The African Union’s Executive Council and Permanent Representatives Committee convened in Kigali in Rwanda convened for a one day consultative meeting on reforms focusing on the financial independence of the organisation and the institutional reforms that were proposed at the retreat of the Assembly of the African Union.
Rwanda President Paul Kagame has called on AU member state to ensure that the union gets sustainable and predictable financing by taking full ownership of the organisation’s budget.
Kagame says time has come for Africa to take full responsibility of its development programs and activities and stop depending on external financing from partners and donors.
He said the AU has to take action now to ensure that they begin to finance their own budget without relying on external funding which he noted comes with conditions that could be unbearable for African countries.
President Kagame noted that external financing which the AU has been relying on is responsible for external interference from international donors.
He was speaking in Kigali at the African Foreign Ministers’ Consultative Meeting which was held to discuss the implementation of African Union Reforms.
The year 2017 should be considered by all member states of the AU as a year of transition from dependency to ownership of programs and activities of the Union because no continent or country can give peace, prosperity or independence to Africa but Africa itself, he told the meeting.
The Rwandese leader further urged African leaders to learn from his country ‘s undertaking of drastic measures to overcome misery which befell them following the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi without waiting for external assistance.
“The Rwanda you see today is not a miracle but a result of handwork and strong resolve to never go back. First we had to overcome the mindsets and cultivated a positive attitude in our people to get to where we are today.
” Let’s not waste opportunities to learn lessons and apply what we have learnt,” President Kagame stated.
He said it takes positive attitude, transformed mindset and handwork to transform the situation such as embarking on reforms in the AU which is the core business of the meeting.
In July 2016, at the 27th African Union Summit, member States of the AU entrusted President Paul Kagame of Rwanda with the mandate to lead the African Union reforms to enable the continental body meet its mission’s goal and truly serve African citizens. In January 2017, the proposed reforms were adopted by all Heads of State and Governments.
The consultative meeting interacted by giving participants time to contribute to the debate and decided on how some key reforms be implemented.
The leaders deliberated on how to make Africa speaks with one voice and better manages its partnership with the rest of the world and unanimously spoke on the need for Africa to implement measure that would enable Africa itself to finance the African Union activities to ensure sustainability.
Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba was among the 54 foreign ministers from all African countries as well as all African ambassadors accredited to the African Union who met to discuss the way forward to the implementation of these reforms.
In an exclusive interview with ZANIS in Kigali, Mr. Kalaba said the meeting was an opportunity to engage with Africa’s top diplomats and others present, on the foreseen impact of the reforms on the continent.
The Minister stated that the consultative meeting further provided the opportunity for Ministers and other delegates to contribute to the reforms and to fine tune what President Kagame and his team has prepared after he was tasked by the African body.
The Minister attended the meeting with his Permanent Secretary Chalwe Lombe accompanied by Zambia’s High Commissioner to Tanzania Benson Chali.