On 28 January 2018, President Paul Kagame and the African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat are expected to provide progress report to a close session of the Heads of State and Government of AU member States. These will provide update on the activities undertaken since the July 2017 summit and the steps taken at the level of member states and at the level of AU Commission for the implementation of the various areas of the proposal.
It is to be recalled that we dedicated the inaugural research report of Amani Africa to a review of the reform of the African Union. The report identified the various areas of reform proposed in President Paul Kagame’s Report and the AU Assembly decision endorsing the report. In its analysis of the various areas of reform, the report identified not only the various issues facing the implementation of the specific reform proposals but also the scale of difficulty for implementing the proposals. It also highlighted ways of addressing the various issues arising in pursuing the implementation of the reform process.
This update aims at highlighting the progress made in the implementation of the reform measures and emerging issues and adjustments in the effort for the implementation of the reform measures. First, it offers update on the operationalization of the entities that have been assigned responsibility for following up the implementation of the proposed reform measures. Second, the update highlights reform measures that are in the process of implementation and those reform measures requiring further decision from the AU Assembly.
It is interesting to note from the progress reports on the reform of the AU that much of the reform measures are not readily implementable and self-executing. As our first report pointed out, they invariably require further elaboration of their content and scope. And importantly, they need for their realization additional decisions by the Assembly on the specific modalities for their implementations. As presented in the table below, the report to be presented to the Jan 2018 Assembly not only elaborated the content and scope of the proposed reform measures but also additional Assembly decision on the specific modalities for their implementation.
Reading of the report on the reform process reveals that, the report does not cover all areas of the specific reform proposals. A case in point is the proposal for the revision of the oversight role of the Permanent Representatives Council (PRC) of the AU – one of the areas on which a number of member states expressed their reservation.
|Proposed reform measures||Our previous analysis||Follow up activities undertaken||Jan 2018 progress report on AU Reform||Our analysis|
|Clarifying the division of labor between AU, RECs, member states and other continental organizations||Delegation of AU’s areas of engagement other than those that are priorities to RECs and member states, agreement between the AU, RECs and member states on their respective roles and responsibilities and the mechanisms for coordination||a) Two meetings between AUC Chairperson and Chiefs Executives of RECs
b) Reform implementation office met with RECs liaison officers
|-Need for reduction, rationalization, & harmonization of RECs
-Consensus on AU’s role vis-à-vis its provision of strategic leadership to RECs, development of overall continental policies and priorities, continental norms and standards, supervision and coordination of implementation of continental priorities,
-Major difficulty in identifying agreed upon division of labour between AU and RECs
|-Requires criteria and benchmarks and would ultimately entails major legal and institutional overhaul of RECs
– Reasons for lack of division of labour include
a) the independent legal basis of the AU and the various RECs
b) diversity in the legal mandate, organizational structure and scope of development and integration of the different RECs
-Way out is to focus on identifying effective mechanisms for coordination and for the AU to negotiate a formula that is specifically tailored to the legal, institutional and political realities of each REC rather than seek a uniform formula
|Review and update of the mandate and structures of key AU organs and institutions||Lack of consultation of the AU organs and institutions identified for review of their mandates and structures; the necessity of review of AU legal instruments including the Constitutive Act and the instruments establishing those organs and institutions; political will and buy-in of member states||Initial recommendations have been developed in relation to NEPAD and a meeting was held with the PSC.||Options on the governance architecture of NEPAD are put forward.
Proposals on other organs including APRM, judicial organs, PAP and PSC to be finalized in the first quarter of 2018
|The necessity for analysis of the issues facing AU organs and consultation with the each of the organs on issues facing them and proposals for reform including review of institutional organization of organs as necessary with or without amendment of founding legal instruments of each organ|
|Review of AU partnership and the formula on participation of AU member States in partnership meetings||Review of the different partnerships, identification of options for change where applicable||Given the diversity of partnerships, the report proposes various formats that fits each partnership||-Questions around the role of the AU and the format of representation and participation of member states are duly clarified and a consensual formula is established|
|Conduct audit of the AU’s bureaucratic bottlenecks and inefficiencies||Avoiding repetition of the comprehensive review of the AU done in the 2007 Adedeje AU Audit Report and the 2016 AU Comparative Study on the Working Methods of the African Union and Other Similar International and Multilateral Organizations;||AU Report for the Jan 2018 summit notes ‘over the years a significant amount of diagnostic work has been undertaken’
|Proposal is to implement institutional reform at the AUC level based on ‘An administrative action plan’ of the AUC Chair.||There is a need to focus on the bottlenecks and inefficiencies identified in previous reports as summarized in the AUC Jan 2018 report and prioritizing and addressing them according to their importance for the proper functioning of the AUC including accountability for service delivery and financial responsibility; and aligning the audit with the proposed review of the structures of the AUC.|
|Implement Kigali financing decision||Technical and legal challenges for implementing the 0.2 import levy; lack of buy-in of the financing scheme on the part of not-so-insignificant number of member states; slow pace of implementation with only 11 to 14 member states so far reported to be complying with paying the 2017 transitional year contributions; disagreement over the January 2017 Assembly decision on the use of the surplus from the 0.2 import levy; lack of consensus at the national level on compliance with the financing decision.||
-Visits undertaken to
Ghana, Rwanda, Chad, Mauritius, Malawi and Seychelles
-Task force on financing of the Union put in place in the AUC
– Status of implementation of the transitional year budget of $65 million for the Peace Fund member states contributed $29.5 million accounting for 45%.
