By Surihe Gaomas
As from today, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah will be in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as part of a high-level Audit Review Panel of the African Union (AU).
This follows Ndaitwah’s nomination by the AU Chairperson, President John Kufuor of Ghana, to be part of the panellists who would ultimately shape the future integration process of the union.
During an interview with New Era before her departure on Friday, Nandi-Ndaitwah said that she accepts this challenging task not in her capacity as Information and Broadcasting Minister, but in her personal capacity and as an African citizen.
“I am looking forward to the whole exercise and it is a challenge one has to face. It is an appointment that comes with a big responsibility as the future of the union now depends on your input in the audit,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.
She further got the full support to take part in this exercise from President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
The brief of the high-level Audit Review Panel of the AU is to identify gaps and areas in which significant improvements need to be made in order to accelerate the African continent’s integration process.
“It is an assessment exercise. The AU wants to make an assessment of their activities both economically and politically to be in line with its Constitutive Act. An audit review is expected to make a deep analysis of the status of the union at all levels of integration,” explained Nandi-Ndaitwah.
This is not the first time for Nandi-Ndaitwah to be on assignments of this nature and her appointment was made on her notable strengths and achievements, not only as a minister, but also as a woman activist.
During the country’s liberation struggle, she was a representative of SWAPO in Tanzania under the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Committee.
Nandi-Ndaitwah was also the chief negotiator at the Beijing Platform of Action for African Women held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the 7th conference. It was during this time in 2004 that she was tasked with making an audit of balancing money used for buying weapons with that of development aid to Africa.
This week, the panellists will look at the union’s Terms of Reference with a resource team of experts, develop working groups and adopt a work plan.
Between the first and second meetings of the panel, the team of resource persons will further put together the necessary documents, analyse them and propose a ‘Draft Outline’ for the panel to consider.
Nandi-Ndaitwah’s task forms part of a series of other week-long meetings in Addis Ababa in early October, November and December this year.
The exercise is expected to be completed by early December. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union will consider the final report of the panel at the next ordinary session in January 2008.