AU Summit ends with a vow to prioritize African people welfare

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(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

As participants return home from the 32nd African Union summit in Addis Ababa, this week, the AU vows to continue to undergo the structural, organizational, and funding reforms championed by its outgoing chairman, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who passed on the baton to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Below are some of the major decisions passed;

DECISION ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AREA (AfCFT)
Endorsed the recommendations of African Union Ministers of Trade on:
Template on Tariff Liberalization which will be used by Member States in preparing the AfCFTA Schedules of Tariff Concessions; and the designation of Sensitive Products and Exclusion List on the basis of the following criteria: food security, national security, fiscal revenue, livelihood and industrialization.
Decided that Member States wishing to enter into partnerships with third parties should inform the Assembly with assurance that those efforts will not undermine the African Union vision of creating one African market
Requested the African Union Commission, with the assistance of technical partners, to undertake an assessment of the requirements for the establishment of a future common market including steps to be taken as well as their implications and challenges, for consideration by the African Union Ministers of Trade.
Requested the African Union Ministers responsible for trade to: submit the Schedules of Tariff Concessions, and Schedules of Specific Commitments on Trade in Services in line with agreed modalities to the July 2019 and January 2020 Sessions of the Assembly, respectively, for adoption; and conclude the negotiations on Investment, Competition Policy and Intellectual Property Rights, and submit the draft legal texts to the January 2021 Session of the Assembly for adoption through the Specialised Technical Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.

ON THE INSTITUTIONAL REFORM OF THE AFRICAN UNION
The Assembly delegated to the Executive Council its authority to consider and approve the Statute and Rules of Procedure of the Governance Structures of the African Union Development Agency, AUDANEPAD, during its 35th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council in Niamey, Niger, June/July 2019

ON POST-2020 PARTNERSHIP WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION
Recalled the decision which stressed the need to ensure that Africa speaks with one voice in the various platforms of partnership with the EU, and requested the Commission to ensure cohesion between the Post-Cotonou Agreement and the Post-2020 Continent-to-Continent Partnership, so that continental priorities, as articulated in Agenda 2063 and other related instruments, are consistently reflected in both tracks.
DECISION ON THE ELECTION OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN UNION FOR 2020
Assembly decided that the Chair of the African Union for 2020 will be the Republic of South Africa.

DECISION ON THE REPORTS ON PEACE AND SECURITY
Requested the Chairperson of the Commission to expedite efforts aimed at convening in Addis Ababa, in 2019, an international conference on reconciliation in Libya under the auspices of the AU and UN.
Reaffirmed its commitment to peace and stability in The Comoros.
Commended the Federal Government of Somalia for the continued progress made in implementing the Somali Transition Plan (STP).
Commended the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for its critical role in degrading the capacities of Al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups in Somalia, as well as in the implementation of the STP.
Commended the South Sudanese stakeholders for the leadership demonstrated since the signing of the R-ARCSS and called on the opposition groups that have not yet done so to join the Agreement without any preconditions.
Commended the Presidents of Djibouti and Eritrea for their efforts and commitments to normalize the relations between the two countries, in the framework of relevant PSC Communiqués and UN Resolution 2446 (2018).
Welcomed the peaceful organisation of the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and commended the people and the leadership of the DRC for a landmark peaceful transition.
Encouraged all Congolese stakeholders to uphold their country’s supreme interests above all other considerations and work together.
Welcomed the signing on 6 February 2019 of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic between the Government and the armed groups of the Central African Republic, under the auspices of the African Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation in the CAR.
Expressed deep concern at the increasing terrorist attacks in parts of the continent and reiterated its condemnation of all acts of terrorism committed on the continent by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes and also reiterated the AU’s determination to rid Africa of the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, which cannot be justified under any circumstances.

ON THE REPORT OF THE HIGH-LEVEL COMMITTEE ON LIBYA
Requested the Commission to take the necessary measures, jointly with the United Nations, with a view to organizing during the first half of July 2019, the Inclusive Libyan National Peace and Reconciliation Forum;
Also requested the Commission to take, jointly with the United Nations and the Libyan Government, all the necessary measures for the organization of presidential and legislative elections in October 2019.

ON THE STATE OF GOVERNANCE IN AFRICA
Welcomed the Africa Governance Report developed by the APRM and urged the Member States to consider the recommendations contained in the Report with a view to enhancing good governance and sharing best practices at both country and continental levels
Urged the Member States to develop national governance reports as a self-assessment tool for promoting good governance in line with the recommendations of the Report

ON THE KATOWICE CLIMATE CONFERENCE (UNFCCC COP 24) AND AFRICA’S ENGAGEMENTS AT THE GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE AT COP25/CMP 15
Urged parties to the Paris Agreement to recognize the special circumstances and needs of African countries, in line with the relevant and previous decisions adopted by the Conference of the Parties, and called upon the incoming presidency of the Conference of the Parties to continue with the consultations, with a view to reaching a decision in that regard by the twenty-fifth session of the Conference of the Parties, and requested the AGN to continue pursuing the issue
Urged developed countries to continue to scale up mobilized climate finance towards achieving the 2020 finance goal through private and public funds to deliver on the US$100 billion annually, building on the needs of developing countries and enhancing the country ownership of developing countries, and further enhance the provisions of predictable and sustainable finance building on the floor of the 100 billion USD annually
Encouraged African countries to ratify the Kigali Amendment of the Montreal protocol as a vehicle to strengthen efforts to tackle climate change.

ON THE DEBT CANCELLATION AS A MEANS TOWARDS ENHANCING PEACE, SECURITY, DEVELOPMENT AND DURABLE SOLUTIONS FOR DISPLACED SOMALIS
Recognized that in re-emerging from decades of conflict, the Federal Republic of Somalia must undertake the immense task of reconstruction and development to establish the foundations of lasting peace and stability, thereby establishing favourable conditions for investment and employment creation
Urged Somalia’s external creditors, especially the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) that have pledged financial support, to step up their good faith efforts and accelerate: the normalization of financial relations with Somalia in fulfilment of their promises; the unlocking of development resources for the country, and the full resolution of the external debt overhang;
Aware that a number of AU Member States are among Somalia’s external creditors, the Assembly:
Called upon them to fully cancel Somalia’s debt obligations in the spirit of African solidarity, and requested that the Commission facilitate debt cancellation discussions between Somalia and AU Member State creditors, and also called upon the latter to provide additional economic support to Somalia
Further called upon Somalia’s external creditors to fully cancel Somalia’s debt obligations as a means of relieving the country of a future debt servicing burden that may hinder its transition from conflict to peace and sustainable development.

ON FINANCING THE UNION
Mandated the Commission to do the following:
Provide technical support to Member States in accelerating the implementation of the 0.2% levy;
Facilitate the involvement of the Committee of Fifteen Finance Ministers (F15) in the consideration of the annual audit report of the Union;
Facilitate a retreat of the F15 to assess mechanisms on its working methods as well as consider modalities on how it can accelerate the implementation of decisions on Financing of the Union;
Strengthen the Secretariat of the Financing of the Union with a view of providing adequate support to the F15 and Member States.
The Assembly also adopted a number of declarations, resolutions and one motion.