Kagame’s African Union reform team now in place

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Rwandan President Kagame.

Rwandan President Kagame.

Rwanda’s president has finally has picked a team of eminent Africans that is charged with spearheading reforms at the African Union into a more credible and self-reliant body.

The president of Rwanda was tasked to preside over the process to reform the African Union during the 27th African Union Summit last July in Kigali. The goal is to transform the AU into a more effective and self-reliant institution.

Kagame’s AU reforms team comprises five men and four women with diverse expertise in both private and public sectors.

The statement from the Office of the President, the nine include the prominent Dr Donald Kaberuka, the former president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Finance minister of Rwanda, currently the High Representative for the African Union Peace Fund, among other duties; former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Dr Carlos Lopes, from Guinea-Bissau; and Strive Masiyiwa, a London-based Zimbabwean businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, who founded and leads diversified international telecommunications group Econet Wireless.

Among others also include Cristina Duarte, the former Minister of Finance of Cabo Verde (Cape Verde), a board member on the boards of governors for both the African Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund; and Dr Acha Leke, a Senior Partner with global consultancy firm McKinsey & Co, on his AU team.

Kagame also tapped Tito Mboweni, the former Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, the first black man to hold the post in post-Apartheid South Africa, with Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, Amina J. Mohammed also joining the team. Mohammed worked as Special Adviser of the UN Secretary General on Post- 2015 Millennium Development Goals.

Other members include Mariam Mahamat Nour, the Minister of Economy, Planning, and International Cooperation, Republic of Chad; and Vera Songwe, Regional Director for West and Central Africa, International Finance Corporation, a World Bank affiliated entity.

Almost all the members worked in economic and policy development fields.

The team has already started consultations with member states on the envisaged reforms and is scheduled to convene in Kigali next week, according to the statement.

The AU is expected to wean itself of donor dependency by 2018. President Kagame was tasked with leading efforts to reform the continental bloc into a financial autonomy.

“President Paul Kagame has initiated a wide-ranging process of consultations with Member States in advance of his report to the 28th AU Summit in January 2017,” reads part of the statement.

During the Kigali summit, a new funding model was adopted that pursues to make AU operations exclusively funded by assistances from member states.

Under the new model, member states are expected to contribute 0.2 per cent of proceeds from levy on eligible imports to fund operations of the organisation.

Considered AU’s most ambitious undertaking in recent years, the organisation hopes to raise approximately $1.2 billion, annually, beginning next year through this new funding model.

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