Boko Haram crisis: African Union backs regional force of 7,500 troops
February 1, 2015 | 1 Comments
Chadian forces have beefed up their presence around Lake Chad, on the border with Nigeria[/caption]
The African Union (AU) has backed plans for a West African task force of 7,500 troops to fight Boko Haram militants.AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the threat posed by the Islamist group required a “collective, effective and decisive response”. Boko Haram has seized control of a swathe of north-east Nigeria and killed thousands in a six-year insurgency. Four of Nigeria’s neighbours – Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger – have agreed to contribute troops to the task force. Speaking after AU talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Ms Dlamini-Zuma said the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) would have an initial mandate of one year. She said it would conduct “military operations to prevent the expansion of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups’ activities and eliminate their presence”. The plan is now expected to be submitted to the UN Security Council for approval. Institute for Security Studies analyst Liesl Louw-Vaudran said agreement on the force represented a “turnaround” by Nigeria, given its previous opposition to international military intervention. However, she said it was not yet clear if the MJTF would be deployed as a border force, protecting Nigeria’s neighbours from Boko Haram incursions, or whether it would attack the militants inside Nigeria. ‘Not doing enough’ Nigeria has insisted that it is capable of tackling Boko Haram and is doing all it can to do so. However, some of its neighbours, including Niger and Cameroon, have criticised it for not doing enough. Chadian troops were recently deployed to Cameroon to help repel Boko Haram incursions. The country’s forces have also reportedly been fighting this week in north-east Nigeria, helping to retake the town of Malamfatori from the militants. [caption id="attachment_16013" align="alignright" width="300"] Ms Dlamini-Zuma said a decisive response was needed[/caption] It was not clear whether the Nigerian authorities had prior knowledge of, or approved, the cross-border operation. But late on Thursday, the Nigerian military said Malamfatori was “within the area of operation covered by the MJTF of which Chad has always been a part”. It said the Nigerian air force had also been conducting missions in the area for the past two days. Previous plans to beef up regional forces against Boko Haram have foundered. A small MJTF had been based in the north-east Nigerian town of Baga, but the troops were withdrawn following disagreements with the authorities in Abuja. Shortly afterwards, Boko Haram attacked the town, which it still holds. Satellite images have shown widespread destruction in Baga and the neighbouring town of Doron Baga. Estimates for the number of those killed in the assault vary from 150 to more than 2,000. Stoned On Thursday, President Goodluck Jonathan visited Adamawa, one of three states placed under a state of emergency because of the insurgency. Speaking in the state capital, Yola, he said the army had just recaptured the town of Michika, leaving only one of Adamawa’s local government areas, Madagali, in the hands of militants. Military sources told the BBC there had been a fierce battle for Michika and troops were carrying out mopping-up operations in surrounding villages. They cautioned that it was too early to say the army was in full control of the area. Meanwhile, the president’s office has denied reports that his convoy was stoned on Thursday in Jalingo, the capital of Taraba state, which neighbours Adamawa. Mr Jonathan, who is campaigning for re-election, has had his convoy stoned at least twice in recent days. *Source BBC]]>
Robert Mugabe assumes African Union helm with familiar rallying cry
February 1, 2015 | 0 Comments
The Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe has been sworn in as chairman of the African Union at a ceremony in Addis Ababa. Photograph: Zacharias Abubeker/AFP/Getty Images[/caption] Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s 90-year-old president, has assumed the chairmanship of the African Union (AU) with a call for members to improve infrastructure and tackle climate change, conflict and Ebola, and with a familiar rallying cry that Africa’s wealth belongs to Africa and not “imperialists and colonialists”. The veteran leader, who was elected head of the union on Friday, replaces President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, of Mauritania. “By electing me to preside over this august body, with full knowledge of the onerous responsibility that lies ahead, I humbly accept your collective decision,” Mugabe told the AU summit in Addis Ababa. “I do so, confident that I can always count on your full support and cooperation in the execution of the important mandate you have given me.” The president, who has led Zimbabwe since 1980, said the focus of his tenure would be on “issues of infrastructure, value addition and benefication, agriculture and climate change in the context of Africa’s development”. The continent’s underdeveloped roads, railways and air and sea networks, he said, were hampering efforts to improve trade, investment and tourism. “We need to continue – and perhaps redouble – our current collective efforts in this sector. “Given that the continent is rich in mineral resources – and resources should be seen to contribute more meaningfully to Africa’s development – they are our wealth and we must guard against their being exploited for the benefit of others.” ]]>
African Union agrees 'substantive' transport deal with China
January 28, 2015 | 0 Comments
Addis Ababa (AFP) – China and the African Union agreed Tuesday on an ambitious plan to develop road, rail and air transport routes to link capitals across the continent.[caption id="attachment_15903" align="alignleft" width="300"] The chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma (R), and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming exchange memorandums of understanding on January 27, 2015, on a continent-wide infrastructure deal in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (AFP Photo/Elias Asmare)[/caption]
African Union chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma praised the proposal at “the most substantive project the AU has ever signed with a partner”, although the ambitious project that includes highways and high speed railways is at present just a committment to develop the infrastructure, and contains few details.
