A.U. to trim institutions, suspend non-paying members for more efficiency

To remain credible, the AU needs to generate more unity, more leadership and more of its own money instead of relying on handouts. Photo : Reuters

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADV) – Incumbent President of the African Union, President Paul Kagame has said much still needs to be done to deliver “an efficient African Union that serves citizens”.

“The purpose of this Extraordinary Summit is to advance the institutional reform of our Union. Events on our continent and across the world continue to confirm the urgency and necessity of this project,” he said.

Kagame, made the statement on Sunday at the end of the 11th Extraordinary Session in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.

“I am pleased to note that we are very much on course. We have passed the halfway point and the end is in sight. But there is still very important work to do,” he told the AU Assembly.

“There was an urgent need to advance the Union’s institutional reform,” he insisted.

Paramount among the reforms endorsed by the African leaders is the slicing of institutional structures within the African Union Commission, including the number of commissioners from eight to six.

By trimming down the institutions, there will be a leaner commission with new procedures to ensure performance and accountability, including a merit-based selection procedure while guaranteeing regional and gender representation.

The leaders also endorsed the decision to transform the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) into an African development agency and to adopt the practice of peer review — a mechanism in which countries submit their performances for debate and review.

Another decision among others, that was endorsed include a 0.2 per cent levy on eligible imports, a transformational decision that has been adopted by 24 countries across Africa.

Speaking at a press conference Sunday at the conclusion of the summit, Moussa Faki, the union’s chair, said among the reforms to strengthen the Union, was the endorsement taken by the Heads of State that countries which did not make their annual financial contributions will be suspended.

He said so far only up to 50 percent of the amount expected in member state contributions is being made.

“The first duty of a member state is to make its contribution,” he said.

Speaking further, President Kagamé said “many remaining issues were kicked back to the next summit set for January, again in Ethiopia, the union’s capital.

Analysts were unanimous when they expressed optimism to ADV that the proposed reforms were most likely to boost the union’s credibility rating and management of burning issuess.

A total of 55 African Heads of state and governments attended the summit.

© Bur-csa – A.H – N.A / From our regional correspondent Tamba Jean-Matthew III – African Daily Voice (ADV)