The Pan-African Parliament (PAP), the legislative body of the African Union, on Friday wrapped up a two-week sitting in Kigali. It was the first ever meeting in Rwanda.
Among the recommendations adopted by the lawmakers was an appeal made early last week by President Paul Kagame, Chairperson of the African Union, urging them to facilitate the speedy ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, and other key pillars of the continent’s Agenda 2063.
Signed on March 21 in Kigali, the AfCFTA is a trade agreement initially endorsed by 44 AU member states. Its goal is to create a single market across the continent. Agenda 2063, on the other hand, is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of Africa over the next five decades.
PAP President, Roger Nkodo Dang, from Cameroon, closed the session by, among other things, appreciating the “special hospitality and care” accorded to him and his colleagues and members of the Secretariat of the PAP by the government and people of Rwanda.
“This has been a very successful session in Kigali. We benefited from high quality discussions during our deliberations and stay in Rwanda,” Dang said, noting that they will include their Kigali deliberations in their continued commitment to deliver for Africans.
“Our citizens are expecting much from us as an institution,” he said, adding that despite the fact that the August House has not yet had much influence, it is on the right path.
PAP is unable to do much presently because it has no power to function as an appropriate legislature. It cannot make laws that are binding as required of a legislative body and they want this state of affairs quickly changed.
At the end of the session, MP Fidèle Rwigamba (Rwanda), told The New Times that the biggest take-away include the fact that the first ever PAP sitting came to Kigali.
“We had never received the Pan-African Parliament and now it has been here for more than two weeks. It managed to popularise itself. I don’t think there were many Rwandans who actually knew about it but after these two weeks many know about it now,” Rwigamba said.
“Another important achievement is the message by the President of the republic who is also Chairperson of the African Union who is also spearheading reforms in the AU. In his message, he urged Pan-African Parliament members to assist him, to use their good offices, to have the African Continental Free Trade Agreement ratified, in addition to the free movement of persons, as well as pillars of agenda 2063.”
PAP has up to 255 members representing the 55 AU member states that ratified the Protocol establishing it.