The 29th African Union Summit took place in Addis Ababa from June 27 – July 4, 2017. The Summit programme, as per tradition, commenced with the meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), followed by the meeting of foreign ministers as Executive Council, and culminated in the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
Throughout the Summit period, the Chairperson of the African Union, H.E. President Alpha Condé of Guinea and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission H.E. Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, emphasised the necessity for a new approach in governing African Union business. The institutional reform of the African Union, including a new AU nancing mechanism, were at the top of the agenda for this Summit, providing momentum with the intention of giving further ef ciency and credibility to our continental organisation.
I was privileged to hold a bilateral meeting during the Summit with the champion of the AU reform process, H.E. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, where we discussed the important recommendation that the AU reform team has made, which is to transform the NEPAD Agency into the African Union Development Agency.
The Assembly included a roundtable led by H.E. President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad on the theme of the year 2017, “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in the Youth,” where the establishment of the new African Youth Fund was introduced. The Assembly also witnessed the donation of a cheque to the AU Foundation by H.E. President Robert G. Mugabe of Zimbabwe, and the launch of the
“Dot Africa” roadshow to promote a top-level domain for the pan-African internet community.
The NEPAD Agency was well-represented at the 4th High Level Panel on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment held on the side-lines of the Summit, and the tradition of reporting an annual AU Gender Scorecard continued, providing recognition to African countries making particular strides in this area.
Peace and security was debated in detail, specially related to the implementation of the Master Roadmap of practical steps to silence the guns in Africa by the year 2020. Other reports were presented related to the implementation of Agenda 2063 and its First 10 year plan, including the consolidation of the Continental Free Trade Area.
The Summit witnessed the election of the Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof Sarah Anyang Agbor of Cameroon, and the Commissioner for
Economic Affairs Dr Victor Harison of Madagascar, as well as the election of several new members of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Advisory Board on Corruption, and the Panel of the Wise.
The Summit also celebrated milestones by distinguished Africans, including the election of Dr Tedros Adhanom as Director General of the World Health Organisation and the delegates held a minute of silence in honour of Mr Babatunde Osotimehin, late Executive Director of the UN Population Fund.
The NEPAD delegation to the AU Summit ended the mission on a particularly high note, with a dinner hosted by our former colleague and newly-appointed Permanent Representative of Nigeria to Ethiopia and the African Union, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye.