The European Business Council for Africa

African Union Commission End of Term Report 2017-2021


In this report, we take stock of the past four years of the AU Commission and make recommendations for the Union in charting the future. As we do so, we are cognisant that we built on the work of the Commission that preceded us. We have made progress, but there is still work to be done in realising our Continent’s aspirations and strengthening our Union.

We focussed on implementation of key priorities laid out in Africa’s 50-year blueprint - Agenda 2063. We are making progress, albeit uneven, in beginning to realise its aspirations. In the last four years, the African Continental Free Trade Area was signed, and entered into force in the shortest time ever witnessed for negotiations of a trade agreement of this size. Coupled with the launch of the Open Skies Initiative and the Free Movement Protocol, the potential to accelerate integration is great and should be capitalised.

Our Continent made some progress on the path to Silencing the Guns in the last four years. We made some breakthroughs on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border, in Sudan, and in South Sudan. We contributed to the conclusion of peace and reconciliation in the Central African Republic, provided technical assistance to the DRC, and supported the transition in Somalia. We revitalised the AU Peace Fund and mobilised hundreds of millions in support of our Member States’ struggles in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, among other regions, in the areas of capacity building, conflict prevention and peace support operations. However, the continent still endures structural challenges to attain lasting peace and sustainable development.

The continued and emerging threats to peace and security in several of our Member States remind us that silencing the guns will be a long process that should entail the concerted efforts of the AU, Member States, RECs, citizens and all stakeholders to commit to realise sustainable development, deepen democratic governance, and uphold peace and security. The re-emergence of military coups, civil unrest, and intra- state conflicts are of particular concern, which reaffirm the need to invest in structural conflict prevention, political dialogue, mediation and post conflict reconstruction and development. Equally important is the need to adapt our institutions and modalities for engagement to respond to violent extremism, cross- border crime, and cybersecurity risks.

Through the AU institutional reforms, we put in place mechanisms that will allow our Union to be more effective, efficient and more fit for purpose. We made headways in restructuring, improving and putting systems in place that will yield greater results, while abiding by principles of transparency and accountability. While much work remains, we are bringing the AU closer to the people and strengthening Africa’s place on the global stage. We are re-evaluating our partnerships and have worked to strengthen our voice and act as one. We have taken some steps forward in engendering our Union and making space for our youth.

This is not to say that there have not been obstacles in our path or that our work is done. Resource and capacity constraints, inadequate coordination, and the slow pace of implementing AU decisions as well as the AU institutional reforms can and must improve. Our resolve and commitment to address these challenges is our strength. Our work must continue in earnest, with renewed energy and vigour.

We end this term in a time of much disruption, uncertainty and unprecedented shifts in the way we operate due to COVID-19. We have had to adapt, reorganise and make changes to how we deliver our mandate. We have learnt that change and innovation is inevitable to confront the challenges of our time and are reassured that together, there is little we cannot overcome. We must come together to strengthen our resilience and mobilise and harness our capacities to reshape our world.

Together, united, we will realiseThe Africa We Want.

See the report here