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Eyes on East Africa’s Amina, Kagame at African Union Summit

Ambassador Amina Mohamed of Kenya

ISS AFRICA| Top of the agenda of the 28th African Union (AU) summit on Monday in Addis Ababa will be the election of a new chairperson of the AU Commission (AUC).

There are five candidates for the position – two more than in the previous, inconclusive, round of voting in July 2016. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi and Agapito Mba Mokuy, the foreign ministers of Botswana and Equatorial Guinea respectively, are running again, after having failed to garner enough support in July.

The three new candidates are:

  • Abdoulaye Bathily, the former United Nations (UN) special envoy for Central Africa and a former minister of environmental affairs and energy in Senegal
  • Moussa Faki Mahamat, the foreign minister and former prime minister of Chad
  • Amina Mohamed, the foreign minister of Kenya and a former deputy executive director of the UN Environment Programme

The deputy chairperson and eight commissioners will also be elected in what promises to be a tight race for the top positions at the AUC in Addis Ababa.

Towards the full operationalisation of the Peace Fund

Another important issue on the summit’s agenda is a discussion on the Peace Fund. During the July 2016 summit in Kigali, the heads of state and government agreed on a new mechanism to finance the AU and the Peace Fund, namely a 0.2% levy on all imports into African countries, as well as on a new structure for the fund.

African ministers of finance gathered in Addis Ababa in September 2016 to draft the guidelines for the implementation of the decision taken in Kigali. The Peace Fund is supposed to become operational in 2017. It is expected that the heads of state and government will decide on the implementation of this new funding mechanism at the 28th AU summit.

Eminent personalities consider the restructuring of the AU

In Kigali, the heads of state and government also gave President Paul Kagame of Rwanda the mandate to submit a report on the institutional reform of the AU.

He gathered a commission of nine members comprising:

  • Dr Acha Leke, a senior partner with global consultancy firm McKinsey & Co.
  • Cristina Duarte, the former minister of finance of Cabo Verde
  • Dr Donald Kaberuka, the former president of the African Development Bank and AU special envoy for the Peace Fund
  • Dr Carlos Lopes, former executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa
  • Mariam Mahamat Nour, the minister of economy, planning and international cooperation of Chad
  • Amina J Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of environmental affairs
  • Strive Masiyiwa, a London-based Zimbabwean businessman
  • Tito Mboweni, former governor of the South African Reserve Bank
  •  Vera Songwe, regional director for West and Central Africa of the International Finance Corporation
Pres. Kagame holds consultative meeting with #AU chair Pres. Deby & members of the Regional Economic Communities ahead of HoS Reform retreat

This commission will address various issues relating to the AUC’s institutional functioning. This ranges from the election of AUC members and the division of labour between the chairperson and the deputy chairperson to the effective management of the organisation. Its report is expected to be tabled at the summit.

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