The memorandum of understanding was signed at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, ahead of a summit meeting of the leaders of the 54-nation pan-African bloc on Friday.
At present, the quickest route to travel across from one side of Africa to the other can involve flight connections routed via Europe, although major airport hubs are rapidly growing, including Addis Ababa and Nairobi in the east, Johannesburg in the south and Abuja in west Africa.
“This is the document of the century… the aviation agreement marks a new area for cooperation between the AU and China,” said Zhang Ming, Chinese vice-minister for foreign affairs, after the signing ceremony.
“Africa is a vast continent where it must be possible to travel without transiting via Paris or London.”
China, the continent’s largest trading partner, is already involved in a raft of transport infrastructure projects.*Source Yahoo/AFP]]>
AU asks for collective action against human trafficking, Boko Haram
January 28, 2015 | 0 Comments
Tinishu Solomon* [caption id="attachment_15876" align="alignleft" width="480"] Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission. Photo©Reuters[/caption] Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, on Monday urged African countries to make collective effort in combating human trafficking and the threat posed by Boko Haram in West Africa. Addressing the 26th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU, which is composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of AU member States, Zuma said she was appalled by Boko Haram. “I am deeply horrified by the tragedy Boko Haram continues to inflict on our people,” she said, telling members of the Executive Council “we should all declare this state of affairs as unacceptable.” The Islamist insurgency group, which was first a localised criminal gang, is now posing threats to West and Central Africa, killing 2,000 people in one village and infamously abducting more than 200 girls in northern Nigeria. Dlamini-Zuma acknowledged individual efforts made by Chad in its readiness to assist Cameroon in the fight against Boko Haram. However, “this is not just a threat to some countries. It is a threat to the whole continent. It is a global threat that must be met globally, but with Africa in the lead,” she told the foreign ministers. In her speech that set the tone for this week’s meetings that will culminate in the assembly of heads of states and governments of the AU in Addia Abba, Zuma mentioned pockets of success in the continent, “but we need to do much more”. “The youth have said to us that one of their biggest handicaps is access to start-up capital, and internet services across,” she said. “We must do more and better for African youth.” The Council is currently discussing on various measures Africa needs to take, based on AU’s area of recommendations, which includes investments in education, science and technology, and more. “These measures, aimed at giving our young people a stake in their countries and continent, are the surest way of tackling the problem of African youth migration and trafficking and them falling prey to extremism,” she said. The AU also said it is currently taking the initiative to lead efforts to avert challenges the continent has faced, including extremism. Zuma said these efforts need collective endeavour. The ministers are presently discussing conflict management, but are expected to touch upon issues such as the Ebola crisis, alternative sources of financing, AU peace keeping and youth employment among others. The outcomes of their discussion will be presented for adoption during the 24th Ordinary Assembly of the Heads of State and Government, which will take place on January 30 to 31 at the same venue. * Source theafricareport]]>
The African Union stresses the need for renewed action to more effectively combat the Boko Haram terrorist group
January 22, 2015 | 0 Comments
Nkosazana-Dlamini-Zuma[/caption] The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, continues to closely follow the situation in the countries affected by the activities of the Boko Haram terrorist group. She reiterates AU’s strong condemnation of the cowardly and dastardly attacks carried out by Boko Haram, as well as Africa’s solidarity with the affected populations and countries. The Chairperson of the Commission welcomes the decision of President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad, at the request of Cameroon, to deploy troops in that country, to contribute to the ongoing operations against the Boko Haram terrorist group. She pays tribute to the Chadian leaders for this remarkable gesture of solidarity and for their continued commitment to the promotion of peace, security and stability in the region and on the continent as a whole, as demonstrated, among others, by the role played by Chadian troops in the liberation of northern Mali from the terrorist and criminal groups. The Chairperson of the Commission further welcomes the convening, today, in Niamey, Niger, of a meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and those of Defense of the member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and