Rwandan President Paul Kagame has officially taken over the chairmanship of the African Union with the tough task of steering the continental body away from heavy dependence on foreign aid.
President Kagame’s first task will be to see through the institutional reforms within the AU and the AU Commission to make it financially self-sustaining.
Kagame was elected chair last July to succeed Alpha Condé of Guinea and has since then worked with a group of experts to identify key areas of reform.
Delivering his acceptance speech as the new chairperson of the continental bloc at the 30th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Paul Kagame said that ‘Free Movement’ for Africans ‘is achievable in 2018’.
Free Movement, which is part of the African Prosperity Agenda, would entail the implementation of continent-wide visa free regimes including issuance of visas at ports of entry for Africans, he said.
The institutional reform of the African Union that is currently underway is essential to getting these agreements “fully operational so that our citizens can enjoy the benefits,” he said.
The Rwandan leader told the summit that he and the ‘commendable African Union Commission’ staff would need the full support of African leaders.