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20th AU Summit : Analyses and Official Agenda

This Briefing has been prepared by Oxfam Liaison Office with the African Union

The Creation of the African Union (AU) and its predecessor the Organization of African Unity (OAU) translates the desire of African Leaders to unite African people in order to collectively deal with the multiple economic, social and political challenges on the national, regional and global fronts that the continent has been facing. Among them are the widespread poverty, devastating conflicts with their social and economic impacts, and numerous pandemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. The collective responses to these challenges have repeatedly affirmed the logic of unity and integration as formulated in the Charter of the OAU (1963) ; the Lagos Plan of Action and the Final Act of Lagos, (1980) ; the Abuja Treaty,(1991) ; the Sirte Declaration, (1999), and the Constitutive Act of the AU, (2000). These instruments stand as galvanising landmarks for integration in the face of Africa’s political and economic challenges. The current debate on the future of the AU is as divergent as it was when the OAU was established in 1963. The debate around the Union Government stared in 2007 and strongly fuelled by the late Kaddafi has lost it momentum over the last few years at the AU. Perhaps it is being reoriented to the broader concept of Pan Africanism.

In 2013, both AU Summits (i.e. January and May) will be organized around the theme ‘’Pan Africanism and African Renaissance’’ in order to “enhance the awareness of the new generation of Africans about the ideals of Pan-Africanism” (Assembly/AU/Dec.412(XVIII).This will culminate into the Golden Jubilee (50th anniversary) celebrations of OAU/AU on 25 May.

Given the on-going peace and security challenges that the continent is facing, it is difficult to believe that there will be enough space for a deep debate and decisions on Pan Africanism and African Renaissance in the January Summit. Rather the Summit is likely to be dominated by the conflicts in DRC, Mali, Sudan/South Sudan, Somalia etc. In addition, there are numerous unfinished businesses that need concrete follow up. These included the the intra-Africa trade issues, the effective implementation of previous AU decisions, alternative funding for the African Union, the effectiveness of AU organs including the Commission, and numerous social and development issues within the continent as the new Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana has been stressing in her recent declarations.

On the Summit Agenda

  • ‘’Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance’ : An introduction to be made by the Chairperson of the AU Commission
  • Conflicts and the state of Peace and Security in Africa : Mali, DRC, Somalia, Sudan etc
  • The transformation of the AUC to and AU Authority
  • The transformation of the Pan African Parliament
  • Elections : AU Chairperson for 2013, Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, 5 member of the PSC, 11 members of the Anti-Corruption Board, 1 Judge at the Human Rights Court
  • Creation of an International Constitutional Court
  • Pan African University

Key dates :

  • 21st – 22nd January 2013 : 25th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (Ambassadors)
  • 24th – 25th January 2013 : 22nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council (Ministers of Foreign Affairs)
  • 27th – 28th January 2013 : 20th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government

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