Benin, which was attended by the AU, represented by the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, as well as by the relevant bilateral and multilateral partners. She notes with appreciation the conclusions adopted on that occasion, which outline a number of practical steps aimed at fully operationalizing the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) established within the framework of the LCBC. The Chairperson of the Commission stresses that, as part of AU’s support to the countries of the region and within the framework of the communiquÈ adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) on 25 November 2014, the Commission is taking the necessary steps to assist, in cooperation with the relevant international partners, in the early finalization of the concept of operations for the MNJTF and other related documents, on the basis of the work already done by the LCBC member countries. In so doing, the objective is to facilitate the mobilization of the necessary international support, including the adoption by the UN Security Council of a resolution authorizing the MNJTF and the establishment of a trust fund, as requested by the LCBC ministerial meeting held in Abuja, Nigeria, in October 2014. In addition, the Chairperson of the Commission intends to seize the opportunity of the PSC meeting scheduled to take place at the level of the Heads of State and Government at the end of January 2015, in Addis Ababa, on the margins of the forthcoming AU Summit, to urge for enhanced international support to the efforts of the LCBC member countries and Benin. The Chairperson of the Commission underlines, once again, that Boko Haram is a threat not only to Nigeria and the region, but also to the continent as a whole and, as such, the situation calls for renewed collective African efforts. She appeals to all the AU member states to extend full support to the efforts of the LCBC member countries and Benin, in keeping with the principles of African solidarity and indivisibility of peace and security on the continent, as provided for in the relevant AU instruments, including the Common African Defense and Security Policy *Source APO/AUC]]>
Protect our Girls, Urges AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security During her Nigeria Solidarity Mission
December 11, 2014 | 0 Comments
AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security, Bineta Diop and a team from the AU meets members of the “Bring Back our Girls” campaign, a group that is advocating for greater global attention to the issue of the abducted Chibok girls –[/caption] The Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security of the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Bineta Diop begun her Nigeria solidarity visit yesterday with a simple message, “protect our girls.” Speaking when she met members of the “Bring Back our Girls” campaign, a group that is advocating for greater global attention to the issue of the abducted Chibok girls, Diop pledged to take their plea for greater support, from AU member states, back to the leadership. “We have come to show solidarity with the people and Government of Nigeria and in particular with the families of the missing Chibok girls.” Bineta Diop was joined by Amb. Diallo Amina Djibo of Niger in Ethiopia, who is also a member of AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and Justice Sophia Akuffo, former President of the African Court of Human and People’s rights. Addressing members of the campaign, who gathered at a public park in Abuja, some of whom have been affected by the insurgency in the North, Amb. Djibo said, “This is an African women’s appeal. We are speaking first and foremost as mothers, whose daughters are missing. We cannot afford to continue ignoring the plight of our missing girls and we must speak out now.” The team earlier held talks with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commissioner for Gender and Social Affairs, Fatmata Sow and ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Salamatu Suleiman. The team also held a roundtable meeting with members of the Nigerian Women Peace and security Network. The purpose of their visit is among others to echo the voices of the women of Nigeria and support them in their efforts to bring to an end the ordeal of the Chibok girls and all other forms of gender based violence. They are also here to support the Government of Nigeria’s efforts to bring back the girls abducted by Boko Haram and galvanize the support of civil society organizations that are assisting the victims. The team is also calling for peaceful elections and for greater participation of women in Nigeria’s political space as a step towards curbing conflicts in the region and ensuring a prosperous future. “In order to achieve the goal of a peaceful and prosperous Continent, women must be part of that transformation process,” said Diop at the start of her mission, which ends on Friday 12 December. *Source AUC]]>
Heads of AfDB, AU and ECA join forces with African business leaders to launch Ebola response fund
November 9, 2014 | 0 Comments
