The deputy chair is responsible for the implementation and management of reform at the organization. This is a massive and ongoing project. The current AU’s reform journey began in July 2016 when the assembly appointed Rwandan president Paul Kagame to do a study on its institutional reform. The assessment by the panel led by Kagame was unequivocal; the union was not fit for purpose.

A number of reforms were approved and significant progress has been made in implementing these, in particular administrative reforms. But there is still a significant amount of work to be done to overcome the dysfunction identified in the Kagame-led review.

The new commission will need political dexterity, competence, and experience to manage the complexities of the reform processes. This is because reform is an ongoing process. So, the new commission will have to continually work to ensure that the primary objectives of the reform are met.

The African Union deputy post

The deputy chairperson is the commission’s chief operating officer. They are responsible for the financial and administrative management of the commission. The deputy chairperson must therefore have a combination of substantive technical knowledge and political acumen.

Extensive knowledge and experience in organizational management, financial administration and a demonstrable understanding of the need for gender equality are also important.

Nsanzabaganwa, the first woman to be elected to the position, is the current deputy governor of the Bank of Rwanda.

She will need to deepen her knowledge and understanding of multilateral organizations. She must develop a vast network both continentally and internationally that she can draw on for consensus building and influence, especially in furtherance of the reform agenda.

Nsanzabaganwa will continue the ongoing work of addressing the challenges identified in the report on the proposed recommendations for institutional reform. These include the challenges of low leadership by commissioners, accountability, inadequate supervision of commission employees and coordination of commission activities.

The report also pointed to inadequate supervision and coordination as well as weak staff recruitment and performance management systems. Considerable progress has been made in fixing these, but gaps remain.

One major gap relates to the creation of a safe working environment for women. The commission has been bedeviled by accusations of sex and gender-based discrimination. It falls on Nsanzabaganwa to drive changes that will create a safe environment for women and to ensure that the commission lives up to its gender policies.

Financial autonomy

The quest for financial autonomy in managing the union’s affairs has gained traction on the continent. The AU has made significant strides on this front, minimizing its over-dependence on external partners.

But to sustain the gains, the commission must have strategies for effective engagement with member states, encouraging them to pay their AU membership fees on time. Most of the progress on financial autonomy has been on generating its own resources for the AU’s operational management. The financing of peace operations remains unresolved. The main stumbling block here is agreement between the AU and the United Nations.

To resolve this impasse, Nsanzabaganwa must develop a deep understanding and knowledge of the United Nations’ financial and budgeting systems. This will be critical to ensuring that Africa is allotted its due share of resources to maintain peace and security.

Finally, as the chief operating officer, Nsanzabaganwa will have to work very closely with member states and the commission staff.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.