Kagame replaced by Egypt’s Abdel Fattah as AU heads of state meet in Addis
President Yoweri Museveni arrived in Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa on Feb.09 where African Union (AU) heads of State convened for a two day summit that saw Rwandan President Paul Kagame handle over the mantle to his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as the Union Chairman.
While discussing the solutions for the multiple crises on the continent was high on agenda, the presidents also discussed institutional reforms and the establishment of a continent-wide free trade zone. The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) was agreed by 44 nations in March 2018, but only 19 countries have ratified the agreement, with 22 needed for it to come into effect.
Commenting on the agenda for the AU, international news agencies reported on Feb.09 that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that peaceful elections in DR Congo, Mali and Madagascar, as well as peace deals in South Sudan and Central African Republic and the truce between Ethiopia and Eritrea, were signs of a “wind of hope” on the continent.
However, whereas the new head is expected to focus on security and post war reconstruction, predictions are that Egypt’s term as AU head may not yield much. A diplomat quoted by AFP for instance said the country is not keen on a powerful union.
Especially because Cairo has “never forgotten” its suspension in 2013 after Egypt’s army deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who in 2012 became the country’s first democratically elected president, the diplomat said.