AU, African Development Bank sign $4.8 million grant earmarked for continental free trade secretariat
August 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 06 July 19 – The African Development Bank Group on Monday signed a $4.8 million institutional support grant to the African Union (AU) for implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The grant, approved by the Group’s Board of Directors on 01 April 2019, forms part of a series of interventions by the Bank in its lead role to accelerate implementation of the Free Trade Agreement, seen as a major force for integrating the 55-nation continent and transforming its economy.
Albert Muchanga, AU’s Commissioner for Trade and Industry, initialed for the continental body, and Obed Andoh Mensah, representing the Bank’s Director of the Industrial and Trade Development Department (PITD), signed on behalf of the Bank, signaling the startup of implementation.
African leaders meeting in Niamey, Niger in early July launched the implementation phase of the free trade area agreement established in March 2018 after it became operational at the end of May this year. Currently, 54 states have signed the deal and are set to begin formal trading next July.
“The AfCFTA is going to work and we are confident that by the 1st of July next year, all the 55 countries would have been state parties – meaning, they would have signed and ratified the agreement and intra-African will start,” Muchanga said and urged countries to use this period to complete the parliamentary processes.
Muchanga commended the Bank’s strong and consistent support to ensure smooth implementation of the Agreement, saying the grant would be used judiciously for the rollout of various protocols relating to the structure and mandate of the AfCFTA secretariat.
The AU currently has an interim secretariat, tasked to provide the organizational structure for the permanent administrative body, its work program and related issues including its budget. The Niamey summit announced the siting of the AfCFTA secretariat in Accra, Ghana.
The Continental Free Trade deal has the potential to create the largest free-trade area in the world. – uniting 55 African countries with a combined gross domestic product of more than $2.5 trillion. It is a major force for continental integration and expansion of intra African trade, currently estimated at around 16%.
The trade agreement is expected to expand intra-African trade by up to $35 billion per year, ease movement of goods, services and people across the continent’s borders and cut imports by $10 billion, while boosting agriculture and industrial exports by 7% and 5% respectively.
In his remarks, Andoh Mensah stressed that the deal will help stabilize African countries, allow small and medium sized enterprises to flourish, promote industrialization and lift millions out of poverty.
“If the AfCFTA is complemented by trade facilitation reforms, reduction in non-tariff barriers, improved infrastructure and policy measures to encourage employment and private sector investments, it will stimulate poverty reduction and socio-economic development across Africa,” he said, noting that the goals of AfCFTA are aligned to the Bank’s flagship High 5s.
African Union hit by sexual harassment claims
November 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
Sexual harassment is a major problem for women who work at the African Union Commission (AUC), an internal investigation has found.
Most of the victims are short-term staff, youth volunteers and interns looking for jobs, the report said.
Those responsible “position themselves as ‘gate-keepers’ and ‘king-makers'”, it added.
The inquiry was launched in May and all staff members who had a complaint were invited for a confidential interview.
The special committee was formed by the AUC Chairperson, Moussa Faki, after an anonymous letter alerted him to the abuse.
The team found 44 cases of alleged sexual harassment and that young women were being “exploited for sex in exchange for jobs”.
The report did not name any of the alleged perpetrators.
Staff behind the harassment made “believable promises to young women that they will be offered contracts,” the report said.
Interviewees said reporting incidents of sexual harassment was often counterproductive as there was no process internally to do so because the AUC does not have a sexual harassment policy.
The team also found incidents of bribery, corruption, bullying, discrimination and intimidation.
South Africa’s Mail & Guardian paper says the inquiry was established after it reported on a petition signed by 37 female members of AU staff complaining about sexual harassment at the commission.
The AU Commission, which has its headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, said that given the findings and serious allegations, it would establish “a comprehensive sexual harassment policy that protects the victims and takes the strongest punitive measures against any perpetrator”.
Mr Faki would also form an internal committee to look into all the reported cases and make recommendations, a statement said.
“This is a watershed moment for Africa.” Deputy Chairperson shares insights on the ongoing financial reforms of the Union.
