Greetings of peace and blessing from URI-Africa. Here I am sharing with you the highlights of outcomes of the 29th Summit of the African Union held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
- Important decisions on youth; theme of the year.
- President Paul Kagame of Rwanda elected to lead the African Union in 2018.
- 2018 budget of the AU adopted: $769, 381,894, slightly less than 2017 budget.
- Concerned about the performance of ECOSOCC, the Summit ordered an in-depth study on its functioning since its creation
- Election of two commissioners: HRST & Economic Affairs
- Election of new members of the Panel of the Wise
- The theme of 2018 confirmed as “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation” and the dates and venues of both AU Summits in 2018 decided.
- Important decisions and commitments on peace and security and on the “AU Roadmap for silencing the guns in Africa by 2020”
- List of Heads of State and Government who lead on specific thematic within the AU
1) Theme of the Year: “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth”
The Summit asked the Chairperson to mobilize international support for Africa’s efforts towards harnessing the demographic dividend by calling for a special session of the United Nations General Assembly and the creation of a global partnership on the demographic dividend.
2018-2027 period is declared “African Decade for Technical, Professional and Entrepreneurial Training and Youth Employment”.
The establishment of the African Youth Fund is endorsed. The Summit also authorized allocation to the African Youth Fund of an amount at least equal to 1% of the Programme Budget of the African Union Commission.
The Pan-African Youth Forum is institutionalized. The Leader of the theme of the year 2017, President Idriss Deby to follow-up on the conclusions of the Pan-African Youth Forum held in N’Djamena
2) Budget for 2018
Total budget: $769, 381,894 (including peace support operations $268,083,200)
- Operating Budget US$458,763,038
- Programs budget: $310,618,856
… to be financed as follows:
- Member States contribution: $318,276,795
- Partners contribution: $451,105,099
3) Peace and Security
Somalia: The Assembly expressed concern at the resurgence of piracy activities of the coast of Somalia and called on the AU and international partners to coordinate their support through the implementation mechanism of the Security Pact, as agreed at the London Conference, held on 11 May 2017, with a view to optimize the impact of joint efforts aimed at, in particular, supporting the Somali National Security Forces. The Assembly welcomed the establishment of the AU-Somalia Joint Task Force that should be the best channel to harmonize support by partners.
South Sudan: The Assembly expressed deep concern over the continued deterioration of the situation in South Sudan and called upon, South Sudanese parties to demonstrate leadership and to rise up to their responsibility towards ending the long suffering of their own people. The Assembly also welcomed the launching of the National Dialogue initiative by President Salva Kiir and urged the South Sudanese stakeholders to ensure its inclusivity independence and impartiality. The Assembly endorsed the decisions of the 31 IGAD Extraordinary Summit held on 12 June 2017, in particular the urgent convening of the High-Level Revitalization Forum of the Peace Agreement. Concerned by the humanitarian situation in South Sudan and urged the international community to provide the necessary assistance to the needy people in South Sudan and the neighboring countries. In this regard, the Assembly called on the Transitional Government of National Unity, SPLM-IO and all armed groups to strictly observe international humanitarian law with regard to humanitarian agencies and workers, with a view to create or facilitate access and delivery of the humanitarian assistance to the population in need.
Djibouti and Eritrea: The Chairperson of the Commission, with the necessary support of the two countries, to pursue his efforts towards normalization of relations and good neighborhood between Djibouti and Eritrea
Morocco & Western Sahara: The Assembly reaffirmed its determination to find a durable solution to the conflict in Western Sahara, and called on the two Member States, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, to engage in direct and serious talks and extend the necessary cooperation to the AU policy organs, the Commission and the AU High Representative for Western Sahara. The Assembly also welcomed the commitment of the UN Secretary-General to re-launch the negotiating process, with a new dynamic and a new spirit leading to the resumption of negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions, between the two parties with the aim of reaching a durable solution, which shall provide for the self-determination referendum of the people of Western Sahara in line with the relevant UN resolutions and the AU/OAU decisions.
DRC: The Assembly appealed to all Congolese actors to work for the preservation of the still fragile gains in the path of peace and stability in the DRC, in particular the effective and consensual implementation of the 31 December 2016 Agreement, with a view to organizing elections, in December 2017. In this regard, the Assembly welcomed the initiatives so far taken by the Chairperson of the Commission, including the dispatching, from 29 to 30 May, in Kinshasa, of a mission led by Commissioner for Peace and Security and comprising the representatives of the United Nations, the ICGLR, SADC, guarantor institutions of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Region, signed on 24 February 2013, in Addis Ababa. The also Assembly called for the urgent appointment of the Chairman and Members of the National Follow up Council of the Agreement (CNSA) in order to establish the calendar of elections.
