The African Union Summit 2024 will examine how the continent can maintain momentum in addressing peace and security issues, regional integration, and development. The annual convening of African leaders will interrogate the progress made in addressing the worrying security situation and conflicts in a few of its member states and proffer recommendations on innovative ways to sustainably address the crises in a bid to return to peace. The 47th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) kicked off from the 15th to the 26th of January 2024.

While addressing the PRC, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, highlighted the conflicts in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), noting that these conflicts, compounded with a fragile global situation, call for more action. He stated, “These different conflicts and many other issues on a global scale enable us to take stock of the fragmentation of the world. Africa’s only recourse in the face of the challenges of our time is its unity and solidarity. A unity that we build with perseverance and tolerance, in a cooperative effort that transcends particularities, neutralizes considerations contrary to the general interest, and constantly draws inspiration from mutual understanding.”

Amb echoed his sentiments. Youssouf Mondoha Assoumani, Permanent Representative of the Union of Comoros to the African Union and Chairperson of the PRC called for unity in addressing the crisis that continues to aggravate the suffering of the citizenry. He stated, “I would like to invite you to share with me a special thought for all those who have left us, victims of the theatres of wars, which are raging here and there throughout the world, but also to all those who continue to suffer, whatever the source or origin of their ills. Let us together make the wish for a world of peace, a world of solidarity, a world of tolerance where the only weapon would be the weapon of dialogue, for a harmonious living together.”

At the same time, H.E. Faki called for a humanitarian ceasefire in Palestine and challenged the international community to give concrete form to the two-state solution as a resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. “The conflict is unfolding with indescribable intensity, leading to humanitarian tragedies of an unprecedented magnitude, characterized by flagrant contempt of international law and international humanitarian law. The shelling of Palestinian civilians, the systematic destruction of their lives, their means of existence, the trivialization of death, all these anomalies combine into a tragedy that has lasted for a hundred days already. This unprecedented tragedy shakes up the African conscience.”

Africa’s’ integration agenda is on course, with the implementation of several continental and regional initiatives and projects, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area and the visa openness of African countries, allowing for ease of trading and movement across the continent. Though challenges remain, the successful implementation of these efforts will contribute to sustainable growth and development on the continent and, subsequently, a realization of the goals of Africa’s’ development blueprint- Agenda 2063. The PRC will evaluate the implementation of the First 10-year plan of Agenda 2063. “In the course of our work, we will have to examine, on the one hand, the reports of the bodies and subcommittees, and on the other hand, to consider two of our major projects, namely the reform of our organization and the evaluation of the 1st Ten-Year Plan of Agenda 2063, which will open the launch of our Second Ten-Year Plan of Agenda 2063”, Amb. Youssouf noted to his fellow ambassadors attending the meeting. Read the complete statement here.

In 2024, the African Union is set to pay special attention to education and training with the theme of the year focusing on educating an Africa fit for the 21st century: building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, qualitative, lifelong, and relevant learning for Africa. H.E. Faki underscored that success in the education sector will have significant knock-on effects on industries such as security, population growth control, the empowerment of women and girls, agriculture, digitalization, and migration, among others. “Properly conducted and implemented in an orderly manner, educational reforms will reverse the trend towards poverty and enhance the attractiveness of Africa in terms of investment and, therefore, the creation of prosperity. Our theme for the Year 2024 is devoted to pondering in-depth education reform in Africa, with the prospect of training young people endowed with intellectual, scientific, and ethical capacities to serve the transformation of our continent to make it a comfortable and productive living space.” Read the complete statement here.

The PRC is mandated to conduct the day-to-day business of the African Union (AU) on behalf of the Assembly and Executive Council. It reports to the Executive Council and prepares the Council’s’ work. The Executive Council (Ministerial Session) is scheduled for 14th to 15th February 2024 and will be followed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the 17th and 18th February 2024.

During its eleven days session, the PRC will also deliberate on various issues of continental priority, including the progress of the institutional and financial reforms of the Union, which include the operationalization of the African Union Peace Fund; the Panel of Eminent Africans to oversee the pre-selection of candidatures for Members of the Commission ahead of the upcoming AU Commission elections; the progress report on the implementation of the AfCFTA as the theme of the year 2023; progress on the operationalization of the Africa CDC, and the establishment and operationalization of the African Medicines Agency (AMA), among others.

The setting will also look at several reports by AU organs and specialized agencies as well as reports of the various sub-committees of the African Union looking into matters of multilateral cooperation, Human Rights and Governance Refugees, Returnees, and Internal Persons’s Economic and Trade Matters, among others. The reports of the various Specialized Technical Committees of the AU focus on thematic areas on Gender Equality and Women’s’ Empowerment; Education, Science, and Technology; Agriculture, Rural Development Water, and Environment; Transport, regional Infrastructure & Energy; Justice and Legal Affairs, among others.