H.E. Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) has used the opportunity of his first address to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, to highlight actions undertaken since his Commission assumed office in March this year.
He reported that as a first step, a review of programmes was initiated by all departments, followed by a retreat of the Commission to prioritise and align on the objectives for 2017 and 2018.
The launch of the AU reforms was the Commission’s second task. In this respect, he paid tribute to the wisdom and Pan African commitment of the current Chairperson of the Union, H.E. President Alpha Conde of Guinea and President Idris Deby Itno, the immediate past Chairperson of the Union and to H.E. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda who is leading the AU reform process and providing concrete recommendations and guidance for implementation.
The AU Chairperson was speaking at the opening of the two day Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government, which got underway today at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.
The AU Commission Chairperson also projected the work to be done by the January 2018 summit. The first issue is to implement the relevant decisions to be taken by the Assembly in light of the report of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, on the implementation of the reform of the African Union.
The second area is that of peace and security, with the objective of silencing the guns by 2020. Humanitarian action in solidarity with the victims of drought, famine and forced displacement would be the third area of action. The fourth priority would be strategic development issues i.e. executing some integral projects for the benefit of African people. The Chairperson also highlighted the imperative to speak with one voice as the fifth course of action.
H.E. Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat spoke about the partnership between the African Union and the United Nations, especially the cooperation in peace and security, as well as the partnership with the European Union on issues of peace and security and the fight against terrorism and radicalism; economic, democratic and electoral governance issues.
On peace and security, the AUC Chairperson said, in order to deal with all conflicts, the AUC has decided to give priority to prevention and anticipation. He called upon the regional groupings and mechanisms to intensify their actions, in close cooperation with the relevant bodies of the African Union.
H.E Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat went on to call for better alignment between the decisions made by the AU and their implementation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony H.E. Mr. Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea and Chairperson of the African Union, called for a new era of self-reliance to drive development and end poverty on the continent.
The Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Mrs. Amina Mohammed while addressing the Assembly noted the importance of the youth agenda and commended on the theme of the year 2017 saying that “Investing in our youth will reap dividends for our future”. She also commended African countries for welcoming and integrating refugees, into local communities saying this should be emulated throughout the world.
H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine and Chairperson of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee thanked the African Union for the continued support to achieve a Palestinian state living side by side with the state of Israel as an independent state with distinct borders. He appealed to African countries to continue their strong stand with people of Palestine to achieve lasting peace in the region.
The Assembly of the AU has a full programme for the next two days, including reviewing the report of H.E Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda on the Institutional Reform of the AU; discussions on the theme of the summit, i.e. ‘Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in the Youth’; deliberating on reports on peace and security, implementation of Agenda 2063; and the 2018 budget of the African Union. In addition the swearing in of the Commissioners for Human Resources, Science and Technology, and for Economic Affairs are expected to take place. The summit will conclude with a press conference on the 4th of July.