Corruption major hurdle for African independence, says AU's Mahamat

AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat says if African States manage to stop corruption, there would be no need for external assistance.

“The figures in different reports of experts show that the resources deviated from Africa through corruption, if they were to be invested in development, would avert and avoid us relying on external assistance…” said Mahamat.

Mahamat was speaking at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union, which kicked-off on Thursday. It is a precursor to the 30th AU Summit scheduled for 28 - 29 January.

President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi, will attend the summit.

Before the summit, Minister Muthambi will attend the Focal Point meeting taking place today. She will also attend the summit of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) tomorrow. The Minister will attend in her capacity as South Africa’s National Focal Point on APRM. She also represents Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the APRM Steering Committee.

The Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council took place under the theme ‘Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation’.

According to the report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, $50 billion a year is lost to corruption, accompanied by illicit financial flows.

AU must work towards self-financing

Bearing the theme in mind, the AU Chairperson said Member States can still win the fight against corruption.

Mahamat encouraged AU members to look towards self-financing.

He commended the quality work done by the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC), with a view to establish appropriate conditions conducive to the success of this the Ordinary Session.

He commended the encouraging level of contribution to the Peace Fund aimed at consolidating peace efforts within the continent.

“If we maintain this trend of increasing interest by the Member States willing to contribute substantively to peace keeping in Africa, by 2020, the AU will be able to finance itself 100%,” said Mahamat.

He stressed that it is an issue of dignity and decision making sovereignty.

“Without its independence, Africa is nothing. With its independence, it can be everything” said Mahamat.

The Chairperson of the Executive Council, the Republic of Guinea’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mamadi Touré, backed Mahamat on the need for the AU to be self-reliant. He stressed the need for the council to accelerate the implementation of the AU financing and the Continental Free Trade Area.

Projects to be launched at AU Summit

In closing off the session, the Mahamat announced three strategic flagship projects will be launched during the Summit. These are:

The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA);
The Free Movement of Persons and Goods and
Single Market and Liberalisation of Air Transport in Africa.

He said that all these projects call for political mobilisation, expertise, talent, intelligence and motivation.

In its deliberations over the coming two days, the Executive Council is expected to discuss the AU budget, review various reports, consider the draft decisions of the Assembly as well as prepare the agenda of the Assembly among other matters.

The Executive Council's adoption of the various decisions and declarations would be forwarded to the AU Assembly of the Heads of State.

– SAnews.gov.za