AUF, ADB & CIDA OFFICIALS DISCUSS DEVELOPMENT FINANCING REFORM
On 21 September 2001, officials of the AUF Secretariat, including AUF General Secretary Dan Kashagama, and AUF Director of Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping Policy, Albert Sharangabo, met with the executives of the African Development Bank in discussions about international investment financing for African development.
The AUF has asked the ADB to consider setting up branches outside Africa in order to integrate into African development efforts the massive financial potential Africans in Diaspora to raise long-term capital.
Louis Borin, the head of the ADB Private Investment Branch said that it might be possible to restructure the East African Development Bank in order to set-up the mechanism for a "window" that can organize investment funds owned by Africans living outside the African Union.
Already, private remittances to the African Union by Africans living abroad account for nearly half of Africa's GDP. However, these funds are mostly unstructured and provide only subsistence for millions of households. It would be more beneficial if these funds could be consolidated into comparatively large investments and long term capital to finance public projects in the AU and in African communities in diaspora.
This restructuring would involve routing remittances through a single low-cost international banking mechanism designed specifically around African community needs. The ADB and AUF have scheduled another consultation meeting in November 2001. The meetings were sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency and CABSA.
AMARA FORMALLY ASSUMES LEADERSHIP OF AU
The new Secretary-General of the African Union (AU), Amara Essy, formally assumed leadership of the AU in Addis Ababa on 17 September. Essy, a former foreign minister and UN ambassador, will oversee the transformation of the OAU into the African Union. He has taken over from veteran diplomat Salim Ahmed Salim, who has been OAU secretary-general since 1989.
Amara Essy was elected to become the first Secretary General of the African Union. The election took place in Lusaka, Zambia on July 9. Amara Essy has a one year term in which to prepare the transition of the organisation into the African Union. He will assume his post as Secretary General of the African Union in September, 2001.
Essy was born in Bouake, central Cote d'Ivoire on 20 December 1944. He is a career diplomat and served as Foreign Affairs Minister from 1990 to 1999. He also served as Cote d'Ivoire's permanent UN representative in New York. He was President of the UN Security Council in 1990. Amara Essy has is involved in the search for an end to armed conflicts in Angola, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Chad, Somalia and Liberia.
Civil society representatives from around the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) met in Kinshasa in late July to begin preparations for the inter-Congolese dialogue, rescheduled to begin 20 August, Congolese state television reported.
According to the television, stage one of preparations - the collection of information and the identification of resource people - was completed. Stage two, which involves drafting a document on the various issues to be discussed, will take place early August.
These issues include institutional reforms, the electoral process, peace and reconciliation, the management of the transition, humanitarian emergencies, as well as reform of the army, the police and the civil protection department. The draft will then be sent to the provinces for any possible amendment before adoption.
AUF CONDEMNS CIRCUMVENTION OF CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL
The African Unification Front has issued a press statement condemning the recent attempts by some constituent republics of the African Union to punish, deport, or grant asylum to military defectors, rebels and captives.
The AUF insists that the Lusaka Accord stipulates that rebels, defectors and captives must be handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal in Arusha. The Tribunal will then decide how best to address the defectors concerns. The states of Rwanda, Uganda, DRC, Angola, Zimbabwe and Burundi do not have the right to act independently of the Lusaka Accord or to usurp the powers of the International Criminal Tribunal.
AFRICAN UNION TO BE INCLUSIVE OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS
The African Union will have a significant departure from the operations of the OAU both in the context of the Pan-African Parliament, which is going to be an important body of the Union, and also through the involvement of civil society in the affairs of the new body.
CONSTITUTIVE ACT OF AFRICAN UNION COMES INTO FORCE
Africa is now officially united. The Constitutive Act of the African Union came into force on 26 June. What is left now is to make the official declaration a reality in the lives of Africans. The British Foreign Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs Brian Wilson said: 'I hope that the establishment of the African Union will mark a strengthening of the African voice in international affairs, and a leap forward in economic co-operation between African states, and between Africa and the rest of the world.
NAMIBIA & MALI SIGN PROTOCOL FOR AFRICAN PARLIAMENT
On May 7, Monday, Namibia and Mali on Monday became the first states of the African Union (AU) to sign the protocol setting up a continental parliament.
Prof. T. Maluwa, head of the OAU/AU Legal Department confirmed that two countries' ambassadors to the OAU, George Liswanso and Almaamoun Baba Lamine, signed the text at an official ceremony in Addis Ababa, the capital of the African Union.
The pan-African parliament is the legislative and consultative body of the African Union, will replace the OAU on May 26.
RATIFICICATION PROCESS IS NOW COMPLETE
The General Secretariat of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now awaits only "three instruments of ratification" before officially announcing the "entry into force of the African Union Constitutive Act.
"As of Thursday 19 April, 33 countries have effectively deposited their instruments of ratification. Four others, namely Benin, Guinea Bissau, South Africa and Mauritius, have also informed the Secretariat that they have completed their ratification procedure and promised to transmit the instruments very shortly," the sources said.
With the required two-thirds majority virtually attained, only 16 of the 53 OAU member States are yet to ratify the Union's Constitutive Act.
Two of the 16 "latecomers," namely Cape Verde and Ghana, have, blamed the delay on the renewal of their parliamentary institutions. The other 14, are Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Gabon, Guinea Conakry, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria and Swaziland.
The Treaty was signed by all 53 member States between the OAU's 36th Summit, held in Lome, Togo in July 2000, and the 5th extra-ordinary Summit, held in Sirte, Libya, early March.