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
African Union Headquarters; 12th November 2018: At 31st Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July 2018, a budget of US$681,485,337 was approved for the financial year 2019. The budget covers three components operational, programme and peace support operations. The Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Amb. Kwesi Quartey, shares the five key takeaways of the adoption of the 2019 budget in what he describes as a watershed moment for Africa.
1. Give us a brief on the 2019 budget of the Union.
Amb. Kwesi; The Assembly of the Union adopted the 2019 budget for the Union at a total of US$681,485,337 at the African Union Summit held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July 2018. This amount reflects a significant decrease of the annual budget by 12%, compared to the 2018 budget. It is also a reflection that the share of AU member states financing the budget has substantially increased compared to the partner funding in previous years. If you look at the 2019 budget, excluding the peace support operations, member states will contribute 66% of the budget while 34% is expected to be secured from our development Partners.
This increase of member states contribution has come about by implementing the decision on financing of the Union to fund the activities and agenda of the Union. Through this mechanism, we can see that the continent is gradually realizing its vision of reliable, predictable and sustainable funding of its agenda. The 2019 budget also demonstrates an enhanced process of domestic resources mobilization but most importantly, stringent measures are now in place to ensure the prudent use of these resources to meet the development needs of our Continent
The breakdown of the 2019 budget is as follows; US$161.4 million will go into financing the operational budget of the Union, US$252.8 million will go into the program budget while US$273.3 million will finance Peace Support operations.
2. The preparation of the 2019 budget is said to be significantly different from the previous budget preparations, why is that?
Amb. Kwesi; Yes, the 2019 budget is different because the Union has adopted new ways of programme planning and budget process, to ensure greater accountability in line with the implementation of the decision of Financing on the Union.
This is the first time we had joint sittings of the AU Commission and organs, the Committee of Finance Ministers (F15) technical experts and the Permanent Representatives’ Committee sub-Committees of General Supervision and Coordination on Budget, Finance and Administrative matters and of Programs and Conferences, to prepare the budget. The preparation took about five weeks consecutively, looking carefully at the budget of each spending unit of the Union to ensure it complied with the nine golden rules.
During the 2019 budget, we also introduced the budget ceilings for departments and organs based on their track record on prudent execution rate, the ability to reach their targets and aligning their programmes strictly, to the priorities of the Union. This will greatly enhance the budget execution and ensure the expenditure is linked to results.
These joint sittings were also held at the ministerial level by the Committee of Ministers of Finance (F15) before the budget was presented to the Executive Council and the Assembly for adoption. The Committee of Ministers of Finance has since assumed responsibility for oversight of the African Union budget and Reserve Fund.
Related article- Financial reforms at the African Union lead to massive cuts of the Union’s Budget. https://au.int/en/pressreleases/20180706/financial-reforms-african-union…
3. You have made reference to the nine golden rules, tell us more about that.
Amb. Kwesi; The nine golden rules are financial management and accountability principles adopted by the Assembly of the Union in January 2018. These rules are meant to ensure financial discipline within the Union to enable us decisively address issues of low execution rates, identify undetected wastages and instances of over-budgeting by departments or organs, as well as ensure full compliance with the African Union financial rules and regulations.
So far, we have fully implemented four of the nine golden rules. There is an interlinking factor on the application of all the nine rules with the progress in the implementation of the decision on financing of the Union and therefore we will soon have the other five rules applied.
The nine golden rules speak to the fact that;
a) Member states’ contributions should cover a minimum threshold of the budget to ensure the Union’s self-sufficiency and sustainability, thereby decreasing dependence on external funding.
b) The rules recognize the need for major changes to be effected to ensure revenues are predictable. This touches on elements such as the full payment of assessed contributions by Member States and partners’ contribution, for the revenue streams to be centrally coordinated.
c) The rules also speak to the credibility of the AU budgeting system which must be based on a fully integrated and automated financial management system.
d) As I mentioned earlier, one of the rules is the annual budget ceiling which is communicated to department and organs before they submit their budget proposals.
