Recently, Paul Kagame was elected the new chairperson of the African Union for the year 2018. His vision for Africa has been crystal-clear. In building Africa’s wealth, African unity and integration are essential elements needed.
In his acceptance speech, Kagame said, "Our people deserve a brighter future. Their sacrifice and hard work should be rewarded with better lives for families and communities". In an African context, this is a message that resonates with many people. It sounds apt coming from the Rwandan president.
With Kagame being a known, strong advocate for pan African unity, his election as the new chairperson comes at the right time, a time when what Africa needs the most is unity. Kagame has also been a strong force for the reform of the African Union. It is undoubted that his election is befitting.
Kagame has pledged himself to the task at hand by accepting his role as the new chairperson. He said, “It is a solemn honour, to accept the call to serve our Union. Thank you for your double trust. First as the leader of the reform process and now as the leader of our Union. I promise to do this with you and do the best job I can. Obviously, I will need your full support.” It is clear here that Mr. Kagame admits the fact that his dream for a united and integrated Africa will remain a pipe dream if he does not get the full support from fellow Africans. His vision is a sum-total of collective effort for it to come to fruition, and for Africa to enjoy her wealth.
During his 12 months in office as AU chairman, Mr Kagame hopes to ensure that the organisation becomes self-funded after a decision was adopted that all member states implement a 0.2 per cent levy on eligible imports to finance the African Union.
The AU launched the Single African Air Transport Market which would open the air spaces of many countries and possibly slashing air transport fares by 30%. Last year the AU passport was launched in Rwanda, although it is still undergoing a trial process and restricted to Presidents.
These are some of the areas that Mr. Kagame will channel his energy towards strengthening them, in achieving a prosperous Africa as per his dreams. To the youths, his message was clear as well. “We cannot build Africa without you.” It goes on to highlight the extent at how he is progressive and takes cognizance of the importance of Africa’s youth in building a prosperous Africa.
It is hoped that President Paul Kagame will bring a considerable amount of change to the AU, and the subsequent success being felt across the continent.