President Paul Kagame has wished his Gabonian counterpart Ali Bongo a quick recovery from an illness that has prevented him from fulfilling state duties for about one month now.
Mr. Bongo was admitted in a Saudi hospital since late October this year.
“I should also mention that we wish our brother, President Ali Bongo a quick recovery and continued stability for his country, Gabon,” Kagame said while addressing the 11th Extraordinary African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on Saturday, November 17 in his capacity chairperson of the Union.
The two–day summit focuses on the institutional reform of the African Union, a task that was given to President Kagame, July 2016 during the AU General Assembly in Kigali.
The president extended on behalf of the African Union, “condolences to the government and people of Malawi and Tanzania for this week’s tragic loss of their peacekeepers. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the fallen soldiers.”
On November 14, eight U.N. peacekeepers and at least 12 Congolese soldiers were killed in a joint military operation against rebels in Congo’s northeast.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said 10 peacekeepers also were injured and one was missing after Wednesday’s operation that targeted Allied Democratic Forces rebels.
The president was also grateful for the lifting of sanctions by UN Security Council against Eritrea, the country in the horn of Africa.
A range of international sanctions imposed against Eritrea nearly a decade ago, were unanimously lifted by the Security Council on Wednesday, four months after the signing of an historic peace agreement with Ethiopia in July.
As part of the agreement, Ethiopia pushed for the Security Council to lift the sanctions, which concerned arms embargoes, travel bans, asset freezes and targeted sanctions focusing on certain groups and individuals.
“This action will contribute to the ongoing process of normalisation in the Horn of Africa,” Kagame said.
“Thanks to the leaders in this region beginning with Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed and President Isaias Afewerki of Eritrea for their courageous actions and the other leaders who worked with them.”
African Union institutional reforms.
When President Paul Kagame was tasked to propose the reforms, he put in place a strong team of experts in different disciplines to help him do the task.
They proposed among others, AU’s self-financing formula in which 0.2% levy on eligible imports would be provided by every member state.
Today, President Kagame and current chairperson of the African Union, is happy with the progress that was made so far.
“I am pleased to note that we are very much on course. We have passed the halfway point and the end is in sight. But there is still very important work to do,” he said.
“We would not have reached this stage without extensive collaboration and consultation between the Executive Council and the Commission, with outstanding support from the Permanent Representative Committee along the way.”
The president was thankful to all players in these reforms because everyone did what they were expected to.
“This is exactly how we should be conducting our business,” Kagame said.
The 11th extraordinary summit is the first after Louise Mushikiwabo was elected Secretary General of Francophonie where Africa endorsed her.
The president changed to French in the middle of his English speech to salute the AU member states for having supported Mushikiwabo candidacy.
“Excellences, je tiens à vous remercier. It was your unwavering support that brought Africa’s candidate to head the Francophonie, Louise Mushikiwabo to victory. This shows yet again that when we are united nothing is impossible for Africa,” he said.
Mushikiwabo will take over from Canadian Jean Michelle in January.
Meanwhile, during a closed session, Kagame said that owing to the engagement at the highest level, the union is getting predicted results.
“There has clearly been a breakthrough in the quality of our working methods and consultation,” he said.
For the president, this was also possible because everyone; from the executive council to the permanent representatives committee among others, did not take the task lightly.
“What this demonstrates is that efficiency and decisiveness need not come at the expense of continuous consultation and improvement. On the contrary, one is impossible without the other,” Kagame said.
As per President Kagame, Africa should keep the pace to achieve other objectives that will lead Africa to desired development for the benefit of all.
“We will need to put this spirit of cooperation to work to sustain us through the implementation of the Continental Free Trade Area and the re-negotiation of our relationship with the European Union,” he said.
President Kagame will this afternoon attend the official launch of the AU’s Peace Fund, an initiative to ensure the continent owns and finances its peace interventions.