Sixth Retreat of the Executive Council kicks off at the African Union Headquarters

Sixth Retreat of the Executive Council kicks off at the African Union Headquarters
Photo credit: GCIS

13 Sep 2018

The Sixth Retreat of the Executive Council opened on Wednesday, 12 September 2018 at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

For two days, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and External Relations from the African Union Member States, will brainstorm on the progress made on the AU Reform as well as consider the key reform issues and challenges so as to agree on the specific outcomes that this reform process should deliver.

The Retreat of the Executive Council is expected to prepare for the upcoming summit on the AU Reform billed for November 2018 in Addis Ababa. The opening ceremony of the Executive Council Retreat at the Mandela Plenary Hall of the AU Conference Center took place in the presence of the AU Commissioners.

Addressing the Ministers in her opening remarks, the Chair of the Executive Council, H.E Louise Mushikiwabo, recalled that the Reform of the Commission is a central element of the overall AU reform process. “Agenda 2063 is in place and provides our overall vision. Against this vision, we have developed a set of ambitious continental priorities and targets,” she noted.

“I think we can all agree that we need a strong and effective AU Commission to drive our continental agenda. We have a key opportunity over the next two days to do some collective thinking on how best we can achieve this,” underlined Minister Mushikiwabo.

According to the Chair, the heart of the reform of the AU Commission is about people, systems and processes. We must be able to attract and retain the best that Africa has to offer to deliver for this Continent. Making sure that we have motivated staff driven by Pan-African values, and strong ethics who are delivering within an accountable and rules-based administrative framework.

“Alongside this, the Commission must be able to avoid duplication and overlap, manage its resources prudently, observe the highest fiduciary standards and ensure value for money while delivering results. This is what will give Member States the confidence to meet their financial obligations regularly and on time,” underscored Minister Mushikiwabo before concluding that “time is not on our side, with the ambitious continental plans we have put in place and in an increasingly uncertain multilateral context, we need to put in place a Commission that is fit for purpose and able to drive our continental agenda”.

Speaking earlier, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, welcomed the Ministers to the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, and wished them a Happy Ethiopian New Year celebrated on Tuesday by the host country. He recalled that this meeting was agreed at the Nouakchott Summit last July 2018 and is taking place at a pivotal moment. He also underlined that the retreat is expected to help prepare for the AU's extraordinary summit on institutional reform scheduled for mid-November this year.

“Since the launch of the institutional reform process of our Union, significant progress has been made in its implementation,” noted the AUC Chairperson. He highlighted some of the achievements such as the rationalization of the working methods of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Governments, improvement in the quality of its deliberations, the strengthening of the interaction between the AU and the RECs with the view of ensuring a better synergy between the continental level and the regional level for better efficiency in the implementation of the continental agenda.

According to Chairperson Faki, one of the AU reform process if well implemented will help address the issue of the financing of the Union. “There is obviously a greater awareness of the imperative of achieving the financial autonomy of our Union,” he underlined.

The AUC Chairperson further explained that the internal procedures and working methods of the Union are being revised to allow effective implementation of these decisions. He also pointed out that one of the most fundamental issues that concerns us all is the restructuring of the AU Commission.

In his welcome remarks, H.E Workneh Gebeyehu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, began by wishing a Happy Ethiopian New Year to his peers, celebrated on Tuesday 11 September all over the national territory. He recalled that it is also a special year for the IGAD Region where peace and reconciliation is being heralded from Ethiopia to Eritrea to Djibouti and South Sudan. “The Horn region is ready to be a positive force to Africa’s efforts to silence the guns by 2020,” underlined the Minister.

Worth noting that, since 2014, the AU Executive Council has met in Retreat at least once a year. The 1st Ministerial Retreat of the Executive Council was held in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia in January 2014, with major focus on the development of Agenda 2063.

Source African Union
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Date 13 Sep 2018
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