e) Also, it is important that expenditure must at all times, be authorized for virements, surplus budgets and spending that exceeds approved budgets.
f) Another key rule, is seeing to it that resource flows and transactions are reliable and efficient. Funds must be provided to departments and organs in the agreed amounts at the agreed times.
g) Institutional accountability is of utmost importance, to ensure the flow of funds is tracked to service delivery units. This requires the harmonization of all the different management systems we use.
h) Reporting is also an integral part of the financial management process. The Financial Rules and Regulations requires that departments and organs report all activities for which funds have been received, as part of the compliance and quarterly performance reports.
i) Finally, there is also the aspect on centralizing the process for engaging partners to avoid unilateral engagements for partner funded programmes.
These rules are currently being translated into AU policy and procedures and will also be reflected in the AU’s updated Financial Rules and Procedures.
4. In regards to the decision on Financing of the Union, what is the progress on that since its adoption in 2016?
Amb. Kwesi; There is commendable progress in the collection of the 0.2% levy by member states. 11 of our member states paid their 2018 assessed contributions to the AU, either partially or in full, through the new financing arrangement. We have 24 States that are at various stages of domesticating the Kigali Decision on Financing the Union and of these, 14 are actually collecting the levy.
Let me also add that there is flexibility built into the implementation of the 0.2%. Member States have the ability to determine the appropriate form and the means they will use to implement the decision in line with their national and international obligations. It is for this reason that Member States that are, for example, members of the World Trade Organization have implemented the 0.2% levy without contravening their international trade obligations.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, the introduction of the golden rules and the joint sittings have provided stronger technical oversight of the AU budget.
Lastly, I think I would highlight the operationalization of the Peace Fund as a remarkable milestone. This year our Member States have contributed over US$55.9 million to the Peace Fund, which is the largest amount of money Member States have ever contributed to the Peace Fund since it was established in 1993.
5. What are your projections in advancing the ongoing financial reforms?
Amb. Kwesi; Looking at the progressive developments in Africa’s self-financing agenda, I believe this is a watershed moment for Africa. Our focus is to gradually move towards funding 100% of the Union’s operational budget, 75% of the programme budget and 25% of peace support operations by 2021, for the full ownership of the Union’s agenda.
We are working on revising the Scale of Assessment as currently, 48% of the Union’s budget is dependent on the contributions of only 5 member states under “Tier 1” of the scale of assessment. This presents clear risks to the stability of the budget. It is for this reason that in a meeting held in August 2017, Ministers of Finance recommended the introduction of ‘caps’ and ‘minima’ to our existing scale of assessment, in order to improve overall burden-sharing and risk reduction.
We also want to strengthen the sanctions regime for non-payment of contributions to ensure AU Member States payments are made on time. Under the current sanctions regimes, Member States non-payment are classified to be in default only if they are in arrears for two full years. This has led to a trend where about 33% of the assessed contributions are regularly held in arrears.
Finally, we are working towards developing a credible medium-term budget framework (2019-2021) based on revenue forecasts and capacity to spend. This will enable the Union to improve the credibility of its budget, strengthen financial management capacity and accountability and demonstrate value for money and results to its Member States. We are committed to ensure the highest standards of finance and budget management as well as seeing to it that we have a credible budget based on capacity to spend and proper revenue forecasts.
For more information, contact:
Ms. Doreen Apollos | Communication Advisor | Bureau of the Deputy Chairperson.
E-mail: ApollosD@africa-union.org | Tel: +251 115182737
ACBF appointed African Union specialised agency for capacity development
February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) has been appointed as a specialised agency for capacity development by the African Union (AU) at a ceremony endorsed by Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of
the African Union Commission in Harare.
Under the new framework, capacity development activities ACBF is going to undertake under will include enhancing skills required to achieve sustainable development,strengthening the human and institutional capacity of national and regional institutions,promoting economic and social transformation through policy formulation,implementation, monitoring and evaluation focusing on Africa’s developmental agenda and generating and sharing knowledge on capacity development.
