The Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) has constituted, inaugurated and inducted its 4th Permanent General Assembly (PGA). The General Assembly is the highest decision and policy making body of ECOSOCC composed of: Two CSOs from each African Union member State; Ten CSOs operating at regional level and eight at continental level.
The ECOSOCC General Assembly has a tenure of four years. The 4th Permanent General Assembly was constituted from 6-9th December, 2022. Established under the provisions of Articles 5 and 22 of the African Union’s Constitutive Act, ECOSOCC is the vehicle for building a strong partnership between governments and all segments of African civil society. The Statute of ECOSOCC, adopted by the Heads of State and Government at the Third Ordinary Session of the Assembly in July 2004 defines it as an advisory organ of the African Union composed of different social and professional groups of the Member States of the African Union [Assembly/AU/Dec.42 (III)].
The new elected members of the GA elected a bureau comprising the Presiding Officer, Deputy Presiding Officers and chairs of sectoral cluster Committees as follows:
Presiding Officer: Mr. Khalid Boudali (Northern Africa);
Deputy Presiding Officers:
Ms. Brenda Brewer Moore (Western Africa);
Mr. Joseph Chongsi Ayeah (Central Africa);
Mr. Mahendranath Busgopaul (Eastern Africa);
Mr. Robert Mbilizi Phiri (Southern Africa).
Outgoing Presiding Officer, Mr. Denise Arua Ochieng Kodhe, officially handed over the reins to Mr. Khalid Boudali, and affirmed that he was confident the leadership of the 4th Permanent General Assembly would steer ECOSOCC to the next level.
Addressing members of the 4th PGA, newly elected Presiding Officer, Mr. Boudali said, “Civil society are true partners in achieving effectiveness at the highest level. Working closely together could ensure better opportunities for Africa's people first, and effective outcome delivery through the creation of an enabling environment for our mandate,” he said. “We should maintain a high degree of professionalism, respect the rules and procedures, and preserve and defend the integrity of the Union.”
The 4th PGA elected its Standing Committee composed of the Presiding Officer and other members of the Bureau and chairpersons of the 10 Sectoral Cluster Committees.
The term of office for the Standing Committee members is 2 years. The functions of the Standing Committee are to coordinate ECOSOCC’s work, prepare its General Assembly meetings, follow up implementation of the Code of Ethics and Conduct, and prepare and submit the ECOSOCC annual report to the AU Assembly.
Chairpersons of Sectoral Cluster Committees of the 4th Permanent General Assembly:
Dr. Jonathan Patrick Jasper Sandy (Peace and Security);
Mr. Louis Cheick Sissoko (Political Affairs); Ms. Kundai Ngwena (Infrastructure and Energy);
Ms. Floride Ndakoraniwe (Social Affairs and Health);
Mr. Mahamat Haroun Adoum (Human Resources, Science and Technology (HRST);
Ms. Ralaizanadraoto EP Rasolofonirina Mampita Michelle (Trade and Industry);
Mr. Nigussu Legesse (Rural Economy and Agriculture); Mr. Boniface Cheembe (Economic Affairs);
Mr. Chiter Abdelouhab (Women and Gender);
Mr. Ayman Saber Taha Mostafa Okeil (Cross-cutting Programmes).
Mr. Kodhe urged the newly elected Standing Committee to bring impactful work to ECOSOCC and engage with different organizations outside of the PGA. He requested support to expand the work of ECOSOCC, including the staff of the Secretariat.
The 4th PGA also elected the Credentials Committee, composed of one CSO representative from each of the five regions; one CSO representative from the African Diaspora; one nominated representative for special interest groups, such as vulnerable groups, the aged, physically challenged and people living with HIV/AIDS; and two AUC representatives.
The Committee’s role is to be responsible for examining the credentials of ECOSOCC members and their representatives. Its Rules of Procedure are adopted by the General Assembly.
Members of the Credentials Committee of ECOSOCC’s 4th Permanent General Assembly:
Mr. Lebogang Kenneth Mabotho (Chairperson) (Southern Africa);
Mr. Musaada Balagizi Moise (Central Africa);
Mr. Tom Mulisa (East Africa);
Mr. Mohamed Abdallahi Jed Oumou (North Africa);
Ms. Assiatou Diallo (West Africa);
Mr. Abdul-Rahman Edward Koroma (Special Interest Group) (West Africa).
The distinctive character of ECOSOCC is that it gives an opportunity for African civil society to play an active role in charting the future of the Continent, organizing itself in partnership with African governments to contribute to the principles, policies and programmes of the Union.