-With five other countries initiating processes for implementing the 0.2 levy 1) Ghana 2) Mauritania
|-Committee of Finance Ministers to be enlarged from 10 to 15 countries
the Kigali Decision was a directive which allowed for Member States to determine the form and the means of implementation while honouring the spirit of the Decision
-Use of surplus of the 0.2 levy to be left to member states
– the endorsed governance and management structure of the Peace Fund to be speedily institutionalized
-AUC Chair consulting on selection of the Board of Trustees of the Peace Fund
-Lack of clarity on the modalities for implementation
-the difference between the amount to be collected from the 0.2% and the actual amount of assessed contributions that member states are expected to pay
-Some major contributing countries notably South Africa and Egypt wrote to the AUC Chairperson that they will not be able to implement the Kigali Decision in its current form
-Only about one third of the membership of the Union are said to be at different stages of implementation
|Entrusting the Committee of Ten Finance Ministers with oversight role||Aligning and linking the work of the Committee of Ten with the PRC Sub-committee on Budget, Administrative and Finance Matters||-Two meetings of the Committee of 10+ Finance Ministers (August 2017 and January 2018)
-Progress on implementation of the Kigali decisions have been presented
|The oversight role of the F 10+ to be adopted with the format and scope of the mandate aligned with the role of the PRC on budget oversight
-draft golden rules
|-Clarifying the nature and scope of the oversight role of the Committee of 10+ Finance Ministers
-Defining the modalities for the relationship between the F10+, PRC and the Specialized Technical Committee responsible for economic and finance matters
|Strengthen and enforce the sanctions regime||Identifying and adopting the sanctions to be attached to non-implementation of decisions and delay or failure of payment of assessed contributions; establishment of a sanctions committee to supervise and report on the same||-AUC developed proposal on the revision of the sanction regime
-The Ministerial Committee as planned held meeting and considered the proposal from the AUC and
|-Ministerial committee proposed that a simplified mechanism should be adopted and revisions done accordingly and
-a revised proposal on the sanction regime be finalized within the first quarter of 2018
-Enhanced monitoring and reporting capacity at the level of the AUC either through strengthening the office of the secretary general or a new monitoring and follow up structure in the office of the AUC Chair
|– Achieving a consensual formula
– Establishment of a mechanism for enforcing the formula
|Revision of current scale of assessment||Risk of division on objectively assessing the principles identified for reviewing scale of assessment and resultant danger of derailing the implementation process||-Ministerial Committee tasked the AU to fast track the hiring of the consultant that would prepare the draft scale of assessment||-Proposal is to distribute the burden more broadly and equitably through the introduction of ‘caps’ and ‘minima’ while maintaining the principles of fairness, capacity to pay, solidarity and ownership.
|-Appointment of a consultant that will prepare the revised draft scale of assessment
-Provision of timeline on the finalization of the draft, its consideration and adoption
|Connect the African Union to citizens of Africa
|Identifying the initiatives that make AU relevant to citizens; mobilizing the necessary funds and institutional mechanisms and coordination for implementing those infinitives; consistency of assigning the implementation of such initiatives to the AU with the proposal for delegation to RECs and member states; and political will and buy‐in of member states
|Assembly at the July summit requested establishment of women and youth quota; participation of private sector and continent wide public goods and services||Proposed draft decision to
Set a new gender parity target date; ensure these recommendations become a policy upon which the Staff Regulations and Rules are amended to concretize the targets, timelines and actions required to further women’s equal access to employment and create a gender sensitive work environment, and provide for regular monitoring and reporting.
