29th AU Summit: Key topics likely to be discussed



Amid the current crises taking place on the continent, from militia-war to widespread drought, the 29th African Union (AU) Summit is looking to address many issues.

Kicking off in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the event is bringing together some of the most important leaders and ministers from around Africa.

Young people: ‘Harnessing the demographic dividend through investment in the youth’

The Summit is themed “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investment in the youth.” It will feature a debate led by Chad President Idriss Deby and will discuss a breakdown developed by the AU Commission on how member states should invest in their youth.

Some countries have already launched programs focusing on the following sectors: employment and entrepreneurship; education and skill development; health and well-being; governance and youth empowerment.

Institutional reform of the African Union

Rwandan President Paul Kagame is expected to present a report on the implementation of his proposed reform plan for the AU, adopted by the Assembly in January this year. Delegates will assess what has been done and what remains to be done – according to the Maravi Post.

Peace and security

The chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, is expected to give a report on security in Africa. It should help identify the current threats facing the continent, especially with the recent terrorist attacks in North Kenya, Mogadishu and Cairo.

Other areas of focus are likely to include South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Somalia, DR Congo and Mali, as well as the recent global cyber-attacks and maritime piracy.

Budget and funding of the Union

A recent projection stated that the AU will need around 800 million US dollars for its operations, and peace keeping. The current approved budget falls marginally short at 782 million US dollars – so the Summit is likely to feature a discussion on funding strategy. It may also aim to ensure that all member nations do their bit in supplying and implementing the funding proposals.

Agenda 2063 : First 10-year implementation plan

The other main topic to be discussed is Agenda 2063, a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. It builds on and seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development.

A progress report on the implementation of Agenda 2063 will be presented to the Summit. Many have questioned the reality of the Agenda meeting its target, as it is largely dependent on peace. In the current climate in Africa, that target is looking more difficult to reach than ever.