24th AU Summit ends with strong call for women Empowerment in Africa as a step towards achieving the goals of Agenda 2063

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The 24th Session of the Summit of the African Union concluded in Addis Ababa on Saturday, with closing remarks from the newly elected Chairperson of the African Union, Robert Mugabe who is also the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

The AU Chairperson expressed satisfaction to the adoption of the AU Agenda 2063 framework, “we have rededicated ourselves to the Pan-African ideals of our founding fathers for the Africa we want,” he said. President Mugabe called on the AU Members States to implement all the decisions adopted during the summit “as that is the only way for African states will leverage their resources for the benefits of their people”, underlined President Mugabe. He added that women and youth are the greatest asset for Africa. Hence the theme of this year’s summit:“women empowerment and development towards agenda 2063”.

The African Union will be encouraged to focus on infrastructure and the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) during Zimbabwe’s one-year chairmanship President Robert Mugabe said in his acceptance speech. “We need to continue and perhaps redouble our current collective efforts in this sector,” he said. “The road and power projects that we’re developing are a positive step in our quest to improve the African infrastructure.”

The AU Chairperson called on the Member States to contribute fully in the decision adopted by the summit on the alternative sources of financing AU’s activities. He also commended the solidarity showed by all Africans during the great mobilisation to combat the Ebola epidemics.

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AU Assembly

On the report of Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) on NEPAD

The Assembly requested the NEPAD Agency to develop a coherent Programme of Work to operationalise theMalabo CAADP Implementation Strategy and Roadmap (IS&R) and monitor implementation performance based on the CAADP Results Framework, with emphasis on enhanced support to small-holder farmers, women, youth and promoting inclusive agricultural value-chains, preference for regional markets and strengthening natural resources governance.

The Assembly endorsed the Implementation Strategy for the Dakar Agenda for Action on Financing Africa’s Infrastructure and the Service Delivery Mechanism (SDM) of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), in support of early stage Infrastructure Project Preparation, as well as the Infrastructure Skills for Development (IS4D) initiative, with the core objective to facilitate the implementation of priority PIDA projects by capacitating the project personnel.

The AU Assembly also endorsed the AU RECs Capacity Development Implementation Plan, which spans from 2015 to 2025 based on the NEPAD Capacity Development Strategic Framework (CDSF).The Plan aims to better capacitate Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to align their plans and strategies to current development frameworks such as Agenda 2063, and the Common African Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. It mandates the NEPAD Agency, African Union Commission and RECs in partnership with other development partners such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) to roll-out the Implementation Plan for institutional effectiveness and the effective delivery of regional programmes and projects

The Assembly endorsed the membership of the five (5) initiating countries and the re-election of the 15 rotating HSGOC members by the 32nd HSGOC Session.

Also amongst some of the key decisions adopted during the 24th AU Summit are the following:

On the Hissène Habré case: The Assembly called on Member States, partner countries and institutions to continue supporting Senegal through the African Extraordinary Chambers in the execution of the AU mandate to prosecute and try Mr Hissène Habré, on behalf of Africa, with guarantees for a fair trial.

On the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak

The Assembly recommended the extension of the mandate of the African Union Support to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA): called upon Member States who have not yet done so, to lift all restrictions imposed on Ebola affected countries; requested the international financial institutions and partner countries to cancel the debt of the three affected countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone); approved the recommendation to urgently convene a Global Conference on the Ebola epidemic; requested the Commission to liaise with all stakeholders in this regard; and appealed to the scientific community to accelerate the search for a vaccine against Ebola.

On the Establishment of the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (African CDC)

The Assembly expressed satisfaction for efforts made by the Commission to speed up the process for the establishment of the Centre by mid-2015; approved that the coordination office should initially be at the Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa and authorised the Commission to undertake the mobilization of funds from Member States, development partners and the private sector who have already indicated an interest and with experience in the domain.

Regarding the Report of the high level African trade committee (HATC) on trade issues

The Assembly reaffirmed its commitment to launch continental free trade area negotiations in June 2015; and mandated the Chairperson of the HATC in collaboration with the Chairperson of the Commission to engage in high level consultations for the establishment of the CFTA.

On the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

The Assembly urged Member States to identify key issues in the post-Bali work programme that facilitate the achievement of Africa’s strategic structural transformation and regional integration agenda.

On African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)

The Assembly called upon AGOA-eligible countries to enhance the advocacy to complement the efforts of the African Group of Ambassadors in Washington, USA towards the reauthorization of AGOA.