African Business Roundtable on Ebola[/caption] Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 8, 2014 – At an historic meeting on Saturday, November 8 at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the African Union together with African Development Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and leading businesses in Africa committed to join forces to create and support a funding mechanism to deal with the Ebola outbreak and its consequences. To date, the Ebola virus disease has devastated communities, infecting more than 13,700 people and killing over 4,900. While the global response to the current crisis has increased in recent weeks, there is still a critical need for additional competencies to care for those infected, strengthen local health systems and prevent the disease spreading. African business leaders at the Roundtable comprised CEOs from different sectors, including banking, telecommunications, mining, energy, services and manufacturing, among others. They agreed to establish a fund under the auspices of the African Union Foundation through a facility managed by the African Development Bank, to boost efforts to equip, train and deploy African health workers to fight the epidemic. At the meeting, participants saluted Governments, International Organizations, Institutions, NGOs and businesses that have been at the frontlines of the Ebola response, and agreed to urgently scale up the deployment of health workers in the three most affected countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. They also noted with appreciation that a number of African countries to date have pledged over 2,000 trained health workers to support the efforts in West Africa, with additional commitments expected. Responding to appeals from these countries, leading companies in Africa, present at the Roundtable, committed logistical support, in kind contributions and over $28 million as part of the first wave of pledges. In addition, a number of businesses represented in the meeting undertook to immediately consult with their governance structures and will announce their pledges to this effort in the next few days. Roundtable participants further called on the private sector across Africa to join them in this effort. Businesses also agreed to leverage their resources and capacity to help galvanize citizen action around a ‘United Against Ebola’ campaign, and to provide individuals across Africa and globally with an opportunity to contribute. These funds will be used to support an African medical corps – including doctors, nurses and lab technicians – to care for those infected with Ebola, strengthen the capacity of local health services and staff Ebola treatment centres in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. These resources will be deployed in the framework of the African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA), in close coordination with the national taskforces in the Ebola-affected countries and the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER). The resources mobilized will be part of a longer-term program to build Africa’s capacity to deal with such outbreaks in the future. Moreover, participants decided that the Africa Business Roundtable would become an annual meeting of the African Union to help solidify collaboration with the private sector in Africa on key development issues facing the region. Business leaders agreed on a follow up mechanism to implement the commitments made at Saturday’s meeting, reach out to other business entities, monitor the roadmap and agreed to act with urgency. AFDB/AU ]]>
AU appoints Edem Kodjo as Special envoy For Burkina Faso
November 4, 2014 | 1 Comments
Edem Kodjo[/caption] The African Union has stepped up efforts towards a speedy solution to the political crisis in Burkina Faso with the appointment of Edem Kodjo as its special envoy. The decision from the Union’s President Dr Dlamini Zuma indicates the seriousness with which the continental body is treating the crisis. The African Union has given the military two weeks to transfer power to a civilian led transition. Kodjo, a former Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity is expected to coordinate efforts of the African Union, the Economic Commission of West African States-ECOWAS, and the United Nations in facilitating peaceful and orderly return of power to civilian authority and the organization of free and fair elections. Besides serving as the Secretary General of the OAU from 1978-1983, Kodjo brings to his new assignment political and diplomatic experience having served as Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs from 1976-1978 and Prime Minister from 1994-1996 in his native Togo.]]>
African Union to hold emergency meeting on Ebola
September 4, 2014 | 0 Comments
Health care workers wearing full body suits burn infected items at the Elwa hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontieres in Monrovia on August 30, 2014 (AFP Photo/Dominique Faget)[/caption]
Addis Ababa (AFP) – The African Union announced Wednesday it will hold an emergency meeting next week aimed at hammering out a continent-wide strategy to deal with the Ebola epidemic.
