Panel of the Wise

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The Panel of the Wise is a consultative body of the African Union, composed of five appointed members who each serve three year terms. Its mandate is to provide opinions to the Peace and Security Council on issues relevant to conflict prevention, management, and resolution. Representatives are chosen for the North, East, South, West, and Central regions of the continent. [1]

African Union Supranational union

The African Union (AU) is a continental union consisting of 55 member states located on the continent of Africa, with exception of various territories of European possessions located in Africa. The bloc was founded on 26 May 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and launched on 9 July 2002 in South Africa. The intention of the AU is to replace the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa by 32 signatory governments. The most important decisions of the AU are made by the Assembly of the African Union, a semi-annual meeting of the heads of state and government of its member states. The AU's secretariat, the African Union Commission, is based in Addis Ababa.

The Peace and Security Council is the organ of the African Union in charge of enforcing union decisions. It is patterned somewhat after the United Nations Security Council.

North Africa Northernmost region of Africa

North Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west, to Egypt's Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east. Others have limited it to the North West African countries of Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, a region that was known by the French during colonial times as "Afrique du Nord" and is known by all Arabs as the Maghreb. The most commonly accepted definition includes Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, the 6 countries that shape the top North of the African continent. Meanwhile, "North Africa", particularly when used in the term North Africa and the Middle East, often refers only to the countries of the Maghreb and Libya. Egypt, being also part of the Middle East, is often considered separately, due to being both North African and Middle Eastern at the same time.


The first Panel of the Wise was established in December 2007, with a mandate which expired in 2010. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government, meeting in Kampala in 2010, decided to expand the Panel's composition, by appointing a Group of "Friends of the Panel of the Wise" appointed on the same basis as the Panel (one representative for each African sub-region).

The Assembly of the African Union, which is formally known as the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government (AU-AHSG), is one of several decision-making bodies within the African Union. The other bodies are the Pan-African Parliament; the Executive Council, consisting of foreign ministers of the AU members states; and the African Union Commission. The Chairperson of the Assembly has few formal functions, the most important of which is to preside at the Pan-African Parliament during the election and swearing in of the President of the Pan-African Parliament.

Kampala Place in Uganda

Kampala is the capital and largest city of Uganda. The city is divided into five boroughs that oversee local planning: Kampala Central Division, Kawempe Division, Makindye Division, Nakawa Division, and Rubaga Division. Surrounding Kampala is the rapidly growing Wakiso District, whose population more than doubled between 2002 and 2014 and as of 2014 Wakiso was reported to stand at over 2 million.

the PanAfrican Network of the Wise (PanWise)

PanWise is a Pan-African network, established through a Decision of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in May 2013, and which brings together mediation actors and mechanisms, such as the AU Panel of the Wise, COMESA Committee of Elders, ECOWAS Panel of the Elders, SADC Panel of the Wise, future RECs mechanisms, Insiders’ Mediators, African and international mediators working in Africa, with complementary responsibilities.

The aim of PanWise is to strengthen, coordinate and harmonise prevention, early response and peacemaking efforts carried by various actors in Africa under a single umbrella.

Pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (PSC Protocol); the Protocol on Relations between the African Union and Regional Economic Communities; the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Area of Peace and Security between the AU, the RECs and Stand by Brigades of Eastern Africa and Northern Africa (MoU); the Modalities for the Functioning of the Panel of the Wise (AU); and, finally, the experiences and lessons learned as regards cooperation, collaboration and harmonization between the AU Panel of the Wise and its counterparts at sub-regional and national levels, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government at the 21st ordinary session of the AU Summit, which marked the 50th Golden Jubilee of the OAU on 25 May 2013, adopted a decision to establish the “Pan-African Network of the Wise” (PanWise). PanWise is comprised, as core members, of the AU Panel of the Wise/Friends and its existing and future counterparts at sub-regional level including: the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Council of the Wise; the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Mediation Reference Group and Panel of Elders; the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa’s (COMESA) Committee of Elders; and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development’s (IGAD) Mediation Contact Group, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), East African Community (EAC), Union of Maghreb States (UMA) and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CENSAD). As associate members, PanWise includes the Forum of Former African Heads of State, the Association African Ombudesmen and Mediators (AAOM), national infrastructures for peace, national mediation councils, etc., as well as relevant African mediation associations/ institutions. When appropriate to the agenda of the PanWise, the AU Chairperson as well as African mediators Special Envoys, Special Representatives, Chief Mediators and their Mediation Teams shall be invited to participate in network activities. The establishment of the “Pan African Network of the Wise” is not prejudicial to the independence of each Panel, the confidentiality required of them as they perform their roles within their respective home organisations, as well their latitude in choosing partners, donors and other stakeholders. In conducting its activities, the “Pan African Network of the Wise” is at all times cognizant that its members may be actively engaged in preventive diplomacy, mediation and related activities with parties engaged in a dispute or conflict, and therefore discretion, respect for confidentiality and careful consultation with members on deliberations is observed. The successful establishment of the PanWise is a significant contribution to the Golden Jubilee of the OAU celebrated this year under the theme “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”. Indeed, it emphasizes and puts into practice the ideals of the Forefathers of the OAU, Pan-Africanism, solidarity and unity of purpose.

