The Chairman of RPF Inkotanyi, President Paul Kagame, has called for support towards the African Union reforms noting that a more effective and efficient continental bloc is good for everyone, including international partners.
The Chairman is leading the process to reform the African Union with view to bring efficiency and effectiveness that will trickle down to the African people.
He was speaking at a public lecture at Brookings Institution, a Washington DC based think tank which conducts research on topics such as economics, governance and foreign policy.
During the session moderated by Brahima Sangafowa Coulibaly, a senior fellow at the Africa Growth Initiative, Kagame presented highlights of the African Union reforms process.
The reforms will put to an end decades-long challenges such as over reliance and dependence on external donors which has seen little in serving members’ interests.
“A more effective African Union is not only good for Africa but for everybody else as well. You may know that the African Union is mostly financed by external partners,” he said.
The Chairman added that the AU programmes are in the range of 97 per cent donor-funded, which makes no sense for anyone involved.
“Africa’s interests, including ownership, get lost; and I doubt that the interests of donors are being adequately addressed either. It is also unsustainable,” he said.
Among the impact the reforms are set to have on a regional and international perspective, are better coordination in addressing security concerns, economic growth and improved international trade.
According to him, the process would however require stakeholders (including international partners) to make some adjustments on how they relate to the continent.
“This will require some accommodation and adjustment in terms of how we do business with each other, but it should be seen as a positive evolution, not a challenge to the existing order.”
Integration of a common market which the process is set to achieve will among other benefits create growth opportunities for Africa and the rest of the world.
“Partners, such as the United States, would do well to take the long view, as Africa itself is doing,” he said.
Understanding the objectives of the reforms, he said will put to an end some efforts and attempts that have been seen to derail the process
“Efforts that we have seen to stall or even derail the reform process are counterproductive and should be reviewed. One concrete example is the attempt, through official channels, to characterise the 0.2 per cent levy on eligible imports as a violation of World Trade Organisation commitments, which is not true,” he said.
Some international organizations and countries had early this year written to some AU member countries citing that the move is not compatible with international trade principles.
“What should never get lost is that we are working together in good faith, for the benefit of everyone, and with renewed determination, to build a more stable and prosperous world,” Kagame pointed out.
The Chairman said that some of the progress in the reform process include the setting up of a reform implementation unit with the Office of the Chairperson of the African Union to drive implementation over the next year and a half.