The AU’s Executive Council said next Monday’s meeting, to be held at the body’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, would also “deliberate on the suspension of flights, and maritime and border closures, as well as stigmatisation of the affected countries and their nationals”.
“The council’s emergency meeting has been necessitated by the need to have a common understanding of the Ebola Virus Disease and current status of the response and to come up with a collective continental approach, taking into account the socio-political and economic impact of the disease,” the AU said in a statement.
It said concerns had been raised by some member states that moves by other African nations to close borders and halt flights “could have serious socio-economic and cultural effects, and could ultimately lead to increased suffering”.
More than 1,900 people have died in the Ebola epidemic sweeping through West Africa, the head of the World Health Organisation said Wednesday.
The latest toll represents a significant increase from the 1,552 deaths and 3,069 cases reported by the Geneva-based organisation just days ago.
Africa Will be unbeatable when it speaks with One Voice Says Zuma at Africa House Inauguration
August 4, 2014 | 1 Comments
Left to right Assistant Secretary Greenfield, AU Ambassador to US Amina Ali, and AU Chair Dr Dlamini Zuma[/caption] African Union Chair Dlamini Zuma painted a rosy perspective of Africa as the continent grapples with current challenges. Speaking at the inaugural reception of Africa House, the name of the African Union Mission in Washington,DC, Ambassador Zuma said, once Africa eventually comes round to speaking in one voice, the continent will live up to its incredible potential. Addressing a full house which included Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Ambassador Thomas Greenfield, representatives from African Diplomatic Corps, Famed Hollywood Actors like Lou Gossett Jnr, Africans and African Americans, Ambassador Zuma harped on the theme of unity and highlighted the need for Africans to work as one in building a better future. Such a future includes food sustainability, better infrastructure, gender equality and peace, the African Union Chair said. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61u26vOaDcw&feature=player_detailpage#t=20 Drawing inspiration from a poem by Kenya’s Anna Mwalagho and electrifying music presentations by Uganda’s George Okudi, Zuma lauded the talent of young Africans , while lauding the African Union Mission in Washington DC, for providing a place that Africans and their Diaspora friends can call home. In an earlier word of welcome, the African Union Envoy to the USA, Amina Ali, said the African House will serve as home to all from the continent and its Diaspora. Rich in animation and emotions, the inauguration also had the strong participation of the African Diaspora considered as the 6th Region of the African Union. Prominent attendees at the inaugural reception included the African Union Vice Chair Erastus Mwencha, the USA Ambassador to the African Union Reuben Brigety, and Mel Foote of the Constituency for Africa Located on Wisconsin Avenue, the African Union Office is an imposing three storey edifice with offices, conference rooms, and a translation booth. Its inauguration was part of several events taking place as part of the maiden USA-Africa Leaders Summit . ]]>
KEY AFRICAN MINISTERS MEETING IS HELD TO CHART THE WAY FORWARD ON INFRASTRUCTURE AND INTEGRATION
July 21, 2014 | 0 Comments
African ministers in charge of integration are meeting in Ezulwini, Swaziland from 17 to 18th July under the theme, infrastructure and integration in Africa. They were joined at their opening session today by the Right Honourable Dr Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Swaziland; African Union Commission Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma; Prince Hlangusemphi Dlamini, the Swazi Minister of Economic Planning; and AU Commissioners Drs Elham Ibrahim and Anthony Maruping. The ministers are discussing the theme of infrastructure and integration in Africa. At the end of their meeting tomorrow, they will adopt a ministerial declaration, highlighting among others, strategies and actions to speed up infrastructure development to support regional integration. Integration is one of the key goals under the vision of the African Union and remains at the core of the pan African vision. It forms one of the key pillars of the African Union Commission (AUC)’s strategic plan 2014-2017. It is also one of the key enablers of Agenda 2063[i], which seeks to bring together into one framework, Africa’s continental, regional and national plans. Infrastructure on the other hand is seen as a facilitator of integration; as the hardware without which economic and social development on the continent will remain low. Compared to other continents in terms of measures of infrastructure coverage, Africa is lagging behind and this affects the integration efforts. To ameliorate the situation, the African Union has adopted, among others, the programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). “At regional and continental levels, through the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa