I found it fitting to host this press briefing since the Media, as Members of the 4th Estate, serve as a critical link between Government and the general public. It therefore follows that the Media is an invaluable stakeholder in the campaign that we will be embarking upon.
The position of Chairperson of the African Union Commission falls vacant in June, this year, when the incumbent, Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will leave Office - after her successful four-year term.
It is important to underline that the African Union is at a critical juncture in the continent's development trajectory. The new Chairperson will take over in June this year with an onerous task of overseeing the implementation of the Union's newly adopted fifty-year development vision dubbed Agenda 2063. The Continent's leaders have since agreed on the First Ten Year Implementation Plan, which was adopted at the June 2015 Heads of State and Government Summit; and this will be an important launch-pad for the work of the new Chairperson, in respect of its long term aspirations.
My Vision for the AU Commission - I need to preface my submission with a clear message that I have faith in the African Union and indeed Botswana believes in the instrumentality of multilateral organizations, including the AU. That is the compelling justification of our joining the membership of the OAU (as it was back then) within just one month of our independence (31 October 1966). I am an agent of the sustainable transformation agenda that is geared towards Africa’s transformation process, thus unleashing her potential to become an effective and influential player in global affairs. As Chairperson of the Commission, I will provide the necessary guidance for program formulation and prioritization, driving the formulation of the strategic Plan of the organization.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, agenda 2063 is firmly grounded on the African Union Vision of an Integrated prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international Arena. In an effort to drive the African Union towards the ideal of "The Africa We Want", I recognize that I will depend greatly on the continued commitment and support of the African Union member States in execution of my new role as the Chairperson of the Union's Commission. Perhaps more than any other constituency, the support of my own Sub-region - the Southern Africa Region - will be most invaluable.
Furthermore, I recognize that we live in a world with daunting challenges which respect no borders – that no country, big or small, rich or poor can solve on its own. More than ever, we live in an era of collective action. In this regard, this vision for achieving an integrated, peaceful, developed, united and prosperous Africa is, in my view, shared across the continent. This is the dividend of cooperation that transcends the development aspirations of the continental membership, and a clear testimony to our changed mindset in political, social and economic spheres.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, a lot has been achieved at the African Union, and a lot still needs to be done. This is to acknowledge both the positive results and the remaining challenges that the continental body, and indeed the Office of Chairperson of the African Union Commission will have to contend with.
Perhaps what is of immediate concern will be the critical issue of the financing of the African Union activities. I am of the view that previous plans to have the AU self-reliant in its program budget did not achieve the intended results, partly because of lack of the relevant financing of the framework plans.
The AU Assembly in June 2015 adopted the decision on alternative sources of funding the Union and the new scale of assessment where Member States will progressively take ownership of the budget of the Union to ensure successful implementation of Agenda 2063.
One of my immediate preoccupations, as the AU Commission Chairperson would be to provide leadership towards rationalizing the needs and aspirations of our continental body with the minimal resources at our disposal. As the Accountable Official, it will be my privilege to ensure prudent management and utilization of the limited resources as contributed by Members States and development partners. Furthermore, I am convinced that together we can build a stronger, more coherent and more effective and results-oriented AU, and present it as a high performance organization. To this end, it is imperative to have an efficient and effective AUC human resource with a rich inventory of skills necessary to develop innovative solutions and approaches for the realization of our common agenda. It will be prudent to put in place targeted interventions to address any deficiencies in the efficient delivery of quality service, including capacity building measures to drive Agenda 2063.
In conclusion, I believe that I have the requisite skills, competencies, experience that will catapult Africa’s transformation process, thus unleashing her potential to become an effective and influential player in global affairs. The support of all member States of the African Union will be most invaluable for my candidacy for the position of African Union Commission Chairperson, as I trust that it will positively re-enforce ownership, commitment, attainment and implementation of the continental agenda and the realisation of the future we want.