30 January 2017

Rwanda: Kagame Team Eyes Efficient, Effective African Union

Photo: Cyril Ndegeya/ The East African
Delegates at the AU summit in Kigali (file photo)

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame was last week finalising a report that seeks to chart a path for the African Union to wean itself off donor reliance. He is expected to present the report at the 28th African Union Heads of State Summit set for January 30-31 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

During the 27th AU summit in Kigali in July 2016, President Kagame was tasked with coming up with reforms for the continental body to become self-sustaining.

President Kagame picked Donald Kaberuka, former president of the African Development Bank; Carlos Lopes, former executive secretary of UN Economic Commission for Africa; Cristina Duarte, former minister for finance and planning of Cape Verde; Strive Masiyiwa, executive chair of Econet Wireless; Tito Mboweni, former governor of South African Reserve Bank; Amina J Mohammed, Minister for Environment of Nigeria; Mariam Mahamat Nour, Minister for Economy, Planning, and International Co-operation of Chad and Vera Songwe, regional director for West and Central Africa at the International Finance Corporation.

Financing formula

Dr Kaberuka proposed a new financing formula for member countries to raise $1.2 billion annually to fund AU activities. However, several countries are already asking for more time to include the commitment in their national programmes and to come up with the necessary legal frameworks to guide it.

The idea was for the funding initiative to kick off in the 2017/18 fiscal year.

Speaking to journalists at pre-AU summit meetings in Addis Ababa, the Commissioner of Economic Affairs at the Union, Anthony Mothae Maruping, said some countries have requested additional time before they start implementation.

"They have asked to be given this year to adjust. Some would like to make legislative adjustments to ensure that it is within the law while others have Customs Union commitments that require further consultation," Mr Maruping told journalists at a news briefing in Addis Ababa last week.

According to a brief statement from President Kagame's office: "The goal is an efficient and effective African Union that is fit for the purpose of driving Africa's integration agenda and projecting the continent's voice on the international stage."

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