January 30, 2023
THE African Union has made two new appointments aimed at strengthening its resolve to silence the guns on the continent, and to enhance Africa’s food systems.
Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, a seasoned Ghanaian diplomat, has been made High Representative for Silencing the Guns, while the former Prime Minister of Niger, Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, is now the AU Special Envoy for Food Systems.
The AU’s deadline of 2020 for silencing the guns was not met, and this has now been moved to 2030 for an objective aimed at ending all conflicts, gender-based violence, terrorism and preventing genocide on the continent.
Chambas replaces Ramtane Lamamra, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria.
“The High Representative will primarily, promote and energize advocacy, mediation and preventive diplomacy as mandated by the Chairperson of the Commission, within the framework of implementing the AU Master Roadmap on Practical Steps to Silence the Guns,” the AU said in a statement.
Chambas served as the Under-Secretary General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) from 2014-2021, and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Head of the UN-AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).
Also, a former Secretary-General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and former President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, the new High Representative brings with him decades of a rich mix of political experience and resourceful institutional leadership at national, regional, continental and global levels.
The Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said he was optimistic that Chambas’ “impeccable credentials and commitment to Pan-Africanism and Agenda 2063, will contribute to his success in this new role”.
The High Representative is expected to begin his duties in March.
New African Union Special Envoy for Food Systems Mayaki’s role will involve dealing with the prevailing international concerns such as the effects of climate change that are heightening rising food insecurity and hunger on the continent.
He will oversee an accelerated implementation plan aimed at strengthening the African Common positions on tackling “the multi-dimensional consequences of food insecurity, and the need to support member states’ efforts with the needed high-level advocacy and coordination in these priority areas to harness the potential of continental food systems…”
Mayaki will work closely with the AU’s Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment.
Ultimately, the Africa Common Position on Food Systems will be integrated into new national agriculture investment and development plans.