EYEAFRICA TV: Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA: In his first address at the 29th ordinary session of the Summit of African Union leaders at Ethiopia’s capotal, Addis Ababa today, President Adama said the current challenges faced by African continental organization requires realistic and inclusive political leadership. “We need to address the factors preventing us to effectively operate as a Union through the reform processes.”
President Barrow, accompanied by by a high powered delegation including his wife left The Gambia late Saturday to attend the Summit of the AU leaders, perhaps the first time since his coming into office last January.
Barrow thanked President Paul Kagame for his inspiring leadership and congratulated him and the members of his Pan-African Advisory Team for the quality and excellent work they are performing in the reform process. He also thanked the Presidents of Guinea and Chad and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for their support of the reform process.
He told AU leaders that the continent’s reform process is compelled by the need to change the norm in which the continental organization is being governed. “Through our Agenda 2063, we have summed up a vision for our Continent, a vision that is based on a peaceful, unified and prosperous Africa. As a consequence, we should work together to achieve our noble goals for ourselves, and generations to come.”
Mr. Barrow said consultative meetings that were held in Kigali and Addis Ababa had strengthened confidence in the reform process. “We are hopeful that the consultations between the Members of the Pan-African Advisory Team, Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), African Union Commission (AUC) and our Ministers will continue to address the technical, legal and financial imperatives of the reform process,” he said.
According to him, the importance of their agreed financing mechanism could not be over-emphasized, saying it is only prudent that while “we” work on “our” existing financial sources that “we” also embrace new financing mechanism.
He said the agreed 0.2% levy on eligible imports is a proposition for an independent and self-reliant Africa and we need to make it a reality. “We commend the great work being done by the Group of Ten Finance Ministers and they are urged to expedite the process of developing the governance structures for the funds to be generated.”
President Barrow recognized the link between the levels of political participation and the successful implementation of the decisions we take, saying the decision for Member States to be represented at levels not below the ranks of a Prime Minister or Vice President in our High Level Meetings is acknowledged. “However, it should be appreciated that our Foreign Ministers or Senior Members of our governments have the authority to fully represent us when designated to do so. As such, we urge the Reform Team to be aware of this fact”
He said it is crucial that the administrative and governance structures of “our” continental organization are reviewed. “We thank the AU Commission for its planned institutional audit exercise. Ultimately, it will reduce the administrative challenges of our organization,” he said, adding that Africa must have the ability to bring our vision to reality.
The Gambian leader said the continent’s citizens, especially her youth are important facilitators to this change and their thinking could yield enriching ideas for the reform process. “The discourse being undertaken on the reform process should not be confined solely to the AU. There needs to be a proactive engagement with our youths to seek their input.”