‘Africa is Destined to Realise its Full Potential’

STATEMENT BY AMB. AMINA MOHAMED TO CABINET SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS DURING THE LAUNCH OF HER CANDIDATURE FOR ELECTION TO THE POSITION OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION  IN ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA,  NOVEMBER 29, 2016

Honourable Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Trade present

The Chairperson of the Permanent Representatives Committee, Amb.Cherif Mahamat Zene;

Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, Amb. Jacques-Alfred Ndoumbe –Eboule;

African Union Commissioners,

Excellencies Ambassadors,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

 I thank you for honouring our invitation to share on issues pertinent to our continent. I convey to you greetings and well wishes from my President H.E Uhuru Kenyatta.

I wish to salute the Permanent Representatives Committee and sincerely appreciate the important work you continue to undertake as you represent your Governments at the African Union.

The Continent is at a critical moment of identifying a suitable team to assume leadership of the African Union Commission and to drive our collective vision for Africa. It is therefore my distinct pleasure, tonight, with the endorsement of the Eastern African Region to launch my candidature for the position of Chairperson of the African Union Commission and hereby humbly ask for your vote.

Over the past few weeks, I have had the privilege to reach out to most of your capitals. H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Deputy President H.E. William Ruto together with a number of Cabinet Secretaries have delivered messages about my candidature across the continent. All our delegations have been received very warmly indeed.  On behalf of the Government and people of Kenya, and on my own behalf, I sincerely thank you for your support. We still have several countries to visit and we will appreciate your assistance to facilitate appointments.

My candidature is premised on the firm conviction that Africa is destined to realize its full potential informed by our forefathers’ foresight in establishing the Organization of African Unity. It was an act of courage delivered through great vision; promising to mold our destiny, in a better, freer, united and more prosperous form constructed on the foundation of shared values and principles. Among these shared values is the principle of respect of sovereignty, territorial integrity and self-determination of the African countries and peoples. These are non-negotiable values and principles, which must be upheld in accordance with the decisions of the African Union Summit.

It is on the basis of these shared values that I wish to pay tribute to H.E.  President Mohamed Abdelaziz for his struggle for self-determination of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. He honoured us during the 50th anniversary of our Independence and we stand with the values that he held so dearly.

Upon assuming office in 2013, in Kenya, we re-established the Embassy of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in Nairobi and have since embarked on deepening our bilateral relations. Indeed I am scheduled to visit the Republic soon.

Our proud organization, the African Union operates on the basis of established rules, regulations and procedures, that clearly define who we are, what we do and how to do it. Interactions amongst ourselves and with others are informed by this understanding.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the last four years, we have worked together on a common vision and shared conviction that we have a pressing duty to the African people to eradicate poverty and to position our countries collectively – on the path of sustainable growth and development, to achieve greater integration, to make a mark on the global arena, sustain the path of greater peace and stability and to build a strong and effective institutional framework.

This has been a great journey. We cherish the gains we continue to make towards promoting and creating a sense of awareness of shared values and the adoption of Africa’s development blueprint, Agenda 2063. I had the privilege to participate in the development of it’s Ten Year Implementation Plan.

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

Our transformational Agenda as I mentioned earlier is laid out in Agenda 2063. To keep this focus, my initial role will be to implement the First Ten Year Implementation Plan. As our ancestors instructed, “the worlds of the elders do not lock all doors, they leave the right door open.”

In this regard, we have the responsibility to walk through the right door and do the right things by encouraging all AU Member States to align their National Development Plans and Policies to continent’s vision. 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.

To successfully deliver the First Ten Year Implementation Plan 2014 – 2023, it 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 person elected as the next chairperson of the African Union Commission.

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

  1. Working with the elected Commissioners and staff of the Commission to enhance the effectiveness, professionalism and efficiency in the implementation of decisions of member states. This will of necessity entail working with member states to ensure that the Commission has the requisite tools, skills and resources to effectively discharge mandates assigned by member states.
  2. Re-invigorate the momentum for continental integration by championing infrastructural development, boosting intra-Africa trade through making Continental Free Trade Area a reality, and promoting free movement of people and goods.
  • Diversification of the African economies through the process of agricultural modernization, industrialization, value addition and beneficiation. By moving up the value chain, Africa would gain more from the vast natural resources that our continent is well endowed with.
  1. Tapping into the demographic dividend of our young continent by scaling up investment in education, skills development, innovation and job creation. This will require creating strategic partnerships with the private sector.
  2. 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;
  3. Enhancing the engagement between the AUC and the African Diaspora to incentivize them to contribute to the implementation of Agenda 2063 and their participation in the social economic development of the African continent.

The task ahead of us is well cut out. This will require the concerted efforts of all us, member states, AU Commission, AU Organs, Continental Organizations, our Regional Economic Commissions, and all other stakeholders including our partners. The Commission’s biggest role will be to harness the commitment and active engagement of all these actors. Here in Addis Ababa, it is critically important that the Commission effectively works with the PRC. The AUC and the PRC are like two sides of the same coin, inseparable and inextricably intertwined. Working together, these two organs of our Union can make a significant contribution in the realization of our Vision.

Africa needs us to believe in our capacity to deliver the best for our citizens. With your support, I am ready to play my part and I therefore come to you with deep humility I again ask for your vote. I count on you.

I promise to serve with zeal, dedication and passion for the attainment of the Africa that we want – “an integrated and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.”

Long live Africa and thank you for your kind attention.