Nearly six years after Egypt was suspended from the African Union (AU) in 2013, its president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has now taken over as AU Chairperson till 2020 when South Africa is set to take over.
Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, handed over the AU Chairmanship to President Al-Sisi during the opening ceremony of the AU’s biannual heads of state assembly, which commenced today and will run till tomorrow, February 11, at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
In recognition of challenges and prevailing need to recognize links between displacement and peace and security and the development dimension, the 32nd African Union (AU) heads of state and government summit opened today under the theme of the year 2019: “The Year of Refugees, Returnees and IDPs: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced displacement in Africa”.
African heads of state and government, the AU leadership and officials of the AU Commission and AU organs, representatives of partner organisations, the diplomatic corps, and invited guests attended the opening ceremony.
Highlights of the Assembly meeting include: deliberations on the institutional reform of the AU; the African Continental Free Trade Area; the implementation of Assembly decision on the post Cotonou negotiations; reports on peace and security; reports of chairpersons of the committees of the Assembly; and reports of the leaders on specific thematic issues. The Assembly will consider and adopt the draft legal instruments and witness the inauguration of the statue of Emperor Haile Selassie, one of the founders of the Organisation of African Unity- predecessor of the African Union. Elections for the bureau of the Assembly of the African Union for 2019 and of the Chairperson of the African Union for 2020.
Speculations are that Egypt’s tenure will likely focus more on security and peacekeeping, and less on financial and administrative reform, which was the cornerstone of outgoing AU Chairperson, Paul Kagame.