Following the convening of the African Union Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa, the inaugural promoters’ meeting of the newly established “African Union Foundation” was held. The meeting was led by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma, who is also the founder as legal representative of the African Union.
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission presented, the objectives of the Foundation for voluntary contributions towards financing African priorities at the Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In attendance were the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, Mr. Erastus Mwencha, the AU Commissioners, the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Mr. P.J. Patterson, and first members of the inaugural council and guests.
Established by the AU Assembly in May 2013, the African Union Foundation aims to finance African priorities through voluntary contributions. The mission of the Foundation is to “mobilize resources in support of the African Union’s vision of an integrated, people-centred and prosperous Africa, at peace with itself and taking its rightful place in the world.” To accomplish this mission, the Foundation will focus on five key programme areas in its first five years: 1) skills and human resource development, 2) women’s empowerment and gender equality, 3) regional integration, 4) youth development and entrepreneurship, and 5) advocacy and support for the African Union.
“It is time for Africa to mobilize our own resources in support of our development and take charge of our own destiny,” said Chairperson Zuma. The Foundation will strive to more deeply engage Africa’s private sector, African individuals and communities, and leading African philanthropists to generate resources and provide valuable insight on ways in which their success can accelerate Africa’s development. The issue of domestic and alternative sources of funding has been an intrinsic element of the continent’s commitments of the Pan African values of self-determination, solidarity and self-reliance. The AUC Chairperson called on the participants to act as good will ambassadors to the foundation.
Selection for membership of the Foundation’s Governing Council was based on clear commitment to African development and philanthropy, the highest caliber of integrity, and prominence in the sectors and geographies they represent. The Foundation’s governing Council is still formalizing its membership, but those selected who have been confirmed include Dr. Dlamini Zuma, Founder on behalf of the AU Commission; Ms. Luisa Diogo, former Prime Minister of Mozambique; President Alpha Konare, former President of Mali and former African Union Commission Chairperson; Ms. Zeinab Badawi, Journalist, BBC; Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, former CEO of the Ethiopian Commodities Exchange; Ms. Cheryl Carolus, CEO of Peotonia Holdings; Dr. AsmanyAsfour, President of Egypt Business Women’s Association; Mr. James Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica; Ms. Ntombifuthi Mtoba, Chairperson of Deloitte Southern Africa; Dr. Charles Okeahalam, CEO of AGH Capital Group; and Mr. Tony O. Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings
Others who attended the inaugural meeting included Mrs. Wendy Ackerman from Pick and Pay Holdings; Dr. BhekiMoyo from the Southern African Trust and Mr. Enoch Iluenzy, representative of Mr. James Gatera, MD of the Bank of Kigali.
In response to his invitation to the Council, Mr. Elumelu said, “I am honoured to be a part of the Chairperson’s vision for an emergent Africa developed by Africans, and look forward to participating in this effort to change the paradigm of African development.” As a clear indication of that support, the Tony Elumelu Foundation made a $150,000 donation to the start up costs of the African Union Foundation, the first contribution made to the ambitious initiative.
At the same meeting, a pledge of $100,000 was made by the Government of Jamaica, represented by Ambassador Carlton Masters, who indicated, “This underscores the commitment of the Diaspora towards African development.”