US Secretary for Africa, Yamamoto optimistic of Kagame AU leadership

On 22 December 2017 at 04:16

As president Paul Kagame prepares to take over African Union (AU) chairmanship next month, the United States Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Donald Yamamoto, has said Kagame is coming at a very historic moment where lot of dynamic changes are taking place in the commission.

Yamamoto was responding to IGIHE reporter’s question during the Africa Conference Call about U.S strategic priorities in Africa. The discussion with the reporter from different countries around Africa revolved around Yamamoto’s recent visit on the continent.

Yamamoto visited Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda early this month.

Yamamoto said that Kagame is the right person to address different issues in AU countries, considering all he has articulated over the years in the leadership of Rwanda.

He said there are commonalities towards some basic fundamental issues to think about and act.

Yamamoto said that Kagame is very situated to think about how to stabilize security in Somalia, to respond to crisis facing South Sudan, the G5 issues facing ISIS and Boko Haram, stability in Nigeria as well as the Nile River issue with Egypt.

“I think President Kagame, being a very neutral person on a lot of these issues, is situated very well. But again, we also all agree that we’ve got to move forward on institution building. And as we always say, if you take Africa as a snapshot today, we see a lot of challenges,” he said.

Yamamoto lauded democracy strides in Africa, saying that the number of democratic or democratic-leaning countries with fair and open elections has increased to almost two dozen over the last years.

“And so that means you have greater stability in Africa, and what we want to do is to build on that, and the fragile democratic state, is to strengthen them,” he added.

Yamamoto promised good relationship with Kagame during his one-year term at the helm of the continent as the Chairperson of AU.

“And I think we’ll have a great relationship with President Kagame, but also other leaders from the African Union and the regional states. I look forward to a very dynamic, open, and progressive movement when he takes over the African Union,” he added.

Rwanda was elected to head the AU Commission in the 29th AU summit that took place in Ethiopia in July, this year. President Kagame will lead AU in 2018, taking over from Guinea President, Alpha Condé.