Addis Ababa – Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister and Chairperson of the African Union Executive Council Dr. Richard Sezibera said on Wednesday that Africa needs to speak with one voice and negotiate as one as the only fitting way for a vibrant Africa, finally taking her rightful place in the concert of nations.
Minister Sezibera was delivering his opening remarks at the 20th Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union which opened on Wednesday in Addis Ababa with a focus on the African Union Reforms.
“As we like to say in Rwanda, Africa’s unity and Africa’s speaking with one voice, has proven to be a positively disruptive force on the international scene. We have witnessed this lately, both at the WHO’s and Francophonie’s elections. We should resolve that these results become the norm more than the exception. We gather here today for an important task in the service of Africa. An efficient, fit for purpose AU, able to deliver on the Agenda we have agreed on, and flexible enough to innovate to meet the challenges of tomorrow” Minister Sezibera said.
While efforts are underway to ensure that African Union Commission can leverage the best minds and skills, Minister Sezibera observed that strong accountability and performance systems are also essential for the AU institution to be more effective.
“Performance-based measures must be strengthened for the senior leadership and institutionalised across the entire organisation, with adequate measures in place to address non-delivery. As we design performance management mechanisms for our Commission, we must also commit to being more accountable ourselves as member States, to fulfilling our obligations, and being held to account when we don’t” Minister Sezibera said.
Citing examples of achievements with ongoing AU reforms – notably the reduction in AU’s reliance on partners’ funding this year, Minister Sezibera noted that African Union’s self-financing in a sustainable and predictable manner will be a key determinant of its accomplishments.
For this to be sustained, Minister Sezibera encouraged member states to create the necessary growth, starting with the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area; and by honoring financial obligations, including by adopting the 0.2% levy through national legislative bodies.
The Extraordinary Session prepares for the 11th AU Extraordinary Summit which will be held on 17-18 Nov 2018. For two days, the AU Ministers of Foreign Affairs and External Relations will consider and deliberate on the draft agenda, decisions and declarations that came out of the meeting of the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) from 5th-6th November 2018, and the outcomes of the 6th Retreat of the Executive Council’ held on 12 and 13 September 2018 on AU Institutional Reform.
The meeting will consider proposals on the reform of the structure and portfolio of the senior leadership of the AU Commission, selection of the senior leadership of the Commission, administrative and financial reforms, and the mandate of the AU Development Agency (AUDA). The Ministers will also consider division of labor between the AU, RECs, continental organisations and Member States, strengthening of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Financing of the Union, and AU Peace Fund.