AFRICAN UNION

UNION AFRICAINE UNIÃO AFRICANA

Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA

P. O. Box 3243 Telephone: +251-11-5517700 website: www.africa-union.org

Fax: +251-11-5517844

SPEECH BY H.E. DR. AISHA ABDULLAHI

COMMISSIONER FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION

AT THE CLOSING CEREMONY OF THE 2ND ANNUAL HIGH LEVEL DIALOGUE ON GOVERNANCE AND DEMOCRACY IN AFRICA: TRENDS, CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS

27 NOVEMBER 2013

DAKAR, SENEGAL

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Your Excellency, Mr. Abdoulatif Coulibaly, Minister of Good Governance of the Republic of Senegal Your Excellency, Mr. Pierre Buyoya, Former President of Burundi Your Excellency, Dr. Abdoulie Janneh, Chair of the Governing Board, Africa Governance Institute Your Excellency, H.E. Mr. Anicet George Dologuele, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Central Africa Republic Your Excellency, Mr. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakho, Governor of Sokoto State in Nigeria Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Distinguished Delegates Ladies and Gentlemen

It is with a sense of fulfillment and humility that I address you this morning at the closing session of our dialogue. Fulfillment, in that I believe we have engaged in honest discussions on the challenges that continue to confront the Continent in the terrain of constitutionalism and in the practice of upholding the rule of law. Humility, in that our engagements reflect that there is still much that we still don’t know, as we embark on the next steps on our efforts to secure the tangible applications of AU values, as embedded in instruments, such as the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. Just as this is the end of our dialogue, it is the beginning of a further journey that we need to embark on together. Your voices and the polite whispers on the margins of the dialogue, have to be a feature of how we construct and reconstruct our future efforts. To this end, you have my commitment.

When the idea of an open dialogue was first conceived, it was premised on the need to ensure effective and structured interaction between the African Union Organs, Regional Economic Communities and Member States on one hand, and civil society, academics, think tanks, women and youth groups, private sector and partners on the other hand. The dialogue has been shaped to facilitate the sharing of comparable experiences and lessons on how to improve governance and human rights within the space of multilateral policy and action.

I have no doubt that this dialogue has been able to bring together critical voices, perspectives and insights that would help to close, the often perceived gap between actions that are Page | 2

anticipated and the realities of what is possible. The ideas, expressed opinions and recommendations documented and un-documented, will inspire us as we engage in actions to further shape and re-shape the strategies and approaches of the Commission and indeed of the Union as a whole. Even as I make this undertaking, I do so with the realization that I, together with all of you, have to exercise patience, as change takes time and often requires that we sustain the energy demonstrated by all over the past few days. You will recall that you have committed yourselves to helping the Union to secure more teeth as it engages with the challenges emanating from the failure to uphold Constitutions and abide by the rule of law. This is a commendable commitment that you have all made and indeed demonstrates the wider value and hope that we all have of the African Union.

Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Just as I am duty bound to urge for continuing patience and perseverance for the journey we are embarking upon, I stand with you in the realizations that we need to act now, least we betray the trust placed on us by the Continents majority – its young people. In this respect, permit me to use this opportunity once more to reiterate one of the recommendations of this dialogue - the need to intensify popularization, ratification, domestication and implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. This, you have also identified as one key instrument necessary for ensuring that continental norm and standards are upheld in fostering constitutionalism and rule of law. At the Commission, we are committed to ensuring that this Charter achieves a much more impressive number of signatories and ratifications and also prioritizes the issues of implementation of its provisions at the Member States level. We are convinced that through the new African Governance Architecture, we will be able to support AU organs, Regional Economic Communities and Member States by connecting, empowering and building their capacities for implementation to enhancing the governance landscape in Africa.

A significant post dialogue activity for the Commission is the activation of Article 49 of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance which calls on ‘State Parties to submit every two years, from the date the Charter comes into force, a report to the Commission on the legislative or other relevant measures taken with a view to giving effect to the principles and commitments of the Charter’. It is our resolve that this report will assist in measuring progress and Page | 3

identify areas of support to bolster the implementation of the Charter.

It is our belief that using the instrumentality of the African Governance Platform there will be more coordination, synergy and cooperation amongst the African Union Commission, its organs and institutions in delivering on their governance mandates and be able to provide this report. I would therefore like to remind state parties on this commitment and call for the initiation of the process of reporting on progress made and challenges being encountered so far.

Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Commission takes very special note of the active contributions both intellectually and physically, of the young people who participated in the Youth Pre-Meeting to this dialogue and have also voluntarily assisted in various capacities to make this dialogue a success. We remain indebted to you and assure you of our commitment to engaging women and young people constructively in our quest to improve governance on the Continent.

Before concluding, permit me to acknowledge the immense support of our partners; the African Governance Institute (AGI), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International IDEA, and the German Cooperation for your support hosting this year’s DGTrends. I would like to recognize and acknowledge the contribution of the staff of the African Union Commission who have worked tirelessly to convene this Dialogue.

We thank our host the Government of the Republic of Senegal for the warm hospitality, high level participation and in particular thank His. Excellency President Macky Sall for opening this dialogue, and accept with gratitude his offer to share the recommendations of this Dialogue with other Heads of States and Government of the African Union.

Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you once again most sincerely and wish each one of us journey mercies and look forward to seeing you again in future as we embark on the transformative journey that you are all inevitably a part off.

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