DRC’s Tshisekedi unveils ambitious agenda for 2021 as AU chair

DRC’s President Félix Tshisekedi, who will be serving as chairman of the African Union for 1 year, has outlined an ambitious agenda for this 12 months. His top rated priorities include Covid-19, safety and the overall economy.

President Félix Tshisekedi took over the chairmanship of the African Union (AU) in an strange context, to say the the very least. Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, he was the only head of condition to travel to Addis Ababa on 6 February for the digital summit.

It was consequently in an practically vacant space, by yourself in front of a digicam, that the Congolese president explained he wished to place himself at the assistance of an “Africa of peoples.” He also expressed to his peers his need “to get [the] organisation, with all [their] enable, out of the conference rooms, hard drives of [their] computer systems and the perfectly-organised information of [their] secretariats.”

Pandemic and insecurity

Tshisekedi’s programme may possibly appear ambitious provided the numerous and advanced hurdles he faces.

On the health and fitness front, it is due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its financial effects which have largely slowed the continent’s advancement and even contributed to plunging some international locations into recession. This even with the fact that the African Continental Cost-free Trade Region (AfCFTA) is even now in its infancy.

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Postponed to January 2021 due to the wellbeing disaster, creating AfCFTA could need eliminating a lot of regulatory and political obstructions. Although the AU states (with the exception of Eritrea) have signed the settlement, not all have ratified it yet. The DRC did not approve it right up until the conclusion of January, just after a heated discussion in the Assembly.

The stability situation is also delicate. In addition to the serious instability in jap DRC, the AU – of which Tshisekedi is the chairman for the future 12 months – is increasingly called on to intervene in several thorny problems.

On the Sahel front, Tshisekedi states that not only do “the daughters and sons of Africa fall each day beneath the barbarity of terrorism,” but there is also the ongoing crisis in English-speaking Cameroon.

In Tigray, there is a navy offensive in between the Ethiopian governing administration forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Entrance (TPLF). Lastly, in Central Africa, “the peace and balance of elected establishments are [being] severely tested [by] rebellions and armed groups.”

Tshisekedi’s technique

Will Tshisekedi, who has promised to use his place as head of the AU to “silence the weapons” and to “protect Africans against and eradicate epidemic diseases”, seriously be capable to attain his aims?

Even though at the national stage he emerged strengthened from his wrestling match with Joseph Kabila, the head of state has been overseeing the continental initiatives spearheaded by previous AU chairman, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Congolese president has surrounded himself with numerous advisers and gurus in get to carry out these initiatives.

Faced with Covid-19, “President Tshisekedi’s method is basic,” Bestine Kazadi tells us. “We will choose joint action, and Africa will stand collectively to desire the vaccine,” she says. Appointed distinctive adviser in demand of regional cooperation and integration in March 2019, she is 1 of Tshisekedi’s most vital staff members associates at the AU.

Specified the focal place of the head of state’s business, Kazadi coordinates the function of the experts charged with helping the new AU president. “According to the experts, at least 1.5 billion doses will be necessary to vaccinate 60% of the populace, and consequently attain herd immunity. And President Tshisekedi is operating difficult to reach this,” she says, referring to the head of state’s attempts to improve the African Centres for Ailment Manage and Prevention (CDC Africa).

“A male of peace, dialogue and cohesion”

Another precedence for Tshisekedi is resolving security and political crises. With regards to this, Kazadi affirms that the president, “a man of peace, dialogue and cohesion”, will “use his know-how to carry all people together.” Tshisekedi has in fact sent a delegation to Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt in get to consider to arrive at an settlement on the Renaissance dam, which is poisoning relations amongst these a few countries.

The Congolese head of state has specific the “nine pillars” of his “vision” for the AU. These involve ensuring peace and safety AfCFTA “promoting a renaissance of African culture, arts and heritage” preventing local weather adjust dashing up development of the terrific Inga dam and fighting Covid-19. He now has 12 months to flip his words into actions.