President Paul Kagame has said that during his tenure as Chairperson of the African Union, among the action items he will seek to advance include gender inclusion and equity at the Union.
Kagame was speaking yesterday at the panel discussion on “Public services in 21st century Africa” moderated by Dr. Mo Ibrahim, founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
The President said that among Rwanda’s interventions in the regard will be to share experiences to ensure women get what they deserve at the African Union.
“There is only so much I can do, but it is a good conversation that’s already been happening here at home. We can keep talking to one another to show the urgency of this. I think people understand the need only that when it comes to implementation do some difficulties develop,” Kagame said.
He said that ensuring gender equity and inclusion should not be considered a favour to women but rather requires an understanding of the importance of the aspect for the entire society.
“We can work together to show the need to give women the place they deserve. It is not really giving it to them or handing it to them or doing a favour to them. It is just realizing that it is important for all of us not just for women but also for men. This helps the understanding of the practice as we have it here in our country. We can help by making the input required to that conversation and even raising it to the level of the African Union which is very critical,” he said.
During the interaction, the Head of State gave an update of the ongoing process of the African Union reform whereby he noted that about 25 countries were already applying the self-financing mechanism with others expected to join in soon.
He told the forum’s participants that self-financing continues to be a significant concern of the AU as it has a direct impact on the priorities and objectivity of the organ.
“Financing is very important; you need money to do things. It is also important to look at the source of the finance. The source matters because if you are not the source there are a couple of problems associated as you will be trying to not only do what is good for yourself but also for someone else (the financier) that may not be healthy,” Kagame noted.
The self-financing mechanism involves implementation of a 0.2 per cent levy on eligible imports from outside the continent.
President Kagame also responded to questions on why Rwanda has shown hesitance to be part of the International Criminal Court where he said that though the court was initially supposed to cover the whole world it ended up targeting only Africa.
Clarifying that injustices should always be tried in court, he said that there ought to be accountability in the process or else justice would not be served.
On corruption, Kagame said that countries ought to go beyond slogans to fight the vice by implementing viable proposals.
Kagame however said that much as corruption is a serious problem in Africa, it is not a characteristic of the continent and its citizens as there often are players from Western countries.
The African Union has dedicated 2018 to advancing the fight against corruption across the continent to improve the level of service delivery.
Delegates at the Ibrahim Governance Weekend have for the last two days been deliberating on the status of public service, good governance and effective leadership on the continent among other topics.