AU Commission Chairperson announces “eight major priorities” seeking second-term

Moussa Faki Mahamat
Moussa Faki Mahamat

Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has announced “eight major priorities,” seeking re-election amid an imminent upcoming election.

Mahamat, who was elected by African leaders to lead the 55-member pan-African bloc back in January 2017 during the 28th AU Summit, is fast approaching an end to his four-year first-term tenure at the helm of the AU Commission.

The Chairperson of the AU Commission is set to present an assessment of his first-term activities to the assembly of African leaders, who are set to meet from February 6 and 7 as part of the 34th AU Summit.

Noting that the priorities for his second-term aspiration from 2021-to-2024 “will set the normative framework for our future deployment,” Mahamat said the eight priorities “will set the normative framework for our future deployment” if he is re-elected.

The eight major priorities include finalizing the institutional reform and strengthening the leadership of the AU Commission; enhancing administrative and financial accountability; silencing the guns at continental level; executing key continental integration projects such as the African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA) Agreement; as well as realizing the continent’s food self-sufficiency, reduce poverty by building resilience through agriculture, the blue economy and environment protection.

Operationalizing policies in favor of youth and women, stimulate “African thought” on the obvious determining factors of crises, as well as renewing the AU Commission’s strategic partnerships with bilateral and multilateral partners are also among the major aspirations of the incumbent AU Commission Chief.

“Ultimately, the burning ambition here is that, at the end of the next term of office, we will be able to sing the African anthem, in a festival of continental peace, in a joyous feast of well-being and the sweet silence of guns across the whole of Africa,” Mahamat said in a comprehensive publication entitled “My Vision for the Term of Office 2021-2014” that outlined his future vision under the AU Commission.

He also underscored his “dream of a continent where the sound of weapons and the pain of violence will be definitively buried under the hymns of culture, the rumble of factories, the lights of scientific discoveries, the civilized matching of doctrines, healthy and peaceful competitions of political projects, inaugurations of educational, health, port, road, industrial, agricultural, environmental, sports and artistic infrastructures.”

As the sitting AU Commission Chairperson fast approaches an end to his four-year first-term tenure, many analysts emphasize some of the standout achievements of his chairmanship, which includes the establishment of the AfCFTA, in March 2018 in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, its launch in June 2019 in Niamey, capital of Niger, and the eventual and “historic” start of trading under the AfCFTA as of January 1, 2021.

In addition to the AfCFTA, many also credited Mahamat for the successful adoption of the continental Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in Africa back in January 2018, the right of residence and the right of establishment as well as the introduction of a Pan African Passport in February 2019 as important steps towards continental integration.

The launching of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), an initiative dubbed “Africa’s Open Skies” with an aim to establish a single unified market through the liberalization of the continent’s airspace back in January 2018, is also considered a major milestone achieved during Mahamat’s four-year AU Commission chairmanship.

In terms of youth empowerment, Mahamat, a Chadian diplomat who previously served as Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of his country, is also credited for the appointment of an AU Youth Envoy and the establishment of a Youth Consultative Council in November 2018, which envisaged strengthening links and space for Africa’s youth to produce its best for the betterment of the continent.

Mahamat, noting that Africa is “a very young continent” in which the continent’s youth presently representing about 60 percent of the total population, stressed that “any initiative in favor of Africa must be based on this cardinal fact.”

According to Mahamat, corruption, mismanagement, the fragility of states and conflict factors such as electoral violence, unconstitutional changes of government and extension of presidential term limits “have continued to fuel the debates within the African public opinion.”

He, however, emphasised that Africa “has undergone many positive changes during the term, both in terms of economic and social development of our member states, both individually and as a bloc.”

“My vision for the term, for which I am seeking reelection, remains dependent on the decisions and policies as determined and adopted by the sovereign organs of the Union, which are binding on us and to which, therefore, I would give the highest attention,” the incumbent AU Commission Chairperson affirmed.

During the upcoming 34th AU Summit, African heads of states and governments are expected to elect new AU Commission officials, including the chairperson and deputy chairperson of the Commission as well as commissioners who will be serving a four-year term.

African leaders had also during the 28th AU Summit that was held in January 2017 in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia elected Ghanaian diplomat Thomas Kwesi Quartey, as Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission.

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