President Kagame today attended the 11th Extraordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly scheduled to take place on 17-18 November.

As the serving Chairperson of the African Union, President Kagame chaired the Summit sessions and delivered an opening address.

“The purpose of this Extraordinary Summit is to advance the institutional reform of our Union. Events on our continent and across the world continue to confirm the urgency and necessity of this project. The goal is simple: To make Africa stronger and give our people the future they deserve. I am pleased to note that we are very much on course. We have passed the halfway point and the end is in sight. But there is still very important work to do.” President Kagame said.

Other statements were delivered by Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat. The Summit agenda focused on the institutional reform of the African Union, in particular the AU Commission. President Kagame was appointed to lead the AU institutional reform process in July 2016.

This extraordinary session follows the 10th Extraordinary Summit in Kigali in March and the 31st Ordinary Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July. In March, the continent witnessed the historic signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), as well as the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons. A total of 49 Member States have so far signed the CFTA.

President Kagame also delivered remarks at the official launch of the Peace Fund. This included a panel discussion on predictable and sustainable financing for peace and security in Africa with Dr Donald Kaberuka (AU High Representative for Financing the Union), H.E. Thabo Mbeki (Chairperson of the AU High-Level Panel on Sudan), H.E. Pierre Buyoya (AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel) and Hannah Tete (UN Under Secretary General for the UN Office to the African Union).

In addition, Prime Minister Abiy held a dinner at the National Palace in honour of visiting Heads of State and Government.

Key AU reforms set to be approved are:

– A leaner commission with new procedures to ensure performance and accountability, including a merit-based selection procedure while guaranteeing regional and gender representation.

– The mandate for the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) is set to be approved, completing the integration of the NEPAD Planning and Development Agency into the AU Commission.