ADDIS ABABA- The outgoing African Union Chairperson and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame said that the joint efforts of the Union and Member States would enable Africa to achieve financial autonomy and mobilize sizable funds for Africa-led peace support operations soon.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres affirmed the commitment of the international bloc to provide more finance to Africa’s peace enforcing and counter terrorism operations. Both remarks came at the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of AU that was held in Addis Ababa on Sunday. President Kagame said that the relaunched Peace Fund now stands at 89 million USD, with 50 Member States contributing for the initiative.
The success showcased the fact that Africa’s collective force is in a good shape to resolve conflicts by its own capacity. President Kagame also expressed AU’s desire to continue the partnership with the United Nations, towards a sustainable mechanism for funding Africa-led peace support operations. Commending the recent peace agreements in Central African Republic, the outgoing Chairperson thanked the AUC and the Member States involved in supporting the peace process.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on his part that there has been a quantum leap in UN’s strategic cooperation with AU and the two parties signed joint frameworks on peace and security and a joint declaration on cooperation for peace support operations. Noting UN prioritizes three challenges namely peace and security, sustainable development and climate change in the partnership with AU, Guterres stated that the fruits of the two entities strategic partnerships are making a difference.
“On peace and stability, strong winds of hope are blowing across the African continent and the AU’s efforts to ‘silence the guns’ by 2020 are gaining ground and the UN surge in diplomacy for peace is also producing results.” He applauded the visionary leadership of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s President Isais Afwerki to resolve the two decades standoff that has been given a positive climate for the Horn of Africa.
The signing of peace agreement in South Sudan and Central African Republic have revitalized chances for peace and in this context of renewed peace, UN will increase its mutual support to peace operations in Africa. The Secretary-General said that African countries provide nearly half of the Blue Helmets deployed worldwide, including two-thirds of all women peace keepers and the majority of UN police. “Their service and sacrifice are always at the forefront and UN also is desirous of supporting African counter terrorism operations.”