Kagame made the remarks on Sunday as he chaired the Official Opening of the 32nd AU Summit where he also handed the AU Chairmanship to new AU Chairman, President Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt.
Opening the Summit, Kagame said he was grateful to his fellow African Heads of States for entrusting him with “the privilege of leading our organization during this eventful year in service to you and the people of Africa.”
“Our objective was to continue building a stronger and more capable African Union that is able to deliver on the pillars of Agenda 2063, and better represent Africa’s interests on the global stage,” Kagame said adding that the steps forward achieved reflect the long-standing commitment and aspirations of Africa’s leaders and citizens.
Achievements realized during Kagame’s one year spell as Chairman of the African Union include ,among others, the signing of the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement which was done in Kigali on March 21, 2018.
“The CFTA was signed, and now, less one year later, it stands only weeks away from entry into force,” Kagame said as he commended Guinea-Bissau, Botswana and Zambia for “signing the instrument during this [32nd AU] Summit and encouraged those signatories who have not yet ratified to do so at the earliest opportunity.”
“Last year, we strengthened our partnerships with other regions both in substance and tone, and that trend will continue,” Kagame said, revealing that the relaunched Peace Fund now stands at 89 million dollars with 50 Member States contributing.”
“This demonstrates the force of our collective resolve and ability. We will continue to work with the United Nations towards a sustainable mechanism for funding African-led peace support operations,” he noted.
Kagame also commended the recent peace agreement reached among the parties in the Central African Republic, and thank the Commission and the Member States involved in supporting this process adding that “this accord must be implemented and respected.”
On President Fattah Al-Sisi whom he handed the AU Chairmanship baton, Kagame said; “With our full and unqualified support, there is no doubt that he will take our Union forward decisively, to new and greater heights.”
“In Africa, we have high-quality people for any service you want, from any part of our continent. All we need to do is tap into that talent and move forward with Africa’s agenda,” Kagame told the AU reform committee members.
Kagame also thanked the African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahammat and and the Commissioners.
“I would be remiss if I did not particularly single out the comfort, joy, & support that I got from the AUC Chairperson and the Commissioners working together as a team. They are world-class & did everything we needed of them,” Kagame said.