Foreign ministers of the African Union (AU) member states on Tuesday met at the headquarters of the pan-African bloc in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to discuss the progress made on the reform of the 55-member Union.
During the two-day meeting, the ministers are expected to consider the key reform issues and challenges to agree on the specific outcomes that the ongoing reform process should deliver.
The retreat of the AU Executive Council is expected to prepare for the upcoming summit on the AU reform billed for November 2018 in Addis Ababa. Since the launch of the institutional reform process of the Union, significant progress has been made in its implementation, said the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.
The rationalisation of the working methods of the AU assembly of heads of state, improvement in the quality of its deliberations, the strengthening of the interaction between AU and regional economic communities (RECs) towards a better synergy and efficiency in the implementation of continental agenda, are among the achievements, according to the Chairperson of the AU Commission.
In the reform process, AU heads of state adopted a financing proposal for the Union in 2016, and it directs all member states to implement a 0.2 per cent levy on eligible imports to finance the African Union in its drive to be self-dependent. “There is obviously a greater awareness of the imperative of achieving the financial autonomy of our Union,” he underlined.
Mahamat further stated that the internal procedures and working methods of the Union are being revised to allow effective implementation of the decisions. He also noted that restructuring the AU Commission is one of the most fundamental issues that concern the pan-African bloc.
In her opening remarks, the Chair of the AU Executive Council and Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo reiterated that the reform of the Commission is a central element of the overall AU reform process.
“Agenda 2063 is in place and provides our overall vision. Against this vision, we have developed a set of ambitious continental priorities and targets,” she said.
“We need a strong and effective AU Commission to drive our continental agenda. We have a key opportunity over the next two days to do some collective thinking on how best we can achieve this,” she said.
Stating that the heart of the reform of the AU Commission is about people, systems and processes, Mushikiwabo said, “We must be able to attract and retain the best that Africa has to offer to deliver for this continent.” She underlined the need to have motivated staff driven by pan-African values, and strong ethics, who are delivering within an accountable and rules-based administrative framework.
“Alongside this, the Commission must be able to avoid duplication and overlap, manage its resources prudently, observe the highest fiduciary standards and ensure value for money while delivering results,” she said.
“This is what will give member states the confidence to meet their financial obligations regularly and on time,” she noted.