Africa Needs to Strike a Balance Between the Usefulness of Partner Funds and the Need to Preserve the Sovereignty of the Union; AU Chair
Statement of H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, at the 39th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council
Mr. Chairman of the Executive Council, Distinguished Members of the Executive Council, Madame Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Commissioners, Ambassadors, and Permanent Representatives, Chief Executives of the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to extend my brotherly greetings to all of you and express my joy at meeting again physically, after having been prevented from doing so for nearly 2 years by COVID-19.
May I also pay tribute to H.E Christophe APALA LUTUNDULA, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of The Congo, Chairman of the Executive Council, who has the heavy responsibility of chairing the present Session? There is no doubt that the quality of his leadership will facilitate our deliberations.
Mr. Chairman of the Executive Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the end of its 38th session, held in February 2021, the Executive Council had prescribed actions to be carried out both for the initiation of Institutional Reform and for the smooth functioning of both the Commission and other organs of the Union.
I wish to give you a quick overview of their level of implementation and draw, if necessary, the attention of the Council to some specific points.
The result of a work carried out jointly by all the stakeholders, the preparation of the budget of the Union for the Financial year 2022, was marked by a methodology of work that leaves little room for imprecision and uncertainties as to the modalities of its funding. Rooted in the perspective of the implementation of the flagship projects, contained in Agenda 2063, the Draft Programme Budget reflects the budgetary austerity criteria, as you have set them, which have been taken into account.
This austerity is marked, among other things, by the firm rationalization of expenditure items, compliance with the budgetary ceiling, the financing of supplementary budgets, primarily on the basis of internal budgetary savings, the convening of a single annual session dedicated to the consideration of requests for supplementary budgets, the rigorous supervision of recourse to the services of consultants, the pre-eminence given to the meetings held virtually, including the celebration of the various Days, the identification and the elimination of duplication, at the level of the Departments, the budget balance which harmonizes predictable revenues and expenses, without the inclusion of budget deficit pending uncertain contributions from partners.
With regard to the partners, whose significant budgetary support for the functioning of the Union we furthermore welcome, concerns were expressed during the consideration of the Draft Programme Budget. They focused on the urgent need to strike a balance between the usefulness of partner funds and the need to preserve the sovereignty of the Union.
The two components of such a balance have been identified as, on the one hand, the non-acceptance of funds from partners with conditionalities out of step with the fundamental values of our Union and, on the other hand, the financing from own funds the programs of the Union deemed sensitive.
Mr. Chairman of the Executive Council, Ladies, and Gentlemen,
The entrenchment of the practice of good administrative and financial governance within the African Union can only take place through the primacy accorded to auditing. This affords the possibility of early detection of dysfunctions and other breaches of regulatory provisions, but above all of putting in place corrective measures, the strict application of which reverses the trend towards impunity.
The Forensic Audit of the Commission led to the formulation of a set of recommendations. The pace of their implementation can be considered satisfactory in that their full implementation will be completed by 2022. The revised versions of the Staff Regulations and Rules and of the Financial Rules and Regulations, as soon as they come into force, will give a boost to the implementation process.
For the moment, internal control is carried out by the Office of Internal Audit, within the Commission, while the Accounts and Forensic audit, mentioned above, is outsourced to external firms. Strengthening the Internal Audit office would help institutionalize accountability by all organs of the Union, which will help root out the rightly much-deplored culture of impunity.
Structurally, the adopted new Departmental Structure of the Commission has started to be implemented. Three Directors have already been recruited and the Job Descriptions approved for the middle and lower grades have been finalized.
The recruitment process launched is taking place in strict compliance with the new recruitment standards and quotas. Due to various constraints, the initially fixed duration of the first phase of the Transition period will experience a slight delay, which will certainly have repercussions on the duration of the following phases.
Mr. Chairman of the Executive Council, Ladies, and Gentlemen,
We need to take a fresh look at the area of multilateral cooperation. The ongoing preparation of a Draft Partnership Strategy and General Policy Framework document gives us this opportunity. Let us clarify, with ever-better precision the nature and objective of our interactions with our various partners with a view to building the Africa we want.
Still, under the multiple threats of the terrible virus of COVID-19, we must continue to strengthen our Strategy of the fight, so well thought out by our political leaders and executed with proven professionalism by Africa CDC, the Regional Economic Communities, and the Member States. It is in this perspective that the consideration of a Report on the Operationalisation of Africa CDC is on your Agenda.
The combined effects of the terrorist attacks and the COVID -19 pandemic exacerbate the threat of famine and malnutrition hanging over our Continent. In an anticipatory approach, our leaders have decided to look into the issue of nutrition and food security which will be the theme of the year 2022. The Executive Council is called upon to pronounce itself on the Roadmap relating to the treatment of this problem.
The various Ministerial Committees have also submitted their Activity Reports for the consideration of your Honourable Council. I would especially like to mention, here, the one relating to African candidatures within the International System. We must work tirelessly for a consensus on the various candidatures so that they are not a factor of contention between our Member States.
As for the Report on the Follow up of the implementation of Agenda 2063, it will enable Council to assess the progress made and to determine the modalities for accelerating the pace of execution of the various flagship projects.
In harmony with the 3rd Coordination Meeting between the African Union, the RECs/RMs, and the Member States, Council will pay attention to the working documents which are the Report on Regional Integration in Africa and the Division of Labour between the Union, the RECs/RMs and the Member States.
Council will also have to complete the team of the new Leadership of the Commission, elected last February, through the election and appointment of the two remaining Commissioners, among other elections on the Agenda.
Excellencies, Ladies, and Gentlemen,
I will take the floor as you deliberate on items on your Agenda to provide clarifications or, if necessary, answer some specific questions.
As we await this moment in your deliberations, I wish you full success in your deliberations and thank you for your kind attention.
source African Union