Burundi: The Summit reaffirmed its commitment to the peaceful resolution of the crisis in Burundi through the rapid launching of an inclusive inter-Burundian dialogue, under the aegis of the East African Community (EAC), with the support of the AU, under the leadership of the EAC Mediator, President Museveni of Uganda and his Facilitator, former President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania. The Assembly called upon the Burundian authorities to take all the necessary steps to build the widest consensus possible on the ongoing process of revising the Constitution, with the participation of all stakeholders and on the basis of the Arusha Agreement of 2000. In this regard, the Assembly also called for the rapid signing of the Memorandum of Understanding relating to the activities of the Human Rights Observers and the Military Experts of the AU;
CAR: The Assembly reaffirmed support to the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in CAR and called on all Central African stakeholders, the UN and other partners to support this process. The Assembly welcomed the signing in Rome, on 19 June 2017, under the facilitation of the Sant’Egidio community, of an agreement between armed groups, including a country wide ceasefire. The Assembly URGES Member States and partners to pursue and increase their assistance to the CAR and to contribute to stabilization, post-conflict reconstruction and development efforts in the country.
Mali: The Assembly welcomed the timely initiative of the G5 Sahel, namely Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad, which led to the establishment of the G5 Sahel Joint Force. The Assembly further welcomed the adoption by the United Nations Security Council of resolution 2359 (2017) on the deployment of the G5 Joint Force expressed appreciation to the European Union (EU) for the financial support to the initiative of the G5 Sahel. The Assembly requested the Commission to organise as soon as possible, a meeting of the member countries of the Nouakchott Process to discuss their support for the G5 Sahel initiative, within the framework of the AU Strategy for the Sahel Region.
The Summit declared the month of September, of each year till 2020, as “Africa Amnesty Month” for the surrender and collection of illegally owned weapons/arms, in line with the African and international best practices. In this context, the Assembly Pronounced as follows:
- persons who surrender their illegally owned weapons/arms shall not be subjected to disclosure humiliation, arrest or prosecution
- persons who fail to surrender their illegally owned weapons/arms beyond the Africa Amnesty month, shall automatically be considered to be in violation of national laws and the Amnesty and shall therefore be prosecuted according to the national laws of the Member States;
- all Member States, RECs/RMs as well as civil society organizations shall give wide publicity, through all media networks, to the Africa Amnesty Month within their territories and regions; and
- request Member States to adhere to and promote the Africa Amnesty Month, September each year, and mobilize their citizens to actively participate in the efforts to silence the guns.
The Summit appealed to all AU Member States and RECs/RMs to redouble efforts in further strengthening their governance institutions, as part of the continental mobilization to ensure strong response to illicit weapons, their proliferation and use in the continent, as well as to illicit financial flows, production of dangerous drugs, as well as trade in illicit goods and illegal exploitation of natural resources.
The Summit encouraged AU Member States to speed up signing and ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty adopted the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013, which has the potential to play an important role in silencing the guns in Africa.
The Summit requested the Commission, as also requested by the PSC in its Press Statement [PSC/PR/BR.(CDXXX)] of its 430th meeting held on 24 April 2014, to submit and present to the PSC, the outcomes of the continent-wide mapping exercise which was launched in early 2017, with a view to generating concrete data on patterns and trends in illegal weapons and ammunition inflows and cross-border flows, diversion and circulation, as well as gaps in control measures in Member States, in order to strengthen AU remedial efforts.
The Summit Acknowledged that as part of the efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and practices throughout the continent, political will and commitment is a fundamental necessity for success in silencing the guns. In this regard, the Assembly urged Member States, for those that have not yet done so, to submit their state reports on their implementation of the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG). The Summit also requested the AU Commission to convene a meeting of experts of AU Member States to review the OAU/AU treaty making process and make recommendations that will be submitted for consideration by the relevant AU policy organs in the course of 2017.
Panel of the Wise: The Summit decided to strengthen the preventive role of the Panel of the Wise by urging it to accelerate the establishment of national peace infrastructures, including by harnessing the efforts of national mechanisms. The summit also decided on the operationalization of “Pan African Network of Women Mediators“, as a subsidiary body of the Panel of the Wise.
4) Institutional Reform: The Summit took note of President Kagame’s Progress Report and reiterated that the implementation process will consider proposals and suggestions made by Member States.
