Retreat on African Union Institutional Reforms and Agenda 2063

The African Union has convened a modest retreat to discuss the institutional reforms and the second decade of Agenda 2063. The retreat discussed the institutional reforms and the processes underway to reposition the organization to ensure it has the requisite institutional capacity to deliver on the economic, political, and social vision of the continent as encapsulated Agenda 2063. The Agenda 2063 is  a comprehensive development framework for Africa.

The reform agenda emphasizes on the need to focus on key priorities with a continental scope, realigning AU institutions to deliver on its objectives, operational efficiency and sustainable self-financing the Union. The retreat also discuss the second ten-year plan of Agenda 2063 spans 2024 to 2033. The Agenda 2063 was adopted by the 24th Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa in January 2015. 

The Agenda embodies the aspirations of the African people, framed in a collective ambition thus: “The Africa We Want in 2063” and is operationalized through five (5) ten-year implementation plans, with the first plan straddling 2014 to 2023. The second decade of the Agenda 2063 implementation is one of acceleration, building on the first that focused on convergence.

The significant aspect of the retreat was that valuable lessons learned from the first decade of Agenda 2063 have been captured in the biennial progress reports and the evaluation of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan, among other documents, which in turn informed the design of the successor ten-year plan. 

Key among the revelations was the perception widely held by African citizens that Agenda 2063 is as relevant to the continent’s development discourses as it was in 2013. Held for four-days (June 8-11, 2023) in Kigali, capital of Rwanda, Moussa Faki Mahammat, Chairperson of African Union Commission; Assoumani Youssouf Mondoha, Chair of the AU Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC); Representative of the Government of Rwanda and many other guests participated.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, lauded the progress of the reforms underscoring its relevance in repositioning the organization to deliver on the vision for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena. 

He noted some of achievements of the reforms highlighting, among others, the departmental structure of the AU Commission, the transformation of the NEPAD into the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) with an expanded mandate, the autonomy of Africa CDC reinforced by a new statute; the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) structure, the expanded mandate of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the implementation of the Decision on Financing the Union for self sufficient financing through domestic resources including the Peace Fund, as well as the enhanced budgeting process. 

“This institutional architecture has proven itself. Beyond some delays observed for various reasons, it is important to note that for the first time in the history of the African Union, a reform decided by the Heads of State and Government has produced concrete and convincing results. Indeed, a quick glance at the tangible results obtained at the course of the last five years is enough to illustrate my point,” Moussa Mahamat stressed in his speech.

Financing the reforms and Agenda 2063 remains a top priority. Prof. Manasseh Nshuti, Rwanda’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Charge of East African Community, underscored the urgency for the African Union to realize its vision for reliable and predictable financing mechanism stating, “the Union’s reliance on external partner funding demands sincere discussions to achieve operational autonomy progressively.

Since the Kigali Summit of 2016, AU member states fully fund the organization’s operating budget. However, the continued dependence on external partners for program budget and peacekeeping operations defeats the Johannesburg decision to achieve 75%, and 25% Member States funding. These shortcomings raise questions about the commitment to peacekeeping operations and conflict prevention.

Comoros Permanent Representative to the AU and Chairperson of the Permanent Representatives Committee, Assoumani Youssouf Mondoha, restated the importance of the retreat to deliberate on the key issues of reforms and Agenda 2063. 

He stated that “the two themes at the heart of our retreat today, namely the reform of the African Union and Agenda 2063, are important as they determine the future of our institution in an uncertain international context. The success of our work and the relevance of the recommendations that will result from it will determine the optimal, efficient and harmonious functioning of our organization for the decades to come.”

The retreat serves as a platform to review the progress made in the first decade of Agenda 2063 and draw valuable lessons for the second decade. The full report from the retreat will be considered in the processes of the AU Policy Organs before being presented for consideration by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government. The African Union (AU) is an organization uniting independent African states established in 1963, and headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Kester Kenn Klomegah
Kester Kenn Klomegah
MD Africa Editor Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs in the EurAsian region and former Soviet republics. He wrote previously for African Press Agency, African Executive and Inter Press Service. Earlier, he had worked for The Moscow Times, a reputable English newspaper. Klomegah taught part-time at the Moscow Institute of Modern Journalism. He studied international journalism and mass communication, and later spent a year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He co-authored a book “AIDS/HIV and Men: Taking Risk or Taking Responsibility” published by the London-based Panos Institute. In 2004 and again in 2009, he won the Golden Word Prize for a series of analytical articles on Russia's economic cooperation with African countries.