Permanent Representatives’ Committee Meeting commends 5 key achievements made by the African Union since January 2018
Thirty-Sixth Ordinary Session of the PRC underway in Nouakchott, Mauritania
The launch of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) in Addis Ababa in January, as well as the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the pdf Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and the Right of Establishment (3.80 MB) in Kigali in March have been lauded as some of the key achievements of the African Union (AU) made in the period between January and June 2018. These initiatives are noted as being important in the drive for increased continental integration and promotion of regional trade and economic growth.
The AU also made progress in its drive towards the implementation of the ongoing Institutional Reforms and self-financing of the Union which aim to reposition the AU to deliver better service to African Citizenry as well as promote ownership of Africa’s development agenda by ensuring African states finance the activities of the AU.
The Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) also lauded the efforts made in the adoption of the decision on the African Common Position for Negotiations of a new Agreement of Cooperation with the European Union on the future of AU-EU relations post-2020.
These successes were highlighted by the Chairperson of the PRC Ambassador Hope Tumukunde Gasatura of Rwanda at the official opening session of the 36th PRC meeting, which is the first in a series of three stakeholder sessions that comprise the statutory meetings of the AU Summit which is being held in Nouakchott, Mauritania, from 25th June to 2nd July.
The PRC meeting will be followed by the meeting of the Executive Council which consists of Ministers of AU Member states and will culminate in the level meeting of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
The ongoing PRC will consider reports of various sub committees and reports of the AU Commission and other organs of the African Union meeting in preparation for the ministerial meeting. They also have on their agenda, consideration of the African Union budget for 2019, as well as consideration of the draft decisions and declarations of the Executive Council.
While making his opening remarks, Ambassador Kwesi Quartey, the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission noted that the PRC plays the important role of acting as the interface between the AU Commission and the member states of the AU to ensure a convergence of views between the two. Amb. Quartey emphasized that such coherence will ensure that “together we will fight against corruption”, which is the theme of the AU for 2018.
Mr Mohamed Mahmoud Sweid Ahmed, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the host country, Mauritania, welcomed all the delegates to the summit.
After the PRC meeting, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, who form the Executive Council, will meet from the 28th to 29th July to prepare for the meeting of Heads of State and Government. The Heads of State meeting, to hold from the 1st to 2nd July will have, amongst other agenda items updates on the progress of the AU institutional Reforms programme championed by H.E. Mr. Paul Kagame of Rwandan; report on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) fchanpioned by H.E Mr. Mamadou Issoufou of Niger; and two reports from the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat on the issues of Western Sahara and the African Common Position on the Post 2020.
A report on the situation of peace and security on the continent and the implementation of the AU master roadmap on practical steps to Silence the Guns by 2020 will be presented to the Assembly. Silencing the guns is a flagship project of Africa’s Agenda 2063. The Heads of State and Government will also adopt the budget of the African Union for 2019, following the recommendations of the Executive Council. Their decisions and declarations will guide the work of the AU as it implements its mandate of driving prosperity, peace and unity in Africa.
The summit is being held under the theme of the year “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”, which is championed by H.E. President Mr. Muhammadu Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Statement by the AUC Deputy Chairperson H.E. Kwesi Quartey at the Opening Ceremony of the 36th Ordinary Session of the PRC
Allow me, on behalf of His Excellency the Chair, Dr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, to welcome you after long days of preparatory work in Addis Ababa, to Nouakchott, capital of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, to the thirty-sixth ordinary session of the Permanent Representatives Committee. On behalf of the Commission, I would like to thank our Host Head of State, the Government and the brotherly people of Mauritania, not only for the warm and friendly welcome we have all enjoyed since our arrival, but also for the monumental effort proudly crystallized today in this truly magnificent conference center designed and constructed much grace, aesthetic quality and functionality.
I would like, also, to welcome everyone to Nouakchott to for this Summit in this enchanting city.
Since the end of the 30th ordinary session of the AU Summit held in Addis Ababa in January 2018 in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the PRC, under the dynamic and exemplary leadership of its Chairperson, Ambassador Hope Tumukunde Gasatura, assisted by our Bureau, the PRC and the Commission have followed a rhythm of work that been intense and productive.
The impact of her commitment and leadership, commensurate with the PRC’s critical role as the linchpin of the African Union, has been largely positive. I would, on behalf of our Chair and our Commission, like to thank our PRC for all their commitment and hard work we really do appreciate your critical work.
The evidence of this commitment is the heartening and encouraging collaboration and interaction of the Permanent Representatives in implementing the resolutions of the joint PRC-AU Commission on working methods during our joint retreat held in Cairo, the Arab Republic of Egypt, at the beginning of December 2017.
