Ethiopia-AU Summit

South Africa assumes AU chairmanship

APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa took over the chairmanship of the African Union for the year 2020, replacing Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi who chaired the organization through 2019.

In his acceptance speech, the South African leader said he would focus on solidifying the continental unity, advancing economic growth and empowering women are among the key priority areas to focus.

 “We would like to deepen our work together in ensuring that the unity of our continent is solid and is based on the founding principles that our forebears crafted,” Ramaphosa said.

Moreover, Ramaphosa stressed that the “collective work to ensure political and economic unity, good governance and peace should be strengthened by supporting integration, industrialization, economic development, trade and investment”.

Speaking about advancing the economic growth and sustainable development, he urged the Heads of State and Government to ensure that the AfCFTA does not become a conduit for products with minimal African value addition to enter and penetrate the continent’s local market under the guise of continental integration.

“There must be a reasonable standard set for what constitutes for a product that is proudly made in Africa,” Ramaphosa emphasized.

The South African President pointed out that “as Africans living in this new era we shoulder all the greatest responsibilities to ensure that our wealth as a continent does not become our poverty, our blessing does not become our curse, and that our endowment does not become our downfall.”

The new chairperson stressed that “it is to us that the task has fallen to build an Africa that is prosperous and at peace with itself. An Africa that is capable of achieving the aspirations that this august body set out in Agenda 2063.”

Infrastructure network linking the entire continent and enabling free movement of goods, people and services is also equally important, he explained.

Women are half of the society, he said, adding that “you cannot have a revolution without women, and you cannot have democracy without women.”

He pledged to declare the year 2020 to 2030, the year of African women financial and economic inclusion.


MG/as/APA

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