and the infrastructure master-plans of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), we seek to connect African capitals and commercial centres through road, rail and ICT, to power our economies and communities through energy projects, including renewable and fossil fuel energy, and to increase agricultural production through irrigation projects, building storage facilities, distribution infrastructure and markets”, said African Union Commission Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma at the start of the ministerial meeting in Ezulwini today. The AU Commission is also in negotiations with interested parties, to construct a high speed railway, which will be the flagship of Agenda 2063. Dr Dlamini Zuma announced that concrete agreements have been reached with the Chinese government to set up a research and development center as well as a training center to ensure successful set up of the high speed railway system. Other partners are welcome to contribute to the project, she added. The AUC Chairperson called on Africa to finance its own development projects and programmes, saying “One of the bitter lessons from the last fifty years is that we cannot continue to develop visions and frameworks, and then expect others to take responsibility for financing our development and institutions”. The Chairperson called on Africa to be inclusive in its development policies. “Our development will continue to be at half pace if we do not empower women to play an important part in the socio, political and economic affairs of our societies”. She also called for a skills revolution to ensure African people, especially the youth, are capacitated to undertake the different jobs that will drive the continent forward. Right Honourable Dr Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Swaziland praised Agenda 2063 as representing a collective effort and an opportunity for Africa to regain the power to determine its own destiny. “The voice of Africa is therefore certain as we drive to the Africa we want”, he said. He highlighted the need to invest in trade related infrastructure such as transport, communication and energy sectors. To further aid integration efforts, a continental free trade area (CFTA) is expected to be launched in 2017. Delegates to the meeting were reminded to continue making written inputs into Agenda 2063 through the websitehttp://agenda2063.au.int before 31 October 2014. In January next year, the framework and its first ten year plan will be adopted. The declaration to be adopted by the ministers at the end of their meeting will therefore underscore their determination to speed up the integration agenda in conformity with the pertinent decisions of African Heads of State and Government and the aspirations of African people. This includes support for PIDA to build the infrastructure necessary to support integration. The ministers will make recommendations on the way forward on each of the following topics that are key to infrastructure and integration in Africa: status of integration in Africa and follow up of recommendations from the Sixth Conference of African Ministers in Charge of Integration (COMAIV1); study on the African integration fund; African regional integration index; and on intra African trade and the establishment of the continental free trade area (CFTA). They are also expected to pronounce themselves on the way forward with popularizing and implementing the common African position (CAP) on post 2015 development]]>
The chairperson of the AU Commission looks forward to working closely with the new AU Panel of the Wise
July 10, 2014 | 1 Comments
The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, looks forward to working closely with the new members of the AU Panel of the Wise. At their 23rd Ordinary Summit, held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on 26 and 27 June 2014, the Heads of State and Government endorsed the proposals she made for the appointment of the five new members of the Panel, who are: – Dr Lakhdar Brahimi, from Algeria, for North Africa; – Mr Edem Kodjo, from Togo, for West Africa; – Dr Albina Faria de Assis Pereira Africano, from Angola, for Central Africa; – Dr Luisa Diogo, from Mozambique, for Southern Africa; and – Dr Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe, from Uganda, for East Africa. The new members of the Panel are due to assume office in September 2014, at a ceremony to be held at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa. They will seize that opportunity to review and adopt their programme of work. The Chairperson of the Commission is confident that the new members of the Panel will give additional momentum to the AU’s efforts in conflict prevention, building on the work carried out so far. In line with relevant provisions of the Protocol that established the Peace and Security Council (PSC), the AU policy making organs have, over the past few years, repeatedly emphasized the need for renewed efforts towards conflict prevention in Africa. The Chairperson of the Commission seizes this opportunity to pay tribute to the outgoing members of the Panel of the Wise, which was chaired by late President Ahmed Ben