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African Leaders Convene in Nairobi for AU Mid-Year Meeting, Focusing on Institutional Reforms

African Leaders Convene in Nairobi for AU Mid-Year Meeting, Focusing on Institutional Reforms
African Leaders and Delegates at the UN Complex in Nairobi, Kenya. 16 July 2023

Strengthening Unity and Development Across the Continent

Nairobi, Kenya – The vibrant city of Nairobi has become a gathering point for African leaders as the African Union (AU) holds its fifth mid-year meeting. With more than six African heads of state in attendance, the discussions are set to shape the future of the continent and focus on crucial institutional reforms within the AU.

The heart of these discussions lies in the institutional reforms that the AU aims to undertake. These reforms will revitalize the governance structures, decision-making processes, and operational mechanisms of the AU, ensuring it remains responsive, efficient, and inclusive in meeting the needs of African countries and their citizens.

The reforms seek to streamline and empower the continental body- an ambitious call for an organization often seen as toothless and donor-dependent.

President Ruto when making his address said the continent must capitalize on the institutional reform momentum to pursue the complete development of effective capacity.

He emphasized self-reliance.

“Over 60 percent of our programmes budget is financed by overseas partners. The demands of our challenging time require an AU that can pursue multiple urgent and critical interventions using internally mobilized resources,’’ said the Kenyan leader

But the African Union has long been criticized for redundant bureaucracy and ineffectual decisions.

 Reform Drive

Created in 2002 following the disbanding of the Organisation of African Unity, the AU comprises all 55 countries, with a budget of US $623 836 163 in 2021.

The AU has been credited with taking a stand against coups, sustaining a peacekeeping mission in Somalia, effectively brokering an African-led peace deal between Ethiopia and Tigray in South Africa, and laying the groundwork for a continental free trade area.

But critics say the union has kept quiet over rights abuses and relied on the UN or nations outside Africa to sanction the continent’s rogue governments.

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