35% youth quota by 2025; institutionalization of the AU Youth Volunteer Corps; elevation of the division on youth to a directorate; inventory of continental public goods and services to be finalized during the first quarter
|Creating spaces in AU processes for the participation of various sections of the African public.|
|Efficient management of AU and review of the working methods of its Summit
|Lack of consensus on the proposed changes on some of the working methods such as level of representation at meeting of AU Assembly; Achieving consensus and clarifying on the implication of the representation formula on representation of member states in partnership summits; Establishing the practice of selecting the incoming chairperson one year in advance
|Decision for holding one ordinary Assembly session with the possibility of extraordinary session; the mid year summit as a coordination meeting with RECs and budget adoption meeting by the Executive Council subject to delegation of budget adoption by Assembly; a troika arrangement between the outgoing, current, and incoming African Union Chairpersons shall be established||On venue of Jan summit three options are provided – headquarter, venue to be decided at each summit or summit to be held once every two years;
Decision to be adopted on the format, agenda and participation in the mid year summit with RECs/RMs
On the troika –
The nomination of the Incoming Chairperson should take place at the January 2018 Summit
-Delineate decision-making roles with Assembly focusing on policy and strategy oriented matters and Executive Council on operational and implementation
-Decisions taken are properly categorized according to Rule 33 of the Rule of Procedure
-Ensure that resource implication of decisions are adopted
|The need for agreement and adoption of the troika formula at the Jan 2018 summit and the time from which the decision on the once in a year summit takes effect
-Finding agreeable formula on the venue of the annual summit of the AU
-Clarification of confusions on the ramifications of the troika formula particularly vis-à-vis representation of member states in partnership forums
– Revision of the relevant Rules of Procedure of the Executive Council and the AU Assembly
-Implementation of the decision making procedures and the proper categorization of decisions
As the above tabular analysis reveals, the various structures envisaged for following up the implementation of the reform agenda are in place. According, the Reform Implementation Unit in the Office of the Chairperson of the AUC has become operational. A Task force on financing of the Union has also been put in place. Similarly, the Committee of Ten Finance Ministers has been discharging its responsibilities.
It emerges from the process thus far that the AU reform implementation process in is still at the stage of clarifying the content, scope, implication and modalities of implementation of a significant portion of the reform proposals of the various reform areas. While there clearly is progress towards implementation, the level of implementation remains uneven.
In terms of the structural reform, major areas of reform that still require further elaboration and deliberation relate to those of the decision-making mechanism by the Assembly, the legal and institutional changes required for reforming of the various organs of the AU and proposals affecting the role of the various policy organs.
With respect to the financing of the AU and implementation of the application of the 0.2% levy, about one third of the membership of the AU are said to have taken steps of implementation. Of which the countries reportedly collected and deposited the 0.2 levy in an account dedicated to the AU are 1) Kenya 2) Gambia 3) Congo Brazzaville 4) Gabon 5) Rwanda 6) Cameroun 7) Chad 8) Sierra Leone 9) Djibouti 10) Cote d’Ivoire 11) Guinea and 12) Sudan.
In preparation for the meeting in which the two reports from President Kagame and Chairperson Mahamat would be considered, countries from East Africa region convened ministerial level meeting in which they discussed the AU reform. Similarly, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) also held ministerial level meeting. As in July 2017, it is anticipated that SADC countries would present common position raising various areas of concern on the reform process.
The first step is the firming up of the reform measures implemented thus far. It is also important to take the necessary follow up measures for the areas of reform for which the specific mechanisms and modalities have to be elaborated. This include, among others, putting in place the necessary financial management and accountability systems for the transparent and prudent use and implementation of the finances of the Union. In terms of fast tracking the reform process, there seems to be urgent need for opening up the deliberation on the reform process and its implementation beyond the level of Heads of State and Government.
As proposed in our July 2017 initial report, it is vital that efforts are mobilized at building a strong and representative group of champion countries from all regions of the continent. This may necessitate further negotiating and refining of some of the reform proposals enthusiastically adopted in January 2017 but are not actively followed up. These adjustments can be undertaken as part of the implementation process through some degree of flexibility and wider consultation that accommodates a critical mass of member states that can carry the reform forward. In this regard, the the AU can build on the clarification given and the adjustment made in respect to the 0.2 percent levy. Notably, the AU explained that the Kigali Decision was a directive which allowed for Member States to determine the form and the means of implementation while honouring the spirit of the Decision. Additionally, it is now proposed that the surplus from the 0.2 percent is an amount that member states are free to use for their own ends.