It is reported that the African Union Commission shall, subject to its applicable internal procedures facilitate effective collaboration with ACBF Agency through the commission and other relevant organs of the Union, collaborate with the ACBF Agency in joint resource mobilization initiatives for the financing of
capacity building interventions in the continent and facilitate the ACBF Agency role in coordinating capacity building initiatives on the African continent.
The ACBF agency shall also create a consultative forum in which Africans may participate as full partners in the establishment of priorities and the development of policies and programs to promote capacity building in policy analysis and development management, establish processes for coordinating capacity building efforts in
policy formulation and implementation that would lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness of
ongoing donor efforts, coordinate resource mobilization to provide funding and resources for capacity building in Africa, lead, coordinate and champion production of fit-for-purpose, high-quality, and timely capacity development knowledge in support of the implementation of Africa’s development priorities, coordinate
knowledge connection (government, private sector and academia), facilitation and sharing to improve development practices, coordinate capacity development advisory services and training at continental, regional and country levels to translate capacity development knowledge and learning into relevant and innovative methods and
practices, support the emergence of a knowledge-based economy to sustain development results
in Africa, publish and disseminate information related to capacity building and capacity
utilization in Africa, collaborate with national, bilateral or multilateral institutions carrying out specific capacity building and capacity utilization activities in Africa.
Africa needs more scientists and engineers for developments- AU Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat
February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
The chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Mr Moussa Faki
Mahamat has said that Africa needs more scientists and engineers to
develop itself and also in-order to minimise its dependence syndrome.
Mr Mahamat made the remarks during his visit to the African Capacity
Building Foundation (ACBF) headquarters in Harare to sign the AUC-ACBF
agreement on the ACBF’s status as specialised agency of the African
Mr Mahamat said that Africa should now have the capacity to fund
what it needs on its own and also to tell its partners what it needs.
He said that 90% of the human resource capital in Africa is in the
humanities and the arts sector which he said that was not bad, but
called for training of more scientists and engineers for the continent
to boost its development agenda.
Mahamat also expressed concern at the lack of mathematics teachers
in some African countries, a challenge which he said needed to
He also urged agencies and partners in Africa to evaluate their
interventions to assess their progress to enhance the continent’s
development. Mahamat also called for more scientific innovation on
the continent adding that the continent needed more researchers.
ACBF Executive Director, Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie, said that Africa was
investing in unemployment due to its major human capacity development
in the humanities, social sciences and the arts.
Nnadozie sid that there was need in transformation of skills and this
is a major issue which the ACBF and other partners was working on
addressing. He said that there was need to mobilise resources to
overhaul the education systems and quality of education on the African
PRESIDENT BUHARI TO ATTEND AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT IN ADDIS ABABA; SET TO CHAMPION ANTI-CORRUPTION CAMPAIGN AT REGIONAL LEVEL
January 26, 2018 | 0 Comments
By FEMI ADESINA*
President Muhammadu Buhari will Friday depart for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to participate in the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).
The highlight of the President’s engagements during the visit will be his Statement under the historic theme for the AU Summit, namely: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”
This is the first time in the 54-year history of the AU that anti-corruption will be made a theme of the gathering of the regional leaders.
It would be recalled that on July 4, 2017 during the 29th Session of the AU, African leaders unanimously endorsed President Buhari to champion the fight against corruption on the continent. The endorsement was in recognition of his personal commitment and widely acclaimed anti-graft drive at the domestic level.
On July 25, 2017, the President in a letter to President Alpha Conde of Guinea, who is also the out-going AU Chairperson, formally accepted his nomination to lead members of the AU on this crucial crusade against a veritable socio-economic vice that is anti-development.
While thanking his colleagues for the honour, he reiterated his “commitment to contribute towards our collective efforts to strengthen good governance and development on the continent.”
Apart from anti-corruption, other issues lined for consideration by African leaders and their delegations include, peace and security (transnational terrorism); institutional reforms of the continental body; free movement of persons; climate change; trade; aviation; education; gender and development.
