KIGALI, Rwanda, 17 Jul – The African Union launched the much anticipated African Passport at the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Kigali, Rwanda.
Host President Paul Kagame and the Chairman of the AU, President Idriss Deby of Chad were the first head of States to be issued with the symbolic AU passport.
President Deby stressed the importance of fast-tracking integration on the continent to achieve socio-economic growth for the well being of the African citizens.
“I feel deeply and proudly a true son of Africa after receiving this passport,” said President Deby, after receiving the passport from the Chairperson of AU Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
The pan-African passport is aimed at facilitating free movement of people in the continent.
Dr. Dlamini-Zuma said that the plan by the AU may work with individual countries to issue the passports to Heads of State, foreign affairs ministers and top diplomats due to the high demand of the pan-African travel document.
The Assembly also adopted the decision to fully finance itself as well as its peace and security missions during the Ministerial retreat.
“Our Union is facing emergency issues on a daily basis, these issues require instant and effective mechanisms to address them,” said President Deby.
Dr. Dlamini Zuma announced that the Commission stands ready to hand over the baton with a feeling of hopes for the continent and satisfaction for the missions achieved during their mandate.
“In our years of service to the AU Members States and to the Peoples of Africa, we build on the foundations of those that went before us, to build a Union of the People by engaging with civil society and citizens.”
Elections for the AU Commission were part of the Agenda but no clear winner emerged forcing the elections to be pushed to the next AU Summit.