Bella. Former President Kenneth Kaunda, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, Madame Marie Madeleine Kalala-Ngoy, and Dr Mary Chinery Hesse will now become Friends of the Panel. The AU Panel of the Wise is one of the components of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), as provided for in the 2002 Peace and Security Council (PSC) Protocol. The Panel, which was launched in Addis Ababa, in December 2007, is composed of five highly respected African personalities who have made outstanding contribution to the cause of peace, security and development on the continent. They are selected by the Chairperson of the Commission after consultation with the Member States concerned, and appointed by the Assembly of the Union to serve for a period of three years. The Panel is mandated to support the efforts of the PSC and those of the Chairperson of the Commission, particularly in the area of conflict prevention. The Panel may advise the PSC and the Chairperson of the Commission on all matters within their respective competences; carry out fact-finding missions as an instrument of conflict prevention; encourage parties, where appropriate, to engage in political dialogue; and promote confidence-building measures. The Panel may also pronounce itself on any issue relating to the promotion and maintenance of peace, security and stability in Africa. Since its inception, the Panel of the Wise has undertaken a number of thematic reflections on issues relevant to conflict prevention and peace-building, namely: election-related disputes and conflicts; impunity, justice and national reconciliation; women and children in armed conflicts; and democratization and governance. The thematic reflection on election-related conflicts and violence was initiated following the post-election crisis in Kenya in December 2007. The report of the Panel on this issue and its recommendations were adopted in July 2009 by the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government. The decision of the Panel to reflect on fighting impunity, along with its relationship to truth, justice and reconciliation in Africa, was taken in November 2008, following renewed debate on this topic. The choice of the topic of women and children in armed conflicts was informed by the empirical evidence, accumulated over decades, confirming that women and children suffer most wherever and whenever there is a breakdown of social order, rule of law and ascendance of violence. The report of the Panel will be submitted in due course to the relevant AU organs. The decision to devote a thematic reflection to the implications of the popular uprisings in North Africa for the democratization processes in Africa is in response to the request made by the 275th meeting of the PSC, held in Addis Ababa, on 26 April 2011, for the Panel to undertake a comprehensive review of the existing mechanisms relating to democratization and governance in Africa, and make recommendations to it. In addition to its thematic reflections, the Panel of the Wise has undertaken a number of field missions in support of democratization and transition processes on the continent. The Panel of the Wise works closely with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). It has undertaken joint activities with the Committee of Elders of COMESA, the Council of the Wise of ECOWAS, as well as the Secretariats of IGAD, SADC and the ICGLR. In May 2013, the AU Assembly decided to establish an umbrella mechanism called the Pan African Network of the Wise (PANWISE). PANWISE brings together mediation institutions and actors across the continent, with a view to building synergies among all concerned. About the new members of the Panel of the Wise: The new members of the Panel of the Wise were elected by the AU Summit held in Malabo, on 26 and 27 June 2014. These are: a) for North Africa, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi from Algeria – Mr. Brahimi held senior positions in his country, notably as Ambassador to several countries, from 1963 to 1979, and Foreign Minister, from 1991 to 1993. He also held senior positions in the League of Arab States and the United Nations, including as Special Envoy; b) for West Africa, Mr. Edem Kodjo from Togo. Mr. Kodjo has been Finance and Foreign Minister from 1976 to 1978, as well as Prime Minister, from 1994 to 1996. He also served as Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity, from 1978 to 1983; c) for Central Africa, Dr. Albina Faria Assis Pereira Africano from Angola. Dr. Africano has been Minister of Petroleum from 1992 to 1999 and Minister of Industry from 1999 to 2000. She also held the position of Special Advisor to the President for Regional Affairs; d) for East Africa, Dr. Spesiosa Wandira from Uganda. Dr. Wandira has been Minister of Gender and Community Development from 1991 to 1994, Member of Parliament and, from 1994 to 2003, Vice-President of Uganda. She also chaired the African Women Committee on Peace and Development; and e) for Southern Africa, Dr. Luisa Diogo from Mozambique. Dr. Diogo held several ministerial portfolios. She was Deputy Minister of Finance, then Planning and Finance Minister. From 2004 to 2010, she was Prime Minister. ]]>