Professor Abebe Zegeye
In 2016 African leaders decided that Institutional Reforms of the African Union (AU) was urgent and necessary given the role the AU is expected to play in driving and to achieve Africa’s Agenda 2063 vision of inclusive economic growth and development
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, was mandated by the Assembly of Heads of State in July 2016 to lead the process. President Kagame appointed a pan-African advisory team to assist him this process and the team consisted of
- Ms Cristina Duarte (Former Minister of Finance, Cabo Verde);
- Dr Donald Kaberuka (Former President of, African Development Bank);
- Dr Acha Leke (Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company);
- Dr Carlos Lopes (Former Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa);
- Mr Strive Masiywa (Founder, ECONET Wireless);
- Mr Tito Mboweni (Former Governor, South African Reserve Bank);
- Ms Amina Mohammed (Minister of Environment, Nigeria);
- Ms Mariam Mahamat Nour (Minister of Economy and International Cooperation, Chad);
- Dr Vera Songwe (Regional Director for West and Central Africa, International Finance Corporation).
Various studies and analyses of the AU had identified that the AU faced several major challenges:
- The AU is highly fragmented with too many focus areas;
- The AU’s complicated structure and limited managerial capacity leads to inefficient working methods, poor decision-making and a lack of accountability;
- The AU is neither financially independent nor self-sustaining, relying instead on partner funding for much of its financing;
- Coordination between the AU and the RECs is limited.
Following a review of the studies as well as consultations with member states and various stakeholders, the Reforms advisory team concluded that in order to realize the ambitions of Agenda 2063 and to ensure an impactful and effective manner in delivering on its mandate, the AU needs to reposition itself and ensure it has the requisite institutional capacity and capabilities given the evolving economic, political, and social needs of the continent.
The outcomes of these consultation was the identification of 5 focal areas as being key for transforming the Union and thus requiring urgent action namely
- The AU needed to focus on fewer priority areas with continental scope
- There was a need to reviews the structure and operations of the AU and ensure Institutional Realignment for better service delivery
- The AU needs to connect with African Citizenry
- The AU needs to become operationally effective & efficient in the performance of its mandate
- The AU needs to identify and implement Sustainable financing for its programmes and reduce over reliance on development partners
To ensure that the Reform recommendations are implemented it was recommended that the AU establish high-level supervision arrangements for the AU reform process, Establish a unit in the Commission to drive reform implementation and Establish binding mechanism to ensure reform implementation
In September 2017, The African Union Commission (AUC) appointed Prof. Pierre Moukoko Mbonjou and Ms. Ciru Mwaura as Head and Deputy Head respectively of the newly formed Institutional Reforms Unit which is tasked with implementing the day today activities to be delivered on the reform process.
Prior to his, appointment, Mr. Mbonjou served in various ministerial roles for the Government of the Republic of Cameroon. He was Minister of External Relations from 2011 to 2015, Minister of Communication and Government Spokesperson from 2004 to 2006 and Minister Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister of Cameroon from 1996 to 2004.
Ms. Ciru Mwaura served as Chief of Staff to the African Union High Representative for the Financing the Union and the Peace Fund and has also worked as a Senior Adviser with various organizations including the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID).
Head of Unit
Prof. Pierre Moukoko Mbonjou, Cameroon
Deputy Head of Unit