Under the theme of “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in the Youth”, the 29th African Union Summit opened on Tuesday 27 June 2017, at the African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the Thirty Fourth (34th) Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC).
The opening ceremony took place in the presence of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Deputy Chairperson, AUC Commissioners, all the Ambassadors of the 55 African Union member states based in Addis Ababa, representatives from the diplomatic corps, the international community, civil society, private sector and invited guests among others.
In his first address to the PRC as Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, emphasized on the relations between the PRC and the new Commission. “Dealing with emergencies, and trying to identify the strategic lines of our action, we have acquired a serious awareness of the need to change certain crucial aspects of the Commission’s working methods. The result is the necessity of addressing the relations between our two organs” he added.
The Chairperson reaffirmed the Commission’s commitment to work with the PRC, in order to give full measure to the desirable cooperation and synergy between the two institutions. “We have a lot to achieve with limited means”, he said, adding, “our success depends on the coherence of our actions and our commitments, whatever the level of our responsibilities”.
The Chairperson highlighted the main issues to be considered during the PRC meeting, which include: Reform of the African Union, for which the follow-up of the implementation, in accordance with the July 2016 and January 2017 summit decisions, has been jointly entrusted to the Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Idriss Deby Itno of Chad and Alpha Conde of Guinea. This is in addition to migration, peace and security, and implementation of the decision of the 0.2% levy on imports of eligible products in order to ensure in predictable, sustainable and equitable financing of the AU.
H.E. Mr. Mahamat also highlighted the partnerships of the AU, noting “our strategic partnerships merit a new examination in order to make them more relevant to the requirements of our Agenda 2063, and to the pillars of the reform of our Union”. He called on the PRC to finalize the study on the evaluation of the AU strategic partnerships and to present it to the deliberative bodies. (The full speech of the Chairperson of the AUC is on the AU website.
In her remarks during the opening ceremony, H.E. Mrs. Fatoumata Kaba Sidibe, Chairperson of the PRC and Ambassador of the Republic of Guinea, expressed appreciation for the efforts already made by the AUC Chairperson in the search for solutions to the crises and conflicts on the continent.
She noted, “upon his entry into office, he undertook missions to areas of tension as well as to the United Nations to find durable solutions to these conflicts. The mission to New York, during which AU-UN cooperation was evaluated and culminated in an agreement, will undoubtedly strengthen the AU cooperation with these institutions”.
She called on the PRC members to be comprehensive and clear when taking decisions and recommendations on the various reports, so as to facilitate the work of the policy organs, noting that the PRC report will take the form of draft decisions on matters relating to strategic issues, the AU theme of this year, and peace and security in Africa. (The full speech of the Chairperson of the PRC is on the AU website.
For three days, the 34th Session of the PRC will consider the reports of the various activities of their sub-committees, reports of the AU organs and their activities. The PRC will further exchange views on the draft agenda, as well as the draft Decisions and Declarations of the 31st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, and those of the 29th AU Assembly, before adopting its report.
The PRC session is one of three statutory meetings of the AU Summit, which include the 31st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, and the 29th AU Assembly.
This summit is historic, as it is the first summit with the full participation of all the fifty five African countries, after the admission of the Kingdom of Morocco during the 28th AU Assembly in January this year. It is also the first summit for the new Commission of the AU, which was elected in Jan 2017.
The 34th Ordinary Session of the PRC will conclude on 29th June 2017, with the adoption of its report to be submitted to the 31st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council scheduled to hold from 30 June to 1 July 2017.