The 21st Summit of the African Heads of States and Governments held at the African Union Commission (AUC) headquarters came to an end with leaders deciding to mobilize domestic funding to cover the continental body’s operational costs, 97% of which is currently paid by development partners. The leaders have also pledged to raise domestic funding for ongoing development projects throughout the continent.
The heads of states have also discussed and adopted several decisions during the two days’ deliberation, putting domestic financing at the top, according to Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of AUC.
“It’s time we look for economic sovereignty of the continent for the future,” said Dlamini Zuma adding that strategic issues such as maximizing domestic resources for development and infrastructure and self-reliance were top issues that the leaders have discussed. “We had critical discussions.” According to her, finance ministers of member states and commissioners of the Union are expected to come up with document details ways of raising domestic resource during the 22nd summit of heads of states and governments in Jan. next year.
During the summit the leaders have also adopted the budget of the Commission along with the strategic plan of 2014- 2017 which the current Chairperson of the Union, Hailemariam Dessalegn called, “growth trajectory” to achieving the continent’s integration and people centered prosperity.
“The formulation of new international development goals should be based on a thorough assessment of the MDG’s, taking stock of achievements and gaps” said Hailemarima.
The other major issue the leaders have deliberated was their firm support to the request by the government of Kenya urging the International Criminal Court (ICC) to drop its charges against Kenya’s newly elected President Uhuru Kenyatta. “We have come to an understanding that the process ICC is conducting in Africa has a flaws and degenerated into some kind of race hunting,” PM Hailemariam Said, and that the leaders “object” it. “But this doesn’t mean that African leaders are cooperating with impunity and crimes but there should be a clear process” said Hailemariam.
AUC chairperson Dlamini-Zuma on her part said, “ICC is not the court of first resort, it should be the court of last resort.”
Guns should be silent
On peace and security matters, the leaders have discussed current states that are experiencing conflicts and post-conflict turbulences. The usual host spots of the continent such as Mali, Somalia Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the two Sudans were top on the agendas of the discussion. “Sooner or later guns should be silent in our continent,” said Zuma, adding issues related to unconstitutional change of governments were also discussed.
As a major step forward the leaders have agreed on immediate measure to establish a rapid deployment force until the long awaited African Stand by Force (ASF) is established. According to Ramtane Lamamra, Commissioner for Peace and Security, South Africa has become the first country to voluntarily contribut to the rapid force followed by Angola. “We talked about every single aspect” of the establishment of the rapid force, Ambassador Lamamra said, adding the establishment will be within the existing frameworks of the Peace and Security Commission (PSC).