Rwanda to take up AU leadership next year

Saturday July 08 2017

Rwanda has been elected to take over the African Union chairmanship next year. President Paul Kagame, who is currently leading AU institutional reforms, will take over the mantle from President Alpha Condé of Guinea.

The AU reforms are aimed at making the continental body financially self-sustaining and independent, through a self-financing model to be implemented by member states, but there have been concerns of countries dragging their feet.

The Rwandan leader was not in Ethiopia when the vote took place. He was leading the celebration of 23 years since the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF-Inkotanyi) liberated Rwanda after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

READ: RPF confirms Kagame as its flagbearer

Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo on her Twitter handle on Tuesday said that Rwanda was honoured to take over the leadership of the continental body.

“The African Union summit now closing. Among its many decisions, Rwanda has been elected to lead the Union in 2018. We are honoured and express our appreciation,” Ms Mushikiwabo tweeted.


Earlier, President Kagame had briefed the AU Summit on the ongoing institutional reforms, pointing out that 10 countries have moved ahead on their implementation.

He warned that laxity and bureaucracy at lower levels were bogging down the reform process, urging countries to deliver on the promises and commitments they have made over the next six months.

“The reform can be substantially complete by January 2019, which would reflect the urgency of seizing the narrow window of opportunity before us.

This target is ambitious, but also achievable, if we work together with the same spirit of openness and conviction that has brought us this far,” the Rwandan leader told fellow African leaders.

Kagame said that the Johannesburg and Kigali decision to work towards self-financing were key to everything else the AU is doing.

He also pointed out that “the independence and self-reliance of the African Union is an existential question for our continent.”

He said that the financing decision should compel all countries to pay or even make sacrifices needed for the AU to become self-sustaining.

“I am glad to say that 10 countries have already started to implement what we have agreed,” he said.

READ: Minister: No visas yet, but Rwanda, SA ties ‘better'

Condone indiscipline

Mr Kagame, however, pointed out that there have been problems where some lower levels of the AU leadership have attempted to review decisions made by heads of state and cautioned anyone trying to alter what the leaders had resolved.

“There is a stubborn culture of going back and forth that I have spoken about several times in the past. We may need to find ways of reining it in, because it comes to a level that shows we condone indiscipline.

"We cannot continue to operate like that. We have to do business differently in order to ensure success,” he said.

READ: Kagame meets govt officials, AU experts to review progress

Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chair of the African Union Commission, called upon member states to implement the relevant decisions and commit to the reforms so the continent can attain financial independence.