Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — 18 November 2018 - The 11th Extraordinary Session of the African Union Summit, focusing on institutional reform of the African Union, was held in Addis Ababa from 5th to 18th November 2018. It started with a meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee from 5-7 November, followed by the meeting of the Executive Council from 14th to 15th November. From 17th to 18th November, the AU's apex decision making body, the Assembly, held its meeting.
The following is a summary of decisions made on the main issues.
1. ON THE STRUCTURE AND PORTFOLIOS OF THE SENIOR LEADERSHIP OF THE AU COMMISSION
The Assembly decided:
That the new structure of the AU Commission shall be composed of eight (8) members as follows: Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and six (6) Commissioners
That the portfolios of the Commissioners shall be as follows:
i. Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment;
ii. Economic Development, Trade and Industry and Mining
iii. Education, Science, Technology and Innovation;
iv. Infrastructure and Energy;
v. Political Affairs, Peace & Security;
vi. Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development;
That the structure and portfolios of the senior leadership of the Commission shall come into effect at the end of the current tenure of the Commission in 2021.
ON THE SELECTION OF THE SENIOR LEADERSHIP OF THE COMMISSION
The Assembly decided that the following key principles shall guide the selection process of the senior leadership of the Commission;
i. Equitable regional representation and gender parity;
ii. Predictable inter and intra-regional rotation following the English alphabetical order to be applied to each senior leadership position
iii. Attracting and retaining Africa's top talent;
iv. Accountable and effective leadership and management;
v. Transparent and merit-based selection;
vi. The principle of rotational gender parity shall be applied to the posts of Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson; ensuring that if the Chairperson is male then the Deputy Chairperson shall be a female and vice versa
vii. The six (6) Commissioner level posts shall be equally distributed by gender and across the three regions that are not represented at Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson level;
viii. The regions with candidates that are elected to the position of the Chairperson or the Deputy Chairperson shall not be eligible for consideration for the six remaining Commissioner posts.
The Assembly established a Panel of Eminent Africans, composed of five (5) eminent personalities, one per region, to oversee the pre-selection of candidatures of the senior leadership of the Commission.
ON THE ELECTION OF THE CHAIRPERSON AND DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE AU COMMISSION
The Assembly decided, among others, to Amend Rule 38 of the Rules of Procedure of the AU Assembly that relates to the election of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, to read as follows:
i. The Assembly shall elect the Chairperson of the Commission and his/her Deputy by secret ballot and two-thirds majority of Member States eligible to vote.
ii. The Chairperson of the Commission and his/her Deputy shall be competent women or men with proven experience in the relevant field, commensurate leadership qualities and a good track record in government, parliament, international organizations or other relevant sectors of society.
iii. The selection process should ensure the appointment of the best possible candidate who embodies the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity as well as demonstrating a firm commitment to Pan-Africanism and the objectives, principles and values of the AU, proven managerial abilities, extensive experience in international relations and strong diplomatic and communications skills. "
The Assembly directed the Commission to align all relevant legal instruments by February 2019 and also decided to enhance the transparency and meritocracy of the current selection process.
ON THE ELECTION OF THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE AU COMMISSION
The Assembly decided, among others that Article 13 of the Statutes of the Commission shall be amended to read as follows:
i. A skills and competency based assessment and shortlisting of candidates shall be undertaken by a High Level Panel of Eminent Africans (1 per region) assisted by an independent African firm to generate a ranked pool of pre-qualified candidates nominated by the relevant AU regions from which Commissioners shall be elected and appointed by the Executive Council;
ii. Candidates shall be assessed through an initial review of applications and cvs. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for assessment to assess candidates against the skills and competency criteria established for the leadership posts.
Assembly directed the Commission to align all relevant legal instruments by February 2019.
ON THE MANDATE OF THE AFRICAN UNION DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
This item referred to Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.635(XXV|ll) on the Reform of the African Union of January 2017, which proposed the transformation of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) into the African Union Development Agency (AUDA). In this regard, the Assembly approved the mandate of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) as follows:
i. To coordinate and execute priority regional and continental projects to promote regional integration towards the accelerated realisation of Agenda 2063;
ii. To strengthen capacity of African Union Member States and regional bodies; advance knowledge-based advisory support, undertake the full range of resource mobilisation, and serve as the continent's technical interface with all Africa's development stakeholders and development partners.
The Assembly called for the conclusion of a permanent Host Country Agreement for the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) with the Government of the Republic of South Africa.
ON INSTITUTIONAL REFORM OF THE AFRICAN PEER REVIEW MECHANISM (APRM)
This item referred to, among other decisions, Assembly/AU/Dec.635(XXVIII) adopted by 28th Ordinary Session of the Assembly Union held in Addis Ababa, on the Outcome of the Retreat of the Assembly of the African Union on the Institutional Reform of the AU, which stated that the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) should be strengthened to track implementation and oversee monitoring and evaluation in key governance areas on the continent.
i. The Assembly stressed the need for the APR Forum to hold its ordinary sessions on the margins of the AU Summit
ii. It requested the AU Commission to ensure the APRM Forum is allocated and afforded adequate time to fully address its agenda
iii. The Assembly decided to integrate the APRM budget in the statutory Union budget funded by Member States.
iv. It reiterated the need to strengthen the capacity of the APRM, in collaboration with the African Governance architecture, to deliver on its extended mandate, and enhance its functional autonomy.
v. The APRM was requested to present an update on the State of Governance in Africa and to report to the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly scheduled to take place in February 2019.
The Assembly also made decisions on the AU sanctions regime for the non-payment of contributions. Other decisions were made on:
i. The termination of appointment of the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson of the AUC
ii. Enhancing performance management at the level of senior leadership of the AUC
iii. Administrative and financial reforms
iv. Establishing an effective division of labour between the African Union, Regional Economic Communities, Member States and continental organisations
v. The African Union scale of assessment and contributions
Detailed decisions will be available soon on the African Union website www.au.int.