ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- The 20th extraordinary session of the African Union (AU) Executive Committee on Wednesday kicked off at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, ahead of the heads of state summit scheduled for Nov. 17-18.
In their two-day meeting, foreign ministers of the 55-member pan-African Union are expected to consider the draft agenda, decisions and declarations by the session of the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) held from Nov. 5 to 6 focusing on AU institutional reform, AU Development Agency (AUDA), and financing the Union.
In his opening remarks, Moussa Faki Mahamt, Chairperson of the AU Commission, noted that the Executive Council session being held within the framework of the AU extraordinary summit came at a time when there are progresses on the continent and also pressing issues at both international and continental level.
He underlined the need to enhance the efficiency of the Union to effectively deal with development initiatives and multifaceted challenges faced by the continent.
Chairing the session, Rwandan Foreign Minister Richard Sezibera reiterated that self-financing the Union in a sustainable and predictable manner is key in the implementation of the reform program.
He underlined the need to create the necessary growth with the ratification of the continental free trade area (AfCFTA), and by honoring the financial obligations, including by adopting the 0.2 percent levy through national legislative bodies.
"An AU process goes beyond the Commission alone, even if it has been the predominant focus of our talks this year. We know that the entire institutional architecture of our Union has to be addressed," he said.
"Our work over the next two days will be demanding, but we can aim to complete our Executive Council session with clear recommendations to our leaders on the AU Commission reforms, AU development agency mandate, and proposals on the division of labor among key African institutional stakeholders," he added.