Interview: Chairperson of the African Union Commission

Moussa Fakki who was elected as Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission earlier this year pledged to work for the unity of the African continent in the face of extremism, terrorism, conflicts, poverty, and the promotion of good governance and democracy and the promotion of integration and intra trade. He called for silencing the sound of the gun on the continent by 2020, In addition to working to empower women and youth. Observers considered the man the most suitable candidate to break the barrier of communication among the member states of the AU, especially as he aspires to unite the African continent and its rise. The SMC met with Moussa Faki on his first visit to Sudan, in a dialogue that discussed issues that plague the African continent.

Q. How are you dealing with the many challenges facing peace and security in Africa?

A. There are great challenges in Africa, especially with regard to peace and security. The AU has mechanisms, especially the Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), and we have missions in some countries. Sometimes they are joint and sometimes special missions for the AU, as in Somalia. For countries that have conflicts, there is activity and dialogue with the various parties, such as in Sudan and Somalia.

The AU has a role to play in addressing these problems, some of which are acute, but to a certain extent I am optimistic that these wars are within the states and there is no war between two member states of the AU.

One of the challenges is the fight against terrorism, such as in Somalia, in Libya and Mali. These are extremist and terrorist groups, and this has to be faced not only from Africa, because the challenge is a global challenge, so we have cooperation with the United Nations in this field.

For example, in South Sudan, the priority is to engage with the Inter Government Authority on Development (IGAD) and neighboring countries, which are in the front line and with the support of the African Union.

Q. You have developed a strategy by 2020 to make Africa free of armed conflicts and indiscriminate weapons. Can Africans succeed in this?

A. This is a big challenge and I think that defining the year 2020 is a symbol thing, if only we could reach a halt to the hostilities on time. There is a push from the member states of the African Union to solve the problems peace and security of African because they hinder any implementation of Agenda 2063 which is an ambitious agenda for development especially for the benefit of young people in Africa, who make up 60% of the population. These young people need work, education and development, to stop violence in Africa by 2020.

Q. In your talk about strategy 2063, tell us about its objectives and requirements?

A. Its a strategic framework for the social and economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years, It builds on and seeks to accelerate past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development.
The strategy includes some of the previous and current initiatives underpinning the Lagos Plan of Action, the Abuja Treaty, the Minimum Integration Program, the Africa Infrastructure Development Program, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), and the Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), regional plans and programs and national plans. They are also built on best national, regional and continental practices in their formulation.

Q. So what are the aspirations that Africa aims to achieve under this strategy?
A. We aim to be prosperous Africa on the basis of inclusive growth and sustainable development and to be an integrated and politically united continent based on the ideals of African unity and the vision of African renaissance, governed by good governance, democracy, and respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law. We want Africa to enjoy peace and security, Cultural heritage, common heritage, values and ethics. Africa, which leads peoples to develop, and depends on the potential of the African peoples, especially young people and women and cares for children.

Africa as a strong, united and influential player and partner to promote peace and stability, including regional initiatives, good governance, democracy and human rights as a basis for their integration, security and development on the continent and their peoples.

Q. What are the aims of your visit to Sudan?
A. My visit to Sudan comes with the aim of consulting with the Government on the issues of some countries such as South Sudan, Somalia, Central Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Libya, and I have affirmed that Sudan continues its role in addressing the situation in those countries.

Q. What are the most important points addressed by meetings with the government?
A. The meeting dealt with issues of common interest and what is going on in the African continent, considering that there are many security problems facing the continent, which the AU and Sudan play an important role in addressing.

Q. How do you consider Sudan’s role in resolving the continent’s issues?
A. I fully trust the vital role of Sudan in addressing the continent’s issues, especially in the Horn of Africa.

Q. In the state of Libya, the conflict has become big and is witnessing the entry of mercenaries and foreign fighters, which affected the neighboring countries … How do you see the situation there?

A. What happened in Libya is expected, and as neighboring countries have said from the beginning that the presence of military intervention and change of the system in this way should lead to the vacuum that we are witnessing now and Libya, 40 years ago in the era of Gaddafi had a special composition that does not have an army or institutions and nothing. And unfortunately the extremist groups arrived in Libya and spread weapons, especially in the neighboring countries of Sudan, Chad, Mali and Niger. Currently, there is a UN mission and there is also a high level committee of five African presidents representing the five regions of the continent to help solve this problem.

The two sides agreed on the need for some amendments in the Skhirat agreement and there is a joint committee meeting so far in Tunisia, but unfortunately there is disagreement between the parties, and we are trying to help our brothers in Libya.

In Libya, there are clear foreign interventions and there are several agendas, we try to convince everyone that it is not in the interest of Libya or the neighboring countries. It is not in the interest of Africa to influence these foreign interventions or facilitate the solution.

Q. There are efforts after the lifting of the economic sanctions on the Sudan to remove its name from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism … What efforts is the AU exerting in this regard?

A. We continue to strive to get Sudan out of the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, and this is not easy, and I think that all these parties have confirmed that Sudan is cooperative and facilitator on issues of migration and finding political solutions to conflicts in Africa and others. We and the Government of Sudan will continue and we hope that the name of the Sudan will be removed from this list.

Q. Recently, the CISSA conference held in Khartoum dealt with the phenomenon of terrorism. How do you view the CISSA role in security in coordination and the African Union’s information?

A. CISSA has found coordination between all the security services in the continent. This is very necessary for cooperation between African countries. It is the basic for information sharing. Coordination is the most important factor in the fight against terrorism.