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African Union must reform to stay relevant - Nigeria's Buhari

Global Feb 07, 2021 17:00
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© Reuters.

By Felix Onuah
ABUJA, Feb 7 (Reuters) - The African Union must conduct a
comprehensive reform if it is to stay relevant, Nigerian
President Muhammadu Buhari said at the close of the bloc's
two-day summit on Sunday.
Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation and the largest
economy on the continent, making it an influential member of the
55-nation bloc that was formed to promote international
cooperation and harmonise member states' policies.
The bloc decided in 2016 it needed to work on changes to
make it more nimble, focused and accountable, putting Rwanda's
President Paul Kagame in charge of the process.
"Global realities demand that the AU be overhauled, if it
must remain relevant in intergovernmental processes," Buhari
said in a statement at the conclusion of the virtual summit.
"Nigeria demands a truly reformed, efficient and effective
AU Commission, one that is fully committed to the discharge of
its duties and responsibilities."
Buhari did not outline any specific changes he envisaged for
the bloc that also has a peacekeeping mission that enables it to
send forces to member states and has secured millions of shots
of COVID-19 vaccines for the continent. In a report during the summit, Kagame said the AU needed to
overhaul its judicial branch, the pan-African parliament and its
commission structures.
He said a division of labour with the patchwork of regional
economic communities that have sprung up, sometimes overlapping,
across the continent was overdue.
"I ask the incoming commission to give priority attention to
these items, so that they are completed this year, without
fail," Kagame said.
He also called for changes that he said would strengthen
African healthcare systems, including by ranking nations
according to service, rather than per-capita spending, and the
creation of regional platforms to support member states in
increasing domestic health financing.

African Union must reform to stay relevant - Nigeria's Buhari
 

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