The Executive Council
The Executive Council coordinates and takes decisions on policies in areas of common interest to Member States. It is answerable to the Assembly. It considers issues referred to it and monitors the implementation of policies formulated by the Assembly. The Executive Council is composed of foreign ministers or such other ministers or authorities as are designated by the governments of Member States.
The Executive Council’s core functions include:
- Preparing the Assembly session agendas and drafting decisions for its consideration
- Electing the Members of the Commission for appointment by the Assembly
- Promoting cooperation and coordination with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), African Development Bank (AfDB), other African institutions and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
- Determining policies for cooperation between the AU and Africa’s partners
- Considering and making recommendations to the Assembly on the Commission’s structure, functions and statutes
- Ensuring the promotion of gender equality in all AU programmes.
The Executive Council makes decisions by consensus or, where consensus is not possible, by a two-thirds majority vote by Member States. Matters of procedure, including the question of whether a matter is one of procedure or not, are decided by a simple majority. Two-thirds of AU members are required to form a quorum at any Executive Council meeting.
The same Member State that chairs the Assembly chairs the Executive Council. The Arab Republic of Egypt is the current Chair of the Executive Council in line with the Assembly Bureau. the Executive Council Bureau consists of a chairperson, three vice-chairpersons and a rapporteur. The Bureau positions are held by the same states that form the Assembly Bureau. Office holders serve for one year (usually January to January).
Where the Executive Council accepts an invitation from a Member State to host a meeting away from Headquarters in Addis Ababa, the host country has the right to co-chair the Council. The Executive Council may delegate its powers and functions to the PRC and Specialised Technical Committees
The Executive Council meets at least twice a year in an ordinary session. Meetings are usually held prior to the Assembly Summit and in the same location. The Executive Council can also meet in extraordinary sessions at the request of its chairperson, any Member State or the Chairperson of the AU Commission in consultation with the Chairperson of the Assembly and on approval by two-thirds of all Member States (Constitutive Act, article 10). All sessions are closed to the public, unless the Council decides otherwise (by simple majority; Rules of Procedure, rule 14).
Extraordinary sessions are held at AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, unless a Member State invites the Council to meet in its country (Rules of Procedure, rule 12).
Executive Council Sub-Committees
Ministerial Committee on Candidatures
The Committee is responsible for promoting African candidates for positions on international bodies. The members are selected on the basis of geographical distribution for two-year terms, renewable once. The Committee meets twice a year on the margins of the Executive Council ordinary sessions in January and June/July, and can hold extraordinary meetings if required.
Ministerial Committee on the Challenges of Ratification/Accession and Implementation of the OAU/AU Treaties
The Committee is responsible for advocating for the ratification, domestication and implementation of OAU/AU treaties by all Member States. It is composed of 10 members, two from each region, who usually serve two-year terms. The Committee usually meets once a year on the margins of the Executive Council’s January ordinary session. The Committee is supported by a standing committee of experts composed of two members of each AU region.
Ministerial Committee on the Scale of Assessment
The Committee is responsible for reviewing the scale of assessment for Member State contributions to the AU budget; advising the Assembly on the apportionment of AU expenses among Member States, broadly according to their capacity to pay; and advising the Assembly on the treatment of Member States in arrears of their contributions. The Committee works in close collaboration with the AUC Directorate of Programming, Budget, Finance and Accounting.
Ministerial Committee on Agenda 2063
The core mandate centres on strategic orientation, efficiency, financing and accountability in the delivery of Agenda 2063, the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan and successive plans. In January 2017, the Executive Council requested the Committee to report on the development of a roadmap by the AUC on some key areas including the establishment of a continental free trade area, the African Commodity Strategy, ownership of Agenda 2063, acceleration of industrialisation towards a continental target of 20 percent value added by 2020, and development of guidelines to promote and protect African investment and companies (EX.CL/Dec.953 (XXX)).