Commission President Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was due to stand down but African leaders were unable to agree on a successor to lead the executive branch of the continental body (AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte)

African Union Commission President Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was due to stand down but African leaders were unable to agree on a successor to lead the executive branch of the continental body (AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte)

Kigali (AFP) – African heads of state meeting in Kigali failed on Monday to elect a new head of the African Union and will try again in January, an official said.

Current AU Commission President Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was due to stand down but leaders were unable to agree on a successor to lead the executive branch of the continental body during its 27th summit meeting, being held in the Rwandan capital.

“Black smoke billows from the 27th AU Summit as no winner emerges… Commission elections postponed till next summit,” Dlamini-Zuma’s spokesman, Jacob Enoh Eben, said on Twitter, referencing the smoke signal that precedes the naming of a new pope.

None of the three candidates was able to muster the two-thirds majority required to win in the secret ballot.

Ahead of the vote many states had expressed dismay at the “lack of stature” among the little known candidates from Botswana, Equatorial-Guinea and Uganda and, in the end, 28 of the 54 member states abstained from the final round of voting thus forcing a postponement of the election and an extension of Dlamini-Zuma’s term.

*AFP/Yahoo

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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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