27th AU Summit Opens in Kigali

Ousman Sillah reporting from Kigali

Rwanda is hosting the 27th African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government which opened yesterday, Sunday, 17th July, 2016.

This two-day event has brought together political and administrative leaders from across the African continent to discuss the strides they have made as well as the challenges to overcome toward a united, independent, prosperous and peaceful Africa for all her citizens.

In welcoming the delegates and participants, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, the host, said Africa should strive for unity and greater integration. He advised against divisive politics, citing the Rwandan genocide as one of the prices of division.

Addressing the political leaders, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), said Africa will make significant strides if the power of love overcomes the love for power.

She said Agenda 2063 is a framework of aspirations for the socio-economic and political transformation of the African continent and its people through the establishment of flourishing, inclusive and prosperous societies.

The development of this robust framework of aspirations marked one of the achievements made by Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma during her one term tenure of four years as the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) which has now ended.

‘The Africa We Want’, which is the title of¬† this development blue print, outlines seven key aspirations which should be realised by the African continent by the year 2063.

Agenda 2063, rooted in Pan-Africanism and Renaissance, is a set of aspirations which requires African political leaders and people to undertake commitments for its implementation and realisation.

The framework sets to achieve the following aspirations:

  1. A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development
  2. An integrated continent, politically united and based on ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s renaissance
  3. An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law
  4. A peaceful and secure Africa
  5. An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics
  6. An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children
  7. Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global player and partner.


Madam Zuma, who is only serving one term, said the framework document is the result of a comprehensive consultative process spanning 24 months and that it charts Africa’s long term strategy for realising the aspirations of the continent’s citizens over the next 50 years.

She added that it was in May 2013 during the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) when the Africa’s political leadership

“took stock of past achievements and challenges and rededicated itself to the Continent’s socio-economic and political transformation through a forward-looking 50-year framework.”

The summit also witnessed the launching of the continental passport for the citizens of Africa in a bid to strengthen integration and facilitate the free movement of people. This is another flagship project championed by Dr. Zuma and her team.

In symbolically presenting the first passport to the President of the African Union, President Idriss Deby of Chad, Dr. Zuma said this is to pave the way for the respective African governments to start distributing the passports to their own citizens.

She also paid hommage to president Abdul Aziz of Sahrawi who passed away redently.

Dr. Zuma, who has served for only one term of four years with her team of commissioners, is not offering herself to continue as the Chairperson of the AUC, thus opening the position for contest. Election for the AUC chairperson will proceed as scheduled and three contenders are vying for the position namely  Dr. Kazibwe, former Ugandan vice president from East Africa, Mr. Mokuy, the foreign minister of Equatorial Guinea from Central Africa, and Dr. Venson-Moitoi, the foreign minister of Botswana, from Southern Africa.

It is reported that the 15 member Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) have written to the AUC requesting for a postponement. It is also said that the West African regional organisation is considering putting up Dr. Abdoulaye Batchilly of Senegal for the position.

In any case, whoever is elected to this position must be someone with strong and recognisable Pan African inclinations to push forward the set out ambitious programmes such as Agenda 2063 which seeks to realise African unity and the integration of the continent.

The summit ends today with the election of a new chairperson and team of commissioners.