Kagame to meet AU foreign ministers over reforms progress
Friday May 05 2017
Rwandan President Paul Kagame will next week meet with foreign ministers from the African Union member countries in Kigali to discuss ways of fast-tracking the implementation of the continental bloc’s reforms.
As the head of the restructuring process, President Kagame says that African countries need to move with speed to adopt and execute the proposed AU reforms in order to improve efficiency of the bloc.
“On the 7th of May 2017, President Kagame will be hosting the 54 foreign ministers from all African countries as well as all African ambassadors accredited to the African Union to discuss the way forward in the implementation of these reforms,” Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs ministry said in a brief statement.
President Kagame last month met, in Conakry, with the AU chairman President Alpha Condé of Guinea, his predecessor President Idriss Déby of Chad and the AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat to discuss the progress.
A meeting of AU heads of State in January adopted a wide-range of reforms to make the bloc more relevant, efficient and fit-for-purpose, with President Kagame leading the process.
However, there have been concerns of countries dragging their feet in putting in place legal instruments to support the process.
“We intend to review the implementation timeline and ensure that the new Commission has the resources needed to move forward at full speed,” President Kagame said during the meeting with the AU leaders in Guinea.
“First, we need to accelerate the decision to finance the African Union with a levy on eligible imports. Everything else flows from this and we cannot afford to get bogged down,” he added.
Some countries including Rwanda, Kenya, Chad and Ethiopia have embarked on the process to put in place a law levying a 0.2 per cent tax on imported goods, with proceeds going to the financing of the AU. Rwanda passed the law in February.
“The mood for change is already there and we have a clear roadmap. Let’s capitalise on it, prioritise the next steps, and keep up the good momentum,” President Kagame said in Conakry.
The Rwandan leader is expected to table a report on the implementation progress at the next AU summit in July this year.