Ruto proposes a raft of reforms at African Union Commission

President William Ruto and African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina at KICC, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

President William Ruto has proposed various reforms which he plans to push as he takes charge as the new African Union Champion for Institutional Reforms.

Among the proposals is to empower the African Union Commission to effectively manage Africa's economic diplomacy and showcase the continent’s assets to attract investments and turn potential into opportunities.

Speaking during the opening of the African Development Bank Annual meeting in Nairobi, Ruto also proposed to reform the African Union to consolidate the African market through the African Continental Free Trade Area, aiming to increase intra-African trade from the current 15%, and Africa's contribution to global trade.

"We can unlock the potential of our continent, showcase the assets that we have – our mineral assets, agricultural, human capital natural resources and use them to create investment opportunities," he said.

At the same time, President Ruto stressed the need to make the African Union responsible for the continent’s peace, security, and stability, addressing conflicts and ensuring a secure environment for progress.

"We cannot progress if there is war in Sudan, trouble in Somalia, problems in DRC, problems in the Sahel... The African Union must step forward to be counted to provide that cover," Ruto said.

Also, the Head of State is proposing the Pan-African Parliament be able to approve the AU budgets and at the same time create a connection between the AU and the Pan-African Parliament, reducing its members to 110 from 275 with one man and one woman from each country. 

Ruto, who was picked in February 2024 to head the African Union Champion for Institutional Reform, is also proposing the establishment of the Africa Court of Justice to specifically deal with continental justice issues internally

"We must bring about the African Court of Justice so that we can sort out our issues. We don’t want any Africa to be dragged to courts elsewhere to sort out our issues," Ruto added.

Ruto was picked to the position during the Assembly of the African Union heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, taking over from President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.