Realising Africa’s Full Potential

My Vision for the African Union Commission (AUC) is founded on Africa’s blue print for development: Agenda 2063–The Future We Want for Africa, and an Africa destined for greatness.

The path for our continental growth and prosperity is no longer an aspiration but an unfolding reality because with gathering force, the ground has shifted and Africa today epitomises hope and opportunity. Seven of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa and the continent is steadily inching into the global limelight as a critical partner in global growth and development, and as a significant productive investment destination.

These are exceptional times for Africa. We have, in recent years, witnessed the tenacity, drive, grit and determination of Africa’s youth. Our youth create and utilize opportunities that continue to cater for the well-being and dignity of our citizens. Our youth are taking full advantage of advances in information technology and the digital age to curve out innovative and transposable solutions to lift communities out of vulnerability and extreme want. As the world’s youngest continent, our youth continue to define the future and will determine our growth and success. For this and many other reasons, I am optimistic that the pace we have set, as a continent, will not falter and that we will continue to work together to realise our economic, political and social transformation.

The promise of our continent has to be secured through a dialogic approach that encompasses consultation, cooperation, coordination and the faithful implementation of Agenda 2063. In order to fully implement all the aspirations of this vision, it is our duty to actualize all the dimensions necessary to fully finance Agenda 2063, both domestically and by leveraging our strategic partnerships. It is also important that we concretise and adopt a mechanism to ensure that mobilized funds are utilized to generate optimum results in all the outlined targets.

The vision of our founding fathers and more than half a century of progress necessitate upholding our common resolve: Every African citizen deserves protection from the unfortunate events that threaten our common endeavour to a life of dignity free from harm. I am optimistic that together we can continue to create a continent that not only embodies our pride and dignity but also a hub for peace and stability. This conviction is informed by the significant reduction in armed conflicts and internal strife that we have seen in recent years, the improved peace and stability, and the commendable progress in democratic governance. History has repeatedly proved that partial and secluded prosperity does not insulate citizens from the burdens of crises, war and conflict. Our common accord will guarantee sustainable peace and stability in all our member States.

The realization of these aspirations in Africa is intimately linked to the implementation of global commitments relating to the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement, amongst others.

The Commission’s central role is in enforcing the tri-model governance approach in close collaboration with AU member States, Regional Economic Communities, African Civil Societies and African Citizens. This role will be realized through high level engagement and visibility of the African Union Commission, at all global platforms. To achieve this objective it is my intention to nurture good governance and transparency within the Commission.

Furthermore, we will strive even harder to support our governments deliver social goods for our mutual development without leaving anyone behind. As the engine for building common understanding and providing strategic direction, the African Union Summit’s role is critical to ensure that we move forward, united and in solidarity, while acknowledging and addressing the needs of individual member States. The Commission’s role as an anchor to the Summit’s sacred duty can only be effectively realized through close consultation and decision-making. The pillars of our continental strength are emboldened by this critical union and cohesion.

My vision for the Commission is that of a secretariat that will utilize the current momentum secure Africa’s rightful place in the Community of Nations, and within a reformed United Nations. In order to fulfil this objective, I envision a continent united in both values and outlook, and whose transformation is decisive and inclusive.

Our transformational path is laid out in Agenda 2063. To keep this focus, my initial role will be to implement the First Ten Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063. As our ancestors instructed, “the worlds of the elders do not lock all the doors; they leave the right door open.” We have a responsibility to walk through the right door and do the right things right, by encouraging and supporting all AU member States to align their National Development Plans and Policies to Agenda 2063. The promise of Agenda 2063 will only become tangible through positive change to the lives and welfare of the African people and in our countries’ improved global development indices. It is therefore incumbent upon the Commission to put into place mechanisms to track progress and resolve to relentlessly pursue results while learning from our own best practices. Let us embrace the mantra; shared knowledge for common gain.

The successful delivery of the First Ten Year Implementation Plan 2014 – 2023 is fundamental to reinforce the confidence of our people in our capacity to manage Africa’s cultural endowments, diversity and natural resources. Consolidating these gains to realize Africa’s full potential requires strategic and visionary leadership from the next Chairperson of the Commission.

If granted the opportunity to serve in that capacity, my priorities will include:

(i) Making the African Union dynamic, sustainable and versatile;

(ii) Underscoring Africa’s shared values and common destiny in order to promote a more united and stronger continent that presents a common front in promoting and negotiating our interests on the global stage;

(iii) Boosting intra-African trade through strong Regional Economic Blocs as the key to broader continental integration;

(iv) Supporting the revolution of infrastructure in Africa by creating seamless connections through land, air and sea to maximize Africa’s potential in accordance with past Summit decisions;

(v) Securing social stability through peace, development and security, by presenting a united front against all forms of exclusion, extremism and international crimes;

(vi) Claiming the demographic dividend by scaling up investments in education, health, food, youth and job creation in areas that have potential for long term returns including technical education, infrastructure and agriculture;

(vii) Promoting inclusive growth and development by targeting the continent’s abundant natural resources and transforming rural areas into vibrant hubs of agro-business and industrial activity as well as turning urban areas into livable, greener and resilient spaces;

(viii) Addressing gender inequalities and lowering barriers to women’s participation in productive activities so as to enhance their contribution to Africa’s transformation and socio-economic processes;

(ix) Enhancing the role of the African Diaspora in the implementation of Agenda 2063, and beyond;

(x) Exploring sustainable ways of financing Agenda 2063 through concrete mechanisms that ensure optimum use of mobilized resources;

(xi) Supporting the free flow of information and ideas by augmenting inter-generational dialogue and decision-making, through the exchange of ideas, including traditional knowledge to reinforce creativity and renewal; and

(xii) Making Africa the destination of choice for foreign direct investment, innovation, trade, industry and tourism.

My vision to realize Africa’s full potential is informed by the great foresight of our forefathers reflected in the African Proverb “if you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far – go together”. The burning desire to forge an even deeper integration of this continent is clear in our peoples’ resolve to succeed together, and to create a better future for our children and future generations.

Agenda 2063 is a grand mission whose achievement will be the sum of many acts of courage, vitality and persistence by every African citizen. Today, I pledge to do my part and serve each member with passion, loyalty, compassion, selfless determination, alacrity and tenacity.

Nairobi, 30th September, 2016