5) Full Integration of NEPAD into the African Union Commission: The NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) is dissolved. AUC in consultation with the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA), to take all necessary measures for the full integration of the NEPAD into the Commission and to report to 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly in January 2018.
The Executive Council expressed concerns about the performance of ECOSOCC as an advisory role to the Union and requested the AUC in collaboration with ECOSOCC and Member States to implement the previous Executive Council Decisions EX.CL/Dec.833(XVII) on the establishment of a dedicated secretarial within CIDO and EX.CL/Dec.849(XXV) which calls for an in-depth study regarding the functioning of ECOSOCC since its inception to provide appropriate recommendations on modalities to revamp the operations of the organ, in line with the current reforms of the AU that would support the principle of Africa ownership
AU Commission to work out all legal, structural and financial implications affecting the relocation of ECOSOCC to Lusaka, Zambia and submit to the PRC for supplementary budget consideration
7) Child Rights
The Executive Council adopted the theme for the Day of the African Child 2017: “Leave No Child Behind for Africa’s Development” and requested Member States to commemorate the Day of the African Child
8) New Commissioners elected:
- Human Resources, Science and Technology: ANYANG AGBOR Sarah MBI Enow Sarah (Cameroon)
- Economic Affairs: HARISON Victor (Madagascar)
9) New members of the Panel of the Wise
Eastern Africa: Dr. Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe, from Uganda (re-appointed)
Northern Africa: Mr. Amr Moussa, from Egypt
Western Africa:, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, from Liberia
Central Africa: Mrs. Catherine Samba-Panza, from the Central African Republic
Southern Africa region, Mr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, from Namibia
Outgoing members of the Panel of the Wise shall become members of the Group of Friends of the Panel.
10) January 2018 Summit and theme of the year: The 30thAU Summit will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme “Winning The Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation” as follow: PRC: 22 – 23 January 2018; Executive Council: 25 – 26 January 2018; Assembly: 28 – 29 January 2018.
July 2018 Summit: The 31st AU Summit will be held in Mauritania as follow: PRC: 25 – 26 June 2018; Executive Council: 28 – 29 June 201; Assembly: 1 – 2 July 2018.
11) Which President Leads on What?
(i)) H.E. Mr. Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo: Leader and Chairperson of the High-Level Committee on Libya;
(ii) H.E. Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South African: Leader on African Union-United Nations Cooperation;
(iii) H.E. Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda: Leader on the Continent’s Political Integration;
(iv) H.E. Mr. Edgar Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia: Leader on Combating Early Marriage of Young Girls;
(v) H.E. Mr. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger: Leader on Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA)
(vi) H.E. Mr. Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Republic of Chad, Leader: of the Theme of the Year 2017;
(vii) H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Leader on the Implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme: (CAADP);
(viii) H.E. Mr. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, President of the Togolese: Republic, Leader on Maritime Security, Safety and Development in Africa;
(ix) H.E. Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika: President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, Leader on the Thorny Issue of Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa;
(x) His Majesty Mohamed VI, King of Morocco, Leader on the Migration Issue;
(xi) H.E. Mr. Alassane Dramane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Leader on the Follow-Up of the Implementation of African Union Agenda 2063;
(xii) H.E. Mr. Nana Akufo Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana: Leader on Gender and Development Issues in Africa;
(xiii) H.E. Mr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Leader and Chairperson of the Committee of Ten (C10) on the United Nations Security Council Reform;
(xiv) H.E. Mr. Paul Kagamé, President of the Republic of Rwanda, Leader on the Institutional Reform of the African Union;
(xv) H.E. Mr. Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic and Chairperson of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC);
12) Hissen Habre Case
The Executive Council requested the Commission to submit the Statutes of the Trust Fund for victims of Hissène Habré crimes to the Specialized Technical Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs for Consideration and to present it to the Thirtieth Ordinary Session of the Assembly for adoption through the Executive Council January/February 2018;
The Council also authorized the Commission to take necessary consultations with the Government of the Republic of Chad on the establishment of the Secretariat of the Trust Fund, bearing in mind that, the Decision of the African Extraordinary Chambers, the Senegalese Courts will have jurisdiction over all matters arising from the implementation of the African Extraordinary Chambers’ decision.
The Council invited Members States, partners and any other governmental or non-governmental organisation to provide a voluntary contribute to the Trust Fund and fully support the African Union Commission, to ensure the prompt and effective reparation of the victims as per the Decision of the African Extraordinary Appeal Chambers.
MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH