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Cameroon Agrees On Hosting Three Major African Union Institutions

The Cameroon Government and the African Union Commission just signed off on Cameroon hosting the Pan African University Rectorate in Yaounde, the African Monetary Fund (AMF) and the African Union Sport Council. The historic agreements were formally signed on April 6.

Photo: African Union

The African Union Commission (AUC) was represented by Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology (HRST) and the Cameroon Government by H.E Mr. Lejeune Mbella Mbella, Minister of External Relations of the Republic of Cameroon for the final signatures.

Worth noting that, with the signing of these important Host Agreements, an important page of the history of the Continental Organisation was once again written in a bid to operationalize the three important institutions of the African Union headquartered, in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

However, the road to this hilarious achievement was very long …it took over ten years of discussion for the AU policy Organs to finally adopt the Decision establishing the three AU Institutions and over five years of negotiations to finally approve the Host Agreement which was concretized today with the official signing ceremony of the three legally binding documents between the AU and Cameroon, in the presence of the Diplomatic Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Representatives of the different ministries concerned with the three newly established Panafrican Institutions, the media and invited guests.

Speaking on behalf of H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, Prof. Anyang Agbor began by expressing her sincere gratitude to the Republic of Cameroon for its unflinching support to the Pan African ideals, its proactive and exemplary role in the continent and its multi-faceted support to the African Union organs. “My gratitude goes more especially to the Head of State, President of the Republic of Cameroon H.E. President Paul Biya for his visionary and wise leadership and to the Prime Minister, H.E. Philemon Yang, for his stewardship of the Government policy in favour of the continental initiatives”, underlined the AU Commissioner for HRST. She also expressed the AUC’s appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Cameroon for demonstrating serious interest and commitment to host the Rectorate of the Pan African University.

Commissioner Anyang Agbor further acknowledged the authorities of the different concerned ministries for their contribution to the continental programs on hand, and for their determination in following up the various Host Agreements and facilitating the procedures required for the finalizations and signing of the three Host Agreements. These include: the Ministers of External Relations; Higher Education; Basic Education; Lands, Survey and State Property; Economy, Planning and Regional Development; Finance; Sports and Physical Education.

“AUC is cognizant of the efforts that the Republic of Cameroon deployed in availing the necessary infrastructure and facilities to these entities. The AUC renews its commitment to fully support the Republic of Cameroon in operationalizing the three entities whose Host Agreements have been signed today” she stated..

The Commissioner also emphacised that, the signing of the three Host Agreement is special because it is taking place barely a few days after the signing by 44 AU Member States of relevant instruments for the Establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This, she said, is a major milestone in the operationalisation of a fully integrated and united Africa, in tune with the desire of Kwame Nkrumah and other founding fathers of the African Union, as rightly recalled by H.E Dr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) during the Kigali Summit.The AU Commissioner seized the opportunity during the signing ceremony to call upon AU Member States to ratify the AfCFTA in order to foster inter-African trade. (See complete speech of HRST Commissioner on the AU website: www.au.africa ).

Speaking later, the Cameroonian Minister for Foreign Affairs referred to the signing of the three Host Agreements as “a symbolic ritual of very particular importance”. He said the signing ceremony between the Cameroon Government and the African Union should be interpreted as a sign of the common desire of the two parties to strengthen their collaboration and cooperation, thereby striving through AU bodies and institutions, to create the best possible conditions of carrying out their activities in the territory of Cameroon. “This will also contribute to the architecture of the Pan African Organisation in the field of support for economic, social and cultural development of its Member States”. The Minister said the Agreements demonstrates Cameroon’s firm and unwavering commitment to the Africa integration endeavours, by hosting in its territory, the seats of three complementary institutions of the Pan-African Organisation.

Minister LeJeune Mbella Mbella recalled that Cameroon’s commitment to the AU was first evidenced as a founding member of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) followed by the signing recently by Cameroon of the AfCFTA Agreement at the Kigali Extraordinary Summit, the country has had two Secretary Generals of the OAU, namely: Nzo Ekah Ngaki and Aurelien William Eteki Mboumoua and now two Commissioners, namely: Late Mrs. Elizabeth Tankeu in charge of the department of Trade and Industry and now Prof. Sarah Mbi Enow Anyang Agbor in charge of the HRST department of the AU.

The Minister also appreciated the fact that Cameroon was chosen by the AU to host the Continental Logistics Base of the African Standby Force in Douala as well as the Inter-African Phytosanitary Council in Yaoundé. Before concluding his speech, the Minister conveyed a message of appreciation of H.E Mr. Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon through the Commissioner, to H.E Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AUC for making this dream come true by sending a strong AU delegation to Yaoundé to concretise the signing of the three important pan-African institutions.

According to H.E Jacques-Alfred Ndoumbe-Eboule, Permanent Representative to the AU and UNECA, and Overall Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in Addis Ababa, the signing of the Host Agreements of three important AU institutions is a historical moment for Cameroon. The Cameroonian Ambassador to Ethiopia was represented at the signing ceremony by Dr. Simon Pierre Omgba Mbida, First Secretary at the Cameroon Embassy. It is worth noting that the Cameroon Embassy in Addis Ababa played a crucial part in working closely with the AU for the follow-up and concretization of the establishment of the above pan African institutions.

Prominent in the delegation from the AU Headquarters that witnessed the historical moment was Dr. Rene Kouassi, Director for Economic Affairs of the AUC; Prof. Mahama Ouedraogo, Director of HRST; Prof. Kassa Belay, Rector of the PAU, Mr. Mohamed Salem Khalit , Office of the Legal Counsel at the AUC who was working very closely in consultation with Amb. Dr. Namira Negm, AUC Legal Counsel to finalise the legal instruments; Mrs. Lina Kessy, Ag. Head of the AU Sports Council; and Mrs. Esther Azaa Tankou, Head of Information Division at the AUC.