Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and EAC minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, on Thursday and Friday chaired the 33rd ordinary session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU).
The Executive Council is composed of ministers of foreign affairs of the African Union or other ministers duly accredited by their governments of the member states.
The meetings will pave way for the Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) slated for Sunday and Monday.
This year’s Summit is running under the theme ‘Combating Corruption: A sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation’.
Mushikiwabo told members in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, that it is important for countries to take more actionable steps to combat corruption on the continent.
“In the vision of efficiency that characterises the reforms in progress, it seems to me essential to evoke the fight against corruption, thematic of this year's summit,” she said.
According to a report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Africa loses at least $50 billion a year because of illicit financial flows.
“Imagine the countless outcomes for our peoples if these amounts were recovered and allocated to programmes aimed at good governance, sustainable economic development, peace and stability of the continent,” the minister noted.
Concerning the reform of the African Union, Mushikiwabo said: “We have wanted it to give us the means to participate more optimally, to achieve our social and economic objectives for the well-being of African people”.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, the president of the African Union Commission, said a multimillion action is required to stop corruption, highlighting that the continent needs to redouble its efforts to eradicate this scourge.
“We must go beyond incantations to mark the commitment to fight corruption with the seal of action and the concrete. Member states are strongly challenged to take the measures that the situation calls for and to respond to the aspirations of our people for good governance,” he said in his address.
If corruption is not vigorously combated, Mahamat said, the cohesion of African societies and the viability of the states will be permanently affected.
He also pushed for successful conclusion of political dialogues in Burundi as well as peaceful and transparent elections in Democratic Republic of Congo.
On the agenda, members also discussed ways to end violence and crises in different parts of the region, including in South Sudan, Central African Republic, Mali, western Cameroon, and Western Sahara.
The Executive Council meetings were preceded by the Permanent Representatives Committee meetings chaired by Rwanda’s permanent representative at AU, Hope Gasatura Tumukunde.
These particular meetings, among others, commended this year’s AU achievements, including the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) as well as the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).