Economic Community of West African States intergovernmental economic unnion

The Economic Community of West African States, also known as ECOWAS, is a regional economic union of fifteen countries located in West Africa. Collectively, these countries comprise an area of 5,114,162 km2 (1,974,589 sq mi), and in 2015 had an estimated population of over 349 million.

Guiding Principles:

Landmark activities and impact:

Members of the Panel of the Wise from June 2017 to May 2019 Southern Africa (Namibia) Mr Hifikepunye Pohamba, former President of Namibia, Current Chairperson of the Panel of the Wise; North Africa (Egypt) Mr. Amr Moussa, former Secretary-General of the League of Arab States; East Africa (Uganda) Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, former Vice President of Uganda; Central Africa (Gabon) Mrs. Honorine Nzet Biteghe, former Minister for Women and Family; West Africa (Liberia) Dr. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia.

Vice President of Uganda

The Vice President of Uganda is the second-highest executive official in the Ugandan government. Vice President is appointed by the President.

Members of the Panel of the Wise from June 2014 to May 2016

Southern Africa (Mozambique) Dr. Luisa Diogo, former Prime Minister of Mozambique, Current Chairperson of the Panel of the Wise; North Africa (Algeria) Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, former UN Envoy for Syria, among others; East Africa (Uganda) Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, former Vice President of Uganda; Central Africa (Angola) Mrs. Albina Assis, former Minister of Petroleum; West Africa (Togo) Dr. Edem Kodjo, former Prime Minister of Togo and former OAU Secretary General.

Lakhdar Brahimi Algerian envoy

Lakhdar Brahimi is an Algerian United Nations diplomat who served as the United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria until 14 May 2014. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria from 1991 to 1993.

United Nations Intergovernmental organization

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that was tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, and is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna and The Hague. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.

Edem Kodjo Togolese politician

Édouard Kodjovi Kodjo, better known as Edem Kodjo, is a Togolese politician and diplomat. He was Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity from 1978 to 1983; later, in Togo, he was a prominent opposition leader after the introduction of multi-party politics. He served as Prime Minister from 1994 to 1996 and again from 2005 to 2006. Kodjo is currently the President of the Patriotic Pan-African Convergence (CPP).

Members 20072010

The first members, appointed in 2007, were: [2]

Region Member Country Description Role in Panel
North Ahmed Ben Bella Algeria former President of Algeria Member (Chairperson)
West Elisabeth K. Pognon Benin President of the Constitutional Court in Benin Member
East Salim Ahmed Salim Tanzania former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity Member
Central Miguel Trovoada São Tomé and Príncipe former President of São Tomé and Príncipe Member
South Brigalia Bam South Africa Head of South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission Member

Current Members of the Friends of the Panel (former Members)

The current members and friends of the Panel of the Wise, who are the outgoing members of the Panel of the Wise serving from 2010 to 2014, are:

Region Member Country Description Role in Panel
North Ahmed Ben Bella Algeria former President of Algeria Member (Chairperson; 2nd & last term), (N.B., deceased, April 2012)
West Mary Chinery-Hesse Ghana Member (1st term)
East Salim Ahmed Salim Tanzania former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity Member (2nd & last term)
Central Marie-Madeleine Kalala Democratic Republic of the Congo Member (1st term)
South Kenneth Kaunda Zambia President of Zambia Member (1st term)
NorthTBA Friend
West Elisabeth K. Pognon Benin President of the Constitutional Court in Benin Friend (2nd & last time)
EastTBA Friend
Central Miguel Trovoada São Tomé and Príncipe former President of São Tomé and Príncipe Friend (2nd & last term)
South Brigalia Bam South Africa Head of South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission Friend (2nd & last term)

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  1. "AU Launches 'Panel of the Wise'". Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-22. Retrieved 2013-09-28.