Djibouti Ambassador for Ethiopia and Rwanda

His Excellency

Mohamed Idriss Farah

Permanent Representative

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Kagame - African Union : The Great Reforms of Hope 


What will we learn from the presidency of Paul Kagame head of the African Union? To answer this question, let us first recall that the Rwandan president had carved out, in view of the results obtained in his country, a strong reputation of reformer and modernizer. That is why he was charged by the AU, in 2016, floor on ways and means to carry out in-depth reforms on the operation of the organization and make proposals as soon as possible. 

Surrounding himself with the necessary skills, President Kagame presented in record time a groundbreaking and convincing report, focused mainly on the financing and operation of the AU. It was to carry out these reforms that he was logically named, in 2018, at the head of the Continental Organization. The Kagame report recalls that the AU has never had the means to achieve its ambitions and that its operational budget has always been 80% financed by Western donors. 

Sensitizing, in this regard, the member countries to ensure the regular payment of contributions, the report launches a reflection to review the scale of contributions of the States. The idea being, for the sake of balance, to ensure the contribution of the five largest countries of the continent does not exceed 40% of the total contributions. 

The report therefore proposes in a first one to save money and concentrate efforts in the following areas: - peace and security, recommending a levy of 0.2% tax on imports from each Member State for its financing. - economic and commercial integration. 
- diplomacy. 

It took two years and no less than five summits for the Kagame project to reach a compromise around its main proposals. 

But discussions are continuing on other issues, including, for example, the scale of assessments and the penalties proposed against those who fail to pay the duty within the prescribed time. But during this 32nd AU Summit, which has just opened its doors this Sunday in Addis Ababa, the subject that must remain on everyone's lips is the possible coming into force of the free trade zone. Continental (ZLEC), which represents a colossal market of 1.2 billion consumers. 

The ZLEC project was adopted by the heads of state in Kigali on March 21, 2018, and to date, signed by 52 countries and ratified by 19 national parliaments. It will undoubtedly be this historic initiative that will best define, for posterity, the year of the Kagame presidency at the head of the AU. 

The arrival of his successor, the Egyptian Abdel Fattah Al-Sissi, will veil the work done and will not tarnish the image that the African people will keep Paul Kagame. The reforming President will be remembered.


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