Nouakchott, 1 July 2018

President Kagame, who is also the Chairperson of the African Union, today chaired the 31st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).

In his opening address, President Kagame pointed out that Africa’s reforms are about achieving transformation and fulfilling the dignity of Africa and its people.

“The future we have been preparing for is already upon us. The institutional and financial reform of our Union has always been about the capacity to secure Africa‚Äôs interests and our dignity. The business-as-usual approach cannot continue, and indeed, as we are seeing, significant changes are beginning to take hold,” the President said.

After the opening ceremony, President Kagame who also leads the process of the African Union reform presented a report on the progress and implementation to date.

“The Continental Free Trade Agreement championed by President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger is among the most historic achievements of the AU. An African Union capable of delivering a functional free trade area is actually the end point of reform,” President Kagame said.

Key achievements of the reforms include the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by 49 African countries with the aim of eliminating barriers to trade, the agreement on movement of people across Africa, and significant improvement in the budget process. The 0.2 % levy that will ensure the AU becomes financed by member countries is being implemented by close to half of the continent.

In May of this year, Rwanda became the third African country to deposit instrument of ratification for the AfCFTA and the first to ratify the Protocol on the Free Movement of People.

To date, Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Niger, Mali, Chad and eSwatini have presented instruments for ratification of the AfCFTA.