The preparation of 2019 budget which is being presented for your consideration and adoption is significantly different from how previous budgets have been prepared. This is a result of budgetary reforms that have been initiated within the AU.
You will recall that in January 2018 the Assembly took a decision to expand the committee of finance ministers from 10 members to 15 members. The assembly further directed that the F15 should sit jointly with the PRC and the Executive Council at both technical and ministerial levels to review the Unions budget proposal for consideration and adoption.
The assembly on the recommendation of the F15 also adopted nine golden rules as the underlying tenets for AU budget preparation and financial management.
The underlying rational for these very important decisions was to ensure the following:
That AU budgets are well scrutinized to ensure the highest standards in accountability and judicious application of AU resources
That AU budgets are in line with the goals and objectives of the Union as agreed by the leadership.
In line with the above decisions the budget that you will be considering is the first budget of the union to be considered by a joint sitting of the F15 and the respective PRC subcommittee. The process has been very rigorous and I can say the that the inclusion of the F15 in the process has significantly impacted on the level of discussions on this budget that is different from the past.
The introduction of budget ceilings in accordance with the golden rules has also proven to be very effective in helping brought with it a level of scrutiny and rigor previously unknown. This am sure the members of the subcommittee will readily attest to.
the introduction of the budget ceiling for the first time also provided a clear framework for the deliberations on the budget taking into account the revenues and expenditure capacities of the commission and the organs.
This year’s process as intended has provided valuable lessons to the commission as the lead organ for financial management of the union and these lessons will be used to strengthen further our budgetary and financial management practices.
The conclusions of the Cairo retreat, have been illustrative both in the work of the PRC and in the dynamism of collaboration between the PRC and the Commission. Indeed, the regularity of the meetings of the PRC, preceded by those of its enlarged Bureau, gave a new rhythm to the processing of the records and emphasized our common will to operate as two sides of the same coin.
This spirit of consensus, nourished by the diversity of points of view, has always transcended divergences to signify that the new Africa that we are committed to building is an Africa of unity in diversity, a unity which is more variegated and yet more integrated, and more democratic and inclusive and that is the Africa we want.
Of course, not everything has been perfect. Your justified complaints are known. Some are recurrent and they drive our efforts to perform the tasks of your mandate more effectively and transparently. The working documents for your deliberations are sometimes not readily available within the prescribed deadlines. When they are, they are not always in all the working languages of the Union. It has even happened that some of the PRC subcommittees postponed the holding of their meetings because of the lack of availability of meeting rooms. Yet we know democracy and debate and constructive criticism is critical for the strengthening of our organization.
Together we will find solutions in a timely manner. I would like to invite the PRC to make known the spirit of accelerating the progress of the AU towards achieving the objectives set out in its Agenda 2063 to prevail over everything. The call to integration contains within it an admission that as a continent, we are not fully integrated. We therefore need to locate some of this phenomenon in history. I would like to suggest that we focus in the Berlin conference 1884/85.
The centrality of the role of the PRC in the architecture of the various organs of the AU imposes on you, important obligations, as the interface between the Member States and the Commission to ensure, through quality information, convergence of views between the latter and the Commission in the best interests of the alignment and coherence of our actions. in this regard it is important to stress the need for interaction with the Commission within a balanced relationship, as the best means of pursuing the objectives set out in the Agenda 2063 calmly and effectively.
Therefore, we respectfully call for the 2019 budget to be examined in the light of two imperatives: accelerating the implementation of flagship continental-scale programs as vehicles for integration and substantially reducing the reliance of the African Union on funds of external partners.
We would like to draw your excellencies attention that in line with EX C 877 and 899 of 2016, the internal restructuring exercise of the of the commission has started. Under the first phase the Department of Administration and Human resource management is been restructured and decentralized into two departments (Human Resource Management and Administration) and two autonomous units. MIS and Safety and Security.
This is intended to significantly reduce the internal bureaucracy and end enhance effectiveness of delivery. The process will be completed by August after which the exercise will be extended to the other departments.
I cannot conclude without referring the harrowing sights of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean. These remind us that we need to govern better, and we need to govern better together. Let us mobilize permanently for the full success of the institutional reforms supposed to put our continent in a new geopolitical configuration. As such, we must sweep away the apprehensions that threaten to keep us captive in the present and adjust to the reality of a globalized world order in constant mutation.
Let us therefore pursue institutional reforms and work to render the being – THE AFRICA WE WANT. And finally, let us also congratulate our African team who are already making us proud at the ongoing world cup. We look forward to a Nigeria/Senegal final.
I wish you fruitful deliberations. Thank you for your kind attention.