PRETORIA, South Africa will take over the rotational chair of the African Union at the 33rd Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia over the weekend.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to travel to Addis Ababa at the end of the week to attend the summit which will run for two days. As incoming chair, Ramaphosa has been lobbied by some groups to push for a more human rights-based approach, especially to issues in Africa.

Ramaphosa will be taking over from Egypt president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, each term as AU chair runs for one year.

Egypt was suspended from the continental body in 2013 following a coup d’etat which unseated former leader Mohamed Morsi but accepted back the next year after it held elections.

This year’s agenda is, “Silencing the guns” which aims at achieving a conflict-free Africa, prevent genocide, make peace a reality for all and rid the continent of wars, violent conflicts, human rights violations, and humanitarian disasters.

Last week, diplomats assembled at the Department of International Relations and Co-operation to hear Ramaphosa’s plans for South Africa’s chairship of the AU.

He said domestic priorities including economic transformation, job creation and the consolidation of the social wage through reliable and quality basic services depend on a politically stable and economically growing Africa.

This year, South Africa will also assume the chairship of the African Peer Review Mechanism the APRM and the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change. Both of these areas of responsibility align with our responsibilities and priorities as chair of the African Union, Ramaphosa told his diplomatic representatives.

Beyond promoting peace and stability, the president outlined the country’s three main objectives as AU chair – economic integration, women’s empowerment, and good governance.

At the top of our agenda as chair must be the deepening of economic integration. This is a historic moment that we must seize.

Ramaphosa also highlighted the importance of implementing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which will see the integration of Africa into global value chains, saying identifying the pressing need for infrastructure was a core challenge for the continent.

Source: African News Agency