Mauritanian mission in Ethiopia

Mauritania committed to championing Africa’s global voice

Her Excellency Khadija M'barek Fall outlines the priorities of Mauritania's African Union chairship.

As Mauritania continues its African Union (AU) chairship, PSC Report sought the views of Her Excellency Khadija M’barek Fall, Islamic Republic of Mauritania’s Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the AU.

Mauritania acceded to the AU during its 37th summit in February 2024. What are your priorities for the term?

As we assume the 22nd presidency of the AU led by His Excellency, President Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ghazouani, our key interests and priorities will include security, education, health, digitalisation, food sovereignty and climate change. These require the continent’s urgent attention.

We reflect particularly on these challenges in countries such as Libya and Sudan, and in the Great Lakes, Horn of Africa and Sahel regions. We will continue working closely with the AU Commission and the regional economic communities to address the continent's complex peace and security challenges.

Mauritania must balance continental crisis management with strengthening Africa’s world position

With the AU’s recent admission to the G20, Mauritania’s chairship in 2024 will have to carefully balance continental crisis management with strengthening Africa’s position in the world. Mauritania’s strategies for meeting these two priorities will rest on efforts to champion Africa’s global voice while tackling the causes of insecurity. In my view, there is no reason for us not to succeed.

How does Mauritania perceive the proposed reform of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), and how does it intend to contribute to the process?

Reform is imperative for APSA’s effectiveness and success, as President Ghazouani highlighted during his inaugural address to the AU Summit as chairperson. As you know, the AU is involved in institutional reform, instigated by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and now spearheaded by President William Ruto of Kenya. We hope that APSA will find its place in this reform.

We encourage stakeholders to commit to the APSA review to empower the PSC and enhance its role

Minister Secretary General of the Presidency of Mauritania, Moulaye Mohamed Laghdaf, recently represented the AU Chairperson at the Peace and Security Council (PSC) colloquium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The event’s theme was ‘20 years of the AU PSC as a standing decision-making organ: the next two decades of the peace and security we want in Africa’. Discussions reflected on the state of peace and security on the continent and possible solutions. Laghdaf expressed the wish of Mauritania’s presidency for APSA to play its full role in Africa’s quest for peace and security. We, therefore, continue to encourage all stakeholders to commit to the planned review of APSA to empower the PSC and enhance its role in preventing and managing conflicts.

How does Mauritania perceive the AU’s response to terrorism and unconstitutional changes of government in the Sahel and in Africa?

For decades, the instability of the Sahel, of which Mauritania is an integral part, has been exacerbated by repeated unconstitutional changes of government and the spread of terrorism. Unfortunately, external interferences and meddling have not helped the instruments created by Sahelian member states to counteract these. The G5 Sahel joint self-defence force, for example, has faced many challenges.

Africa wants genuine stakeholder partnerships based on mutual benefit

Mauritania, a stable country with close relations with all its neighbouring countries, has promoted harmony and understanding among countries and encouraged collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States and development partners. It is, therefore, essential to strengthen African solidarity with Sahelian countries threatened by terrorism. It is unacceptable in Africa to see a neighbour’s house burning down without helping to put out the fire.

Major challenges faced by the AU chair relate to resources and coordination within the bureau. How can partners help Mauritania to address this?

Crucially, partners must refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of the AU. Secondly, they should financially support the realisation of the abovementioned priorities on a win-win basis and not through assistance or aid. Africa is not asking for charity. Rather, it wants genuine and beneficial partnerships with all stakeholders based on mutually beneficial or give-and-take relationships.

Concerns about the one-year mandate chairship have emerged in the AU recently. What is Mauritania’s view on this?

There are no absolute rules governing the length of mandates at the head of international organisations. The European Union adopted a six-month mandate. In this context, the one-year term of the AU seems appropriate to me. What is important is not the length of the mandate, but what is done with it and how. Mauritania is concentrating on this.

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