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AU can unleash Africa’s mighty potential

Monday December 19 2016

President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulates Foreign

President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulates Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed at State House, Nairobi, on October 3, 2016 on her nomination for the position of African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson. PHOTO | PSCU 

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Africa is the cradle of mankind. It is also the home of the youngest population in the world. We have a historic opportunity to realise the potential of our continent in sharing the prosperity we have earned, enhancing economic growth and promoting and entrenching democratic ideals.

The African Union Commission must provide leadership. As chairperson, I believe we can drive an agenda that realises a common vision of cooperation, collaboration, and committed leadership. These ideals are aptly captured and envisaged in Agenda 2063 of the AU.

The Agenda 2063 blueprint has a clear roadmap for its implementation. One of the critical areas is achieving the synergy of member countries and collaboration with the eight regional economic groupings and AU’s strategic international partners. It is no longer tenable to keep talking of our great potential; rather, it is time to realise it for the benefit of present and future generations.

I am also convinced that the time is nigh to make the African continent not just visible, but able to be heard and respected on the global scene. For this to happen, Africa must take greater responsibility for the financing of its development and programmes.

There is no doubt that domestic resource mobilisation will be the assured strategic complement to foreign investment and official development assistance. What then remains is focused leadership at the AUC. This is one of my propositions as chairperson.

In increasing the financial resources available internally, we have to harness our blue economy and fast-track the mining industry. Africa has to build capacity for its youthful population. Women and youth must play a meaningful role in Africa’s growth and development, especially in the areas of agriculture and ICT.


The role of women and youth remains a great asset in realising that objective. We should be talking of “human vectors” in Africa, taking measures to harness the talents and human capacity of each one and channelling it into one indomitable human force whose aim is to resolve the continent’s challenges.

We must take concrete steps to realise the ideals of Pan-Africanism and African renaissance that have remained elusive. For this to happen, we must fast-track the rationalisation of regional economic communities, which has been on the AU agenda over the past decade.

Only this will give African unity real meaning. Political instability is the first enemy of individual and family security. With the AUC in the lead, and in partnership with the international community, we will continue winding down cases of domestic political instability more vigorously than we have done in the past.

Africa must make its cultural diversity a cause for celebration rather than a perpetual curse for division and strife. Such unity in diversity must be founded on peace, security, and development that confers wellbeing and decent livelihoods to the majority of the people.

Our continent has made great strides in reducing poverty and expanding access to education and better health. We must invest more in agriculture, develop agro-processing, increase Africa’s global market share of the goods we produce, and attain collective food security.

We must remain in partnership with the international community. We must deal with the effects of climate change because, although we contribute the least to the harmful green house gases, we remain the most vulnerable from the effects of global warming.

Thus, united by the vision of an independent Africa, working for better lives for all its people, it is now time for the AUC to realise that dream. There is a light at the end of the tunnel for Africa, a light of transformative leadership harnessed at the AUC secretariat.

Ms Mohamed is the CS for Foreign Affairs and International Trade and a candidate for chairperson of the African Union Commission.