Erastus J. O. Mwencha
- Deputy Chairperson, African Union, Addis Ababa
Mr. Erastus Mwencha is a Pan Africanist with over thirty years of progressive experience in policy formulation and institutional transformation at national, regional and continental levels in Africa. Throughout his career, he has been an ardent advocate and zealous engineer of regional integration as a leading principle for Africa’s development. He is passionate about Africa and believes in the continent’s rise and growth. Mr. Mwencha also believes in teamwork and his vision is to contribute to Africa’s growth and prosperity by empowering others to cultivate the capacity required to achieve economic, social and cultural development. Mr. Mwencha was elected in January 2008, as Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission by the Heads of State and Government of the 54 Member States of the African Union and re-elected to the same position in July 2012. During his first tenure as Deputy Chairperson of the AUC, Mr. Mwencha placed particular emphasis on supporting continental development agenda and programs as well as strengthening internal institutional systems. His strategic focus has been to upgrade those internal mechanisms that allow the organization to perform its role on the continent and in the world optimally. In this regard, he has paid special attention to reinforcing the result-based approach and adopting best practices to improve the AUC’s effectiveness. He placed the second and last term of his mandate under the theme: “It’s Africa’s time.” In this context, he has been leading the design and implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural a Development Program (CAADP) a tripartite forum for, among other objectives, promoting policy advocacy for agricultural development and food security. He has also focused on the implementation of a continental flagship projects including such as the Campaign for Accelerated Action for Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CAARMA) and the control and eradication of HIV/AIDS and Malaria, with a view to raising living standards of people in Africa. Prior to his election at the AUC, he worked at Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) for over 25 years and served as Secretary General for ten years. Mr. Mwencha contributed to the transformation of the regional body into a viable economic integration entity, with the largest free trade area (FTA) in Africa. He was particularly instrumental in contributing to the expansion of intra-COMESA trade, developing programs for private sector cooperation and trade with the rest of world, spearheading regional hard and soft infrastructure programs in transport, communication and energy. He also developed the continental negotiating position for the Doha Round of negotiations of the World Trade Organization, Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and actively supported the programs to integrate women in development. Mr. Mwencha has also held several senior roles within the Ministry of Industry in Kenya.