Foreign affairs ministers from African Union member states, yesterday, began the 30th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council at the ongoing 28th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The summit opened on Monday with a two-day meeting of permanent representatives of various countries to the body.
The ministers’ gathering will then pave the way for a Heads of States assembly slated for January 30 and 31.
During the opening of yesterday’s session, the chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said that among the main concerns to address is political instability, inequality and democracy.
“We are building Africa’s future in a fast-changing world with contradictory trends. Globally, countries are experiencing political changes and instability. Citizens’ confidence in political systems is at an all-time low,” she said, calling on leaders to look out for the views and comments of ordinary citizens through multiple avenues, including social media.
“Social media reinforces trends where users trust what they hear from ‘other ordinary citizens’, than from media or other official sources,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
“We must revive and strengthen the spirit of Pan-Africanism. Our determination to stay the course and take charge of our destiny, our unity and our commitment to Pan-Africanism. We have to do much more to strengthen our democracies, governance and human rights.”
The ongoing African Union is set to have significant developments, including the election of the chairperson, deputy chairperson and commissioners.
The position of chairperson has attracted five candidