Hot Issues to Watch at AU’s 30th Summit

Since it joined the African Union a year ago, Morocco has been working closely with African states to address the continent’s pressing issues, notably migration, sustainable development and peace and security. The next African summit, the 30th, scheduled on January 28-29, will see Morocco present a new Agenda on Migration in Africa along with the Kingdom’s admission to AU’s most important body, the Peace and Security Council.

An Agenda for Migration in Africa

By giving the example domestically, Morocco took leadership in the continent on addressing the issue of migration. Morocco has thus spearheaded initiatives aiming at reaching a paradigm change in how migration is tackled on the continent. The guiding line is to depart from the security approach in addressing migration issues in favor of a humanistic approach focusing on opportunities and common management.

In his quality as leader in charge of preparing the African Agenda on Migration, King Mohammed VI, has already briefed AU’s leaders on the broad lines of the new agenda in a preliminary note to the 29th summit. The new agenda will involve four levels of action: national, regional, continental and international.

The adoption of the new African migration agenda, which will have a “binding” character on AU member states, will be a boost for Morocco which took the co-presidency, with Germany, of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, to be held in Marrakech in December 2018. The event will be dedicated to elaborating the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.

Towards an Increased Contribution to Peace & Security in Africa

The 30th African Summit will also mark Morocco’s accession to the AU’s supreme decision making body on peace and security issues, the Peace and Security Council.

Morocco’s ambition to be member of the most important body within the African Union was expressed by Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita during talks recently in Rabat with South African peer Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

The Peace and Security Council is the AU’s standing decision-making body responsible for the maintenance of continental peace and security. The council’s 15 members are elected by the AU Executive Council on regional basis (three from Central Africa; three from East Africa; two from North Africa; three from Southern Africa; and four from West Africa).

The decision by Morocco to join the council is boosted on the ground by an active engagement in favor of peacekeeping efforts in the continent.

The Council, chaired by Algeria’s pro-separatist Ismail Chergui, has been long used by the Polisario-proponents to take decisions detrimental to Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara.

Morocco’s presence within such a body will therefore act as a bulwark against the instrumentalization of the AU for separatist purposes as it will give the North African Kingdom a platform to make its voice heard.

AU’s Reform

The next summit will also see Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame succeed to his Guinean peer Alpha Condé as Chairman of the pan-African organization. Kagame will use his presidency to forge ahead with the recommendations that he submitted in a report at the 29th summit containing recommendations for guaranteeing the future of the African Union.

In this respect, Morocco, alongside Rwanda, advocates a transformative vision of the African Union that entails a reform of the pan-African organization.

King Mohammed VI, in one of his speeches on Africa, has described the reform as a “flagship project”, expressing willingness to support this upgrading of the African Union.

“Our institutional family must aim for greater efficiency and a streamlining of the pan-African organization in order to be in step with the expectations of African populations,” the King had said in a speech to the African Union leaders. For the emergence of a “New Africa”, he had emphasized the urgent character of such a reform in order to address the “enormous stakes involved and the immense challenges to which our continent must rise.”

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