On Africa’s engagements at the UN climate summit and lima global Climate Change Conference (COP2O/CMP 10)

The Assembly requested the Commission to facilitate the implementation of the WPCCAA and put in place a mechanism for follow up and regular reporting to the Summit on its implementation; and the AMCEN and AGN to take into account the WPCCAA in their negotiations and engagement with other partners in the climate change processes and for a. It approved the recommendation that a Troika comprising the outgoing, current and incoming presidents of AMCEN be the coordination mechanism of CAHOSCC.

On the creation of an African Centre for Information and Communication Technologies in N’djamena

The Assembly commended the Republic of Chad and its President for this crucial initiative and for the funds already mobilized towards the construction of ACIT with a view to promoting information technologies in Africa, which are critical in the continent’s development process.

On the status of preparations for the 11th African games due to take place in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo in September 2015

The Assembly encouraged all Member States of the African Union to actively participate in the African Games in Brazzaville as a demonstration of solidarity with Congo and a testimony to continental unity.

On the continent-wide solidarity against BOKO HARAM

The Assembly welcomed and supported the efforts deployed by Member States of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Republic of Benin for having agreed to deploy national contingents and establish a Joint Military Staff Headquarters for conduct of military operations against the Boko Haram terrorist group.

It expressed its high appreciation to the Republic of Chad for the timely intervention to assist the Republic of Cameroon in combating the Boko Haram terrorist group and called on all Member States to render every possible assistance towards defeating the dangerous Boko Haram Group.

On a culture of peace in Africa

The Assembly requested the Commission to explore with UNESCO and the Government of Côte d’Ivoire the possibility of creating a “School of Peace”.

On the report of the Peace and Security Council on its activities and the state of peace and security in Africa

The Assembly welcomed the progress that continues to be made in terms of peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction in The Comoros, Madagascar, with the continuation of the reconciliation process in Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau.

The Assembly reiterated Africa's solidarity with countries in West Africa affected by the Ebola epidemic (Guinea, Liberia & Sierra Leone) and welcomed the deployment by the Commission of ASEOWA, as mandated by the PSC.

The Assembly welcomed the completion of the transition in Tunisia, with the holding, in November and December 2014, of presidential election and welcomed the positive developments in Burkina Faso.

The Assembly expressed appreciation to the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) and troops and police contributing countries for the excellent work done in the Central African Republic (CAR), as well as to Member States and international partners who have provided logistical, technical and financial support to the Mission.

The Assembly welcomed the steps that continue to be taken towards the full operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). It noted with deep concern that despite the progress made, Africa continues to face serious challenges in the field of peace and security, which undermine socio-economic development efforts, cause catastrophic humanitarian consequences and contribute to project a negative image of the continent.

It reiterated concern at the continued worsening of the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa, as demonstrated by the cowardly and dastardly attacks perpetrated by different terrorist groups across the continent, including Al Shabaab, the Lord's Resistant Army (LRA), Boko Haram, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in the West Africa (MOJWA), al-Murabitun and the Ansar al-Sharia groups.

On the report of the High Level Committee on the Post 2015 development Agenda

The Assembly endorsed the formation and the Terms of Reference of the African Group of Negotiators on the Post 2015 Development Agenda which shall be the single negotiating body acting on behalf of the continent.

On the deployment of the African capacity for immediate response to crises and the African standby force rapid deployment capability

The Assembly decided that;

  • In conformity with the provision of Art 9 (2) of the Constitutive Act, to delegate its authority under Article 4 (h) of the Constitutive Act to the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (PSC) to authorize the deployment in a rapid manner.
  • The Peace and Security Council of the African Union shall immediately report such deployment within 90 days or to the next meeting of the Assembly for rectification,
  • Member States which are Volunteering Nations (VNs) or contributing resources to an Intervention Force shall be represented and participate in the deliberations of the Peace and Security Council on a possible ACIRC/ASF-RDC intervention mission;

On the report of alternative sources of financing the African Union

The Assembly urged all Member States that have not yet done so, to honour as soon as possible their contributions and arrears to the Union; and requested the Ad-hoc Ministerial Committee on the Scale of Assessment to pursue consultations in an open-ended manner.

On the fifteenth report of the Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government on the Reform of the United Nations Security Council

The Assembly reiterated its call for Africa to continue to speak with one voice and cohesively on all issues relating to the United Nations Security Council reform and related matters; and underscored the overriding need to ensure that the interest of Africa continues to be maintained and safeguarded at all times in the on-going Intergovernmental Negotiation on Security Council reform.

The Assembly accepted the offer of the Republic of South Africa to host the 25th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in June/July 2015.