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2 key issues expected to dominate the AU Summit 2023 agenda

22 African countries are either in debt distress or at a high risk of it, affecting the cost of living, jobs, and income.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki with President William Ruto

The 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly is set to take place on February 18 and 19, 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, bringing together leaders of the 55 member states of the AU.

As the organization marks 60 years since the birth of the Organization of African Unity, and over 20 years since the formation of the AU, the summit serves as a crucial opportunity for the organization to reflect on its progress and plan for the future.

According to the ONE Campaign, the acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation and climate finance must be at the forefront of the agenda for the AU Summit 2023.

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Kenya is a signatory of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which came into effect on January 1, 2021.

The country has expressed its commitment to the agreement and is actively participating in its implementation.

Kenya sees the AfCFTA as an opportunity to expand its trade with other African countries, improve its competitiveness, and boost its economic growth.

However, like many other African countries, Kenya also faces some challenges in fully utilizing the benefits of the AfCFTA

Despite the AfCFTA agreement becoming operational two years ago, the continent has made limited progress in its execution.

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The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the increasing threat of climate change have led to 22 African countries being in debt distress or at a high risk of it, affecting the cost of living, jobs, and income.

To address these issues, the ONE Campaign is calling on African leaders to prioritize the following actions:

  • Enable free movement of people, goods and services. This includes the adoption, ratification, and implementation of the AU protocol on the free movement of people across the continent, as well as simplifying cross-border management by digitizing administrative procedures and establishing one-stop border posts.
  • Improve the business environment by enacting and enforcing a consolidated national start-up law that de-risks investment and protects intellectual property rights, among other things.
  • Unlock additional investment for critical infrastructure by supporting the implementation of the G20 independent expert panel recommendations for multilateral development bank optimization and adopting the recommendations of the Dakar 2 declaration on food sovereignty and resilience.
  • Incentivize foreign and domestic investment to provide reliable and affordable power and expand road and transport networks, while also building resilience to the impact of climate change.

The ONE Campaign emphasized that climate finance for adaptation must be a top priority, as Africa faces a financing gap of US$41 billion per year for adaptation.

The organization is calling on high-income countries to deliver on their promises of adaptation finance, including the goal of $100 billion per year for 2020-2025, with a delivery plan for doubling adaptation finance as agreed at COP2.

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In conclusion, the 36th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly serves as a crucial opportunity for African leaders to prioritize the acceleration of the AfCFTA implementation and tackle the pressing issue of climate finance.

The ONE Campaign hopes that African leaders will take this opportunity to make the necessary changes for a more prosperous future for the continent and its people.

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