By Salashi Tasma and Adis Getz
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
African leaders met on Saturday to decide on institutional reforms for the African Union, calling for these mandatory reforms for Africa to be able to speak in one voice on the international stage.
Institutional flexibility and independence, economic independence, the reorganization of the functions of the EU Union, as well as division of labor among the African Union Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are among the major reforms discussed in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
At the opening of the summit, EU Commission Chairman Musa Paki Mahamat said that over the next two days, the leaders would consider many options and decide on the future direction of the reforms.
The aim of these reforms is to achieve greater flexibility to meet the continent's requirements, Faki said, adding that progress has been made in terms of increasing financial contributions from member states in the form of contributions from companies as well as set aside 0.2 percent import surcharges for the union.
President Rwandan Paul Kagami – the brain of the reform document – said in his opening speech: "We are very on course and the end is on the horizon."
Close to $ 55 million has been collected so far in the form of import duties from member countries since 2016, according to Pierre Mokoko, head of the unit to reform the commission's implementation.
According to forecasts, to minimize financial dependence on donors, the committee hopes to raise another $ 40 million by 2020.
In a speech to the African Union conference since he took office in April this year, reformist Ethiopian Prime Minister Avi Ahmed told leaders: "The reforms also require accountability."
In a competitive and interdependent world, my father said that the Africans could not stand alone, and the reforms would bring the continent to the principles and spirit of Pan-Africanism.
During the two days, leaders are expected to make concrete decisions and directions to implement the reform agenda, including imposing a sanctions regime against member states that will not make annual financial contributions.
Gender participation in the union is another component of the reform.