Addis Ababa – The African Union (AU) is holding its 11th Extraordinary Summit, focusing on reform of the African Union. To explain issues and some of the notable milestones to date, the Head of the Reform and Implementation Unit Professor Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo held a press conference at the AU headquarters on 15th November.
In his address to the journalists, Prof. Moukoko recalled that in January 2017, the Heads of State and Government decided to embark upon a robust process of reform of the continental organization, based on past experiences. In order to implement the reform, five main areas are at the center of the discourse: Focusing on fewer priority areas with continental scope, Institutional Realignment, Connecting the AU with African Citizenry, Management of AU at the political and operational levels and Sustainable Financing of AU programmes.
Prof. Moukoko further defined key priorities of each reform area, such as political affairs, peace and security, economic integration and global representation, the strengthening of organs excluding policy organs (Executive council and Assembly), and the empowerment of women and youths.
Regarding the financing of the Peace Fund which was established in 1993, the aim is to have a reserve of 400 million USD by 2020. To achieve this goal, Member States have to contribute 65 million USD per year and the process started last year. As of today Member States have contributed up to 55 million USD, which shows the commitment of Heads of States and Governments of Africa, he said.
Talking of the implementation of the 0.2% levy, Prof. Moukoko explained that it is not about changing the level of contribution but a mechanism put in place to relieve national budgets of states. He noted that 24 countries are already at various stages of implementing it, only two years after its launching. He recalled that the decision on the AU budget was taken in 2015 in Johannesburg.
The press conference intervene was held on the eve of the first Extraordinary Summit dedicated to the reform of the African Union, which started with a meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee from 5th to 7th November, followed by that of the Executive Council from 14th to 15th November. It will conclude with a meeting of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, meeting from the 17th to the 18th November at the AU headquarters at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In their meeting, the leaders are expected to make decisions on reform of the AU Commission; the mandate of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA); strengthening the African Peer Review Mechanism; and the division of labour between the AU, Regional Economic Communities , continental organisations, and member states.
A final press conference summarizing the decisions and way forward will be held at the end of proceedings on November 18th.