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African Union – South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa takes over as Chair

Cyril Ramaphosa takes over as African Union Chairperson
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The African Union (AU) has just concluded its annual summit with the theme ‘Silencing the Guns’.  The summit is held to discuss the top agendas for the African Union in the coming year. This year’s summit held at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Leaders of the nations within the bloc have all pledged that they will play a greater role in resolving protracted conflicts and work to unlock the continent’s economic potential.

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.

At the summit, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa took over as AU chair from his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Ramaphosa iterated that he dreams of an Africa that is prosperous and at peace with itself.

Commenting on the mood, 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.”

As AU Chair, South Africa will Focus on Libya, South Sudan

The AU chair is 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.

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On taking over the AU Chair baton, Ramaphosa 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.

Ambassador Nkosi commented on this saying that South Africa will prioritise the achievement of a ceasefire, to be followed by an inter-Libyan political dialogue to find a durable solution.

Ramaphosa said that he would work with Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who chairs the AU’s high-level Committee on Libya, to convene an intra-Libyan Conference to promote a ceasefire and dialogue.

South Africa will also host an extraordinary summit on Silencing the Guns in May 2020 to deal with “acts of terrorism” in regions such as the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, including South Sudan, which in 2013 descended into a devastating civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people.