6 July 2017

Africa: AU Decisions Signal Growing Aspiration

Photo: Village Urugwiro/The New Times
President Kagame with African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat (L), and Strive Masiyiwa, a member of the Pan-African Advisory team and founder of Econet (R), at a consultative meeting on the African Union Reforms in Kigali.

The decisions passed by 29th AU ordinary summit to intensify its efforts of reforming the union and realizing some of the continent's pending agendas including youth benefit and economic integration, and silencing the guns signaled the growing aspirations of continental bloc to bring tangible changes.

The week long convention has also seen notable decisions to ensuring the financial independence of the union, forming youth corps at continental level and facilitating cultural exchange among Member States were among the key decisions.

Meanwhile, the 29th session decided to erect memorial statues for Emperor Haileselassie and former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi inrecognition of the leaders' commitment in forming and reforming the union and supporting fellow Africans during hard times. It is also an appreciation for advocating Africa's interests at international level.

Similarly, the session also passed decision on the union's financial independence. Accordingly, member countries would cover the budget by contributing 0.2 percent of their respective taxes imposed on eligible imports, with some countries already contributing.

In relation to peace and security, the bloc discussed and endorsed the implementation Master Roadmap to Silence Guns in Africa by 2020. It has also discussed the current instability among Djibouti-Eritrea boarder. The summit also considered peacekeeping deployment in the area.

The union has decided to hold one Ordinary Summit per year, and extraordinary sessions if needed.

Various bilateral discussions have also taken place on the sideline of the summit. Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn has talked with Adel al-Jubeir, Foreign Minister Saudi Arabia, in the areas of investment, trade and people to people relations. Hailemariam expressed his gratitude to the government of Saudi Arabia for extending its amnesty to thirty days. Both agreed to ensure fair treatment of Ethiopian legal immigrants in Saudi.

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