The African Union (AU) has ended the summit, with leader vowing that the 55-member bloc will play a greater role in ensuring that conflicts are resolved and work collectively to unlock the continent’s economic potential.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa took over as AU Chair from his Egyptians counterpart, Abel Fattah el-Sisi. He was elected by the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government for a one-year term, with responsibilities including representing the continent at various international forums such as the G20.
President Ramaphosa said “Tackling issues such as gender equality, climate change and boosting commerce through the creation of a new continental free trade area are also high on the AU agenda for 2020”.
Keeping with the summit theme of Silencing the Guns, the South African President spoke of an Africa “that is prosperous and at peace with itself”
Commenting on the mood in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital that hosted the summit, South African Ambassador Mxolisi Nkosi said: “There is indeed a lot of excitement and expectation about South Africa being at the helm of the AU.”
President Ramaphosa, having taken over as the AU chair has been quick to identify Libya and South Sudan as the two conflicts he wants to focus on during his tenure.The bloc has long sought a more prominent role in the efforts to resolve Libya’s long-running conflict, with certain member states believing it could provide the legitimacy needed for a multilateral peace process.