President Buhari will also hold bilateral meetings with some of his colleagues on issues of common interests.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau; the Minister of State (Aviation), Hadi Sirika; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; and the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu are in the President’s delegation to the Summit.
*Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity)
An emotional tribute in memory of former AfDB President Babacar Ndiaye
September 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Babacar Ndiaye, the Bank Group’s fifth elected President, who served two terms between 1985 and 1995, passed away on July 13, 2017 in Senegal|
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 23, 2017/ — “Goodbye, Papa, farewell to the ambassador for Africa’s development, rest in peace.” In an intensely emotional tribute, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org), Adesina Akinwumi, opened a ceremony honouring Babacar Ndiaye at the organisation’s headquarters in Abidjan.
Adesina announced that the AfDB headquarters auditorium will from now on be named Babacar Ndiaye Auditorium.
Babacar Ndiaye, the Bank Group’s fifth elected President, who served two terms between 1985 and 1995, passed away on July 13, 2017 in Senegal.
With Ndiaye’s widow and several children in attendance, as well as former AfDB President Kantinka Dr Kwame D. Fordwor, members of the Senegalese and Ivorian Governments, representatives of the diplomatic corps, and active and retired AfDB staff members. Adesina fondly recalled Babacar Ndiaye’s complete and passionate commitment to the development of Africa.
“He was an AfDB icon, he was a father and mentor to every one of us, and emphatically launched the career of the Bank Group’s current President. He inspired us. In losing him, Africa has lost one of its best sons.”
President Adesina underlined the personal ties between him and his predecessor, recalling that he knew Ndiaye when he worked for the West Africa Rice Development Association (WADRA), which was then based in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire.
“Babacar Ndiaye was charismatic, and left an indelible mark on our continent. His legacy is vast, because he always saw the big picture. He was quite simply magnificent,” Adesina stated.
He added, “During the campaign for the AfDB presidency, I naturally went to see him in Dakar. He welcomed me warmly. I took the opportunity to tell him about my vision for the High 5s . He agreed right away, and told me, ‘That’s what Africa needs to transform itself.'”
Arriving at the institution in 1965 as part of the first group of African managers, Ndiaye climbed the organisational ladder to become Division Chief, Director, Vice-President for Finance, and then President in 1985. Babacar Ndiaye was the first AfDB President to be re-elected to a second term of office.
Under his leadership, the pan-African financial institution obtained its first Triple-A rating in 1984.
The former President was the force behind the increase in the Bank’s capital in 1987, which jumped from approximately US $6 billion to $23 billion, a 200% increase, after approving the process of opening the Bank’s capital to non-African countries. He was also responsible for bringing the Bank into the international financial market.
“Babacar Ndiaye accomplished tremendous things for the AfDB and for Africa. He always advocated for excellence. He made the AfDB a credible and respected institution internationally,” stated Donald Kaberuka, former AfDB President (2005-2015), in a message read on his behalf by Victor Oladokun, AfDB Director for Communication and External Relations.
Builder of institutions
Beyond his complete commitment to the Bank’s success and providing it with a solid foundation, Babacar Ndiaye helped establish major pan-African institutions, such as the African Import-Export Bank, Afreximbank; Shelter Afrique; and the African Business Roundtable. Representatives of these organizations were specially sent from Cairo, Lagos and Nairobi to attend the tribute ceremony on Thursday.
“Without Babacar Ndiaye, African industry leaders such as Aliko Dangote or Michael Ibru would undoubtedly not be where they are today. Babacar Ndiaye invested his faith and perseverance in Africa’s business community. We will be eternally grateful to him,” said Bamanga Tukur, President of the African Business Roundtable.
Christopher Edordu, founding President of Afreximbank, highlighted Ndiaye’s visionary approach, which allowed him to look beyond the era’s Afro-pessimism and embrace opportunities to finance African businesses.
“It took more than six years to establish Afreximbank. When others abandoned it, Babacar Ndiaye persevered and had patience. He firmly believed in the future of African trade at a time when that belief was not widely shared. Seeing what we have become today, we have to recognize the fact that he was a true visionary,” Edordu explained.
