The Directorate of Communication and Information (DCI) collaborated with the State of the Union Coalition (SOTU) in holding the launch of the My African Union Campaign (www.myafricanunion.org).
The landmark event took place Tuesday 17 March 2015 at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the presence of some African Union Commission officers, Ambassadors of African countries, representatives of diplomatic missions, international and national civil society organizations and African citizens.
Holding within the strategy for popularizing the African Union (AU) and broadening public awareness and interaction with the AU, the My African Union Campaign encourages more involvement by citizens themselves to act, do, speak out and take action on matters being decided on their behalf by their governments at the level of the AU in the form of legal instruments and policy standards.
In the Keynote remarks, Head of the AGA (African Governance Architecture), Dr. George Mukundi representing the Director of the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), Dr. Khabele Matlosa, described the My African Union Campaign as ‘an innovative initiative to give African governments reason high enough to ask their citizens to participate in processes that involve them’. Highlighting the work of the AGA and the DPA in tracking the implementation of key AU instruments especially the ACDEG (African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance) which SOTU is also monitoring, the My African Union Campaign provides a platform for interaction between the AU, member states and African citizens.
Speaking earlier, the Chair of the Coalition Governance Team for SOTU, Mr. Yves Niyiragira, explained that although SOTU is implementing programs in 10 African countries – Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Tunisia, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa, the vision is to expand to cover the whole of Africa.
Emphasising the need to progress from ratification of AU instruments to implementation that offers citizens practical benefits that improves their lives, Mr. Desire Assogbavi, Head of Oxfam International Liaison Office with the African Union, stated that AU’s efforts will only be fruitful with popular support from the citizens themselves. He explained that although the AU makes an average of 50 decisions at every summit less than 20% of its decisions are being implemented. In order to strengthen member states’ implementation, Ms. Rizzan Nassuna, a governance analyst showcased how the AUC through the DPA has developed draft State Reporting Guidelines that are intended to provide a framework for monitoring member states compliance to the commitments in the ACDEG as well as guide their reporting process on measures undertaken to give effect to those commitments.
Speaking at the event, Mrs. Habiba El Mejri Scheikh, the AUC Director, Information and Communications, noted that it is important to strengthen collaborations that enable joint opportunities and practical ways on how to position AU in the minds of public audiences and how to raise more awareness among all stakeholders, particularly the youth and the women. “The AUC/DIC is resolved to narrow the bridge between the African population and the Continental Organisation and to effectively encourage a sense of ownership among African citizens,” Mrs Scheikh stated.
The AUC/DIC is already promoting a campaign titled “I am African, I am the African Union” campaign that promotes African citizens sense of belonging to the AU and vice versa. My African Union campaign is also based on the fact that African citizens are mobilized to actively seek the AU to act on matters that affect them. Both campaigns complement each other because they both create an avenue for African citizens to be a part of the AU. And both present a good sign of the collaborative efforts to ensure engaged and sustained interactions between African citizens, member states and the African Union.
Giving an overview of the Agenda 2063, Mrs. Mejri-Cheikh stressed on the importance of consolidating efforts and resources and enhancing the credibility of the AU by raising awareness, exposing its work, as well as actively involving citizens in the promotion and implementation of the Organisation’s strategies. She reiterated full support of the leadership of the AU Commission through the Directorate of Communication and Information to the My African Union Campaign process so that “together we can build a strong Africa”.
The State of the Union Coalition (SOTU), is a coalition of civil society organizations working together to hold African Governments accountable for the ratification and implementation of African Union decisions. SOTU together with its partners are carrying out the “My African Union” Campaign to support citizens’ actions in ensuring that compliance on AU instruments and policy standards are done.
Specifically, SOTU is monitoring the implementation of 14 AU legal instruments and policy standards and publishing reports and doing advocacy work on the status of implementation in 10 countries across the five regions of the continent and at the continental level.
Source: African Union