The African Union Retreat on Institutional Reforms and the preparations of the second decade of Agenda 2063 is currently underway in Kigali, Rwanda.
The four-day retreat facilitated by the African Union Commission, brings together members of the AU Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC); African Union Organs; and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to review the mandates of the AU organs and Permanent Representational Offices, Specialized Technical Agencies, and Liaison offices of the African Union.
Similarly it is meant to strengthen the working methods of the African Union Peace and Security Council and its role in conflict prevention and crisis management.
The retreat will also consider the progress on the division of labour between the African Union, Regional Economic Communities, Regional Mechanisms and Member States.
The Assembly of Heads of State and Government have since adopted a framework that guides the division of labour through the sharing of competencies.
The framework is anchored on the principle of subsidiarity, complementary and competitive advantage.
The division of labour is centred around six pillars namely; Policy planning and formulation; Policy adoption; Policy Implementation; Monitoring, evaluation & reporting; Resource mobilization; and Partnerships.
Further, the retreat will discuss the second ten-year plan of Agenda 2063 that spans from 2024 to 2033.
The Agenda 2063, adopted in January 2015, embodies the aspirations of the African people and is operationalised through 5 ten-year implementation plans, with the first plan spanning from 2014 to 2023.
The implementation of the second decade of Agenda 2063 will be focused on acceleration, building on the first decade that focused on convergence.
Valuable lessons learned from the first decade of Agenda 2063 have been captured in the biennial progress reports and the evaluation of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan, among other documents, which in turn informed the design of the successor ten-year plan.
Key among the revelations was the perception widely held by African citizens that Agenda 2063 is as relevant to the Continent’s development discourses as it was in 2013.
Speaking at the opening session of the retreat, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission lauded the progress of the reforms underscoring its relevance in repositioning the organization to deliver on the vision for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.
He noted some of achievements of the reforms highlighting, among others, the departmental structure of the AU Commission; the transformation of the NEPAD into the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) with an expanded mandate.
Consequently, the autonomy of Africa CDC reinforced by a new statute, the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) structure, the expanded mandate of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the implementation of the Decision on Financing the Union for self sufficient financing through domestic resources including the Peace Fund, as well as the enhanced budgeting process.
“This institutional architecture has proven itself. Beyond some delays observed for various reasons, it is important to note that for the first time in the history of the African Union, a reform decided by the Heads of State and Government has produced concrete and convincing results. Indeed, a quick glance at the tangible results obtained at the course of the last five years is enough to illustrate my point.” He said.
Financing the reforms and Agenda 2063 remains a top priority. Prof. Manasseh Nshuti, Rwanda’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Charge of East African Community, underscored the urgency for the African Union to realize its vision for reliable and predictable financing mechanism stating, “the Union’s reliance on external partner funding demands sincere discussions to achieve operational autonomy progressively. Since the Kigali Summit of 2016, AU Member States fully fund the organization’s operating budget.”
Adding that: “However, the continued dependence on external partners for program budget and peacekeeping operations defeats the Johannesburg decision to achieve 75pc, and 25pc Member States funding. These shortcomings raise questions about our commitment to peacekeeping operations and conflict prevention.”
Assoumani Youssouf Mondoha, Comoros Permanent Representative to the AU, and Chairperson of the Permanent Representatives Committee restated the importance of the retreat to deliberate on the key issues of reforms and Agenda 2063.
He stated, “the two themes at the heart of our retreat today, namely the reform of the African Union and Agenda 2063, are important as they determine the future of our institution in an uncertain international context. The success of our work and the relevance of the recommendations that will result from it will determine the optimal, efficient and harmonious functioning of our organization for the decades to come.”
The report from the retreat will be considered in the processes of the AU Policy Organs before being presented for consideration by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.