It was not the only time that the AfDB’s fifth elected President was proven right when confronted with naysayers. At a time when housing was not yet central to urban development in Africa, he encouraged the creation of Shelter Afrique, an organisation dedicated to financing affordable housing on the continent.
According to Edmond Adikpe, Shelter Afrique’s regional representative, “Babacar Ndiaye knew how to anticipate. He understood early on that Africa must address the problem of housing. At Shelter Afrique, we are eternally thankful to him for everything he did during our creation and evolution.”
The room was filled with emotion as one speaker followed another, with the audience warmly applauding their words of praise for Babacar Ndiaye, who remains the only President in AfDB history to have risen through the ranks of the organisation.
“He was installed as President in 1985 at the Abidjan Congress Centre in the presence of then Ivorian President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who held the African Development Bank in high esteem,” recalled Paul Morisho Yuma, former AfDB Secretary General, drawing a standing ovation from the audience.
“Senegal is proud of you”
Although he devoted his life to Africa, Babacar Ndiaye never forgot Senegal, his country of origin. According to the Senegalese Budget Minister, Birima Mangara, AfDB Governor for Senegal, who flew in from Dakar to attend this ceremony, Ndiaye contributed significantly to the development of bilateral cooperation between his country and the Bank. “Between 1972 and now, the AfDB has invested close to 1,400 billion CFA francs in Senegal. We owe that to all of you here, but in particular to Babacar Ndiaye.
“Senegal is proud of you as a son. Babacar Ndiaye is not gone; he is still present in the depths of Africa. We hear his breath in an Africa on the move,” added the Senegalese Budget Minister, paraphrasing the poet Birago Diop.
In attendance, Ndiaye’s widow, Marlyne Ndiaye, nodded her head in agreement, with tears in her eyes. Arriving in Abidjan in 1965, Babacar Ndiaye developed a special relationship with Côte d’Ivoire, home of the Bank’s headquarters. No fewer than three Ivoirian Ministers were present in the AfDB auditorium this week.
“He was a friend of Côte d’Ivoire. We all miss Babacar Ndiaye. President Alassane Ouattara misses him, having known him well and greatly appreciated him. He was a roving ambassador for African development,” agreed François Albert Amichia, Minister of Sports and Leisure, who led the Ivorian Government delegation.
His memory lives on
Alassane Ndiaye, son of the deceased, spoke on behalf of his family. He first thanked the Bank for taking the initiative to hold the ceremony to honour and pay tribute to his father. “The entire family is proud of and thankful for this ceremony. What you have done today touches us deeply and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” said the Ndiaye family’s spokesman, in a voice filled with emotion.
He urged those present to pursue the trail blazed by his father.
“He wanted the best for Africa. He believed in and loved the idea of a better Africa. Let’s continue to work for a better future for our continent. That would be the best and most unique way to perpetuate his hopes and his memory,” continued Alassane Ndiaye.
“Replacing darkness with light, well-nourished and healthy children, free flow of goods, people and ideas throughout the continent, and restoring hope to the hopeless – these were the ideals to which President Babacar Ndiaye dedicated his life. The work to realize these dreams continues in the High 5s,” declared AfDB Senior Vice-President Charles Boamah at the ceremony’s conclusion.
Last July, a high-level delegation from the Bank, led by Charles Boamah, along with Vice-Presidents Alberic Kacou and Amadou Hott, Acting Vice-President, Finance, Hassatou N’Sele, and Director of Special Projects Sipho Moyo, attended Babacar Ndiaye’s funeral in Dakar.
During a recent visit to the Senegalese capital, President Adesina visited his predecessor’s home to express his sympathy and support his widow and children.
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.
*courtesy of AFDB
Mugabe donates $1 million to African Union
July 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
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)
Kagame and African ministers of foreign affairs meet to put reforms in action
May 9, 2017 | 0 Comments
Africa: AU Bans Ministers From Nigeria, Other Member Countries From Representing Presidents
February 1, 2017 | 0 Comments
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.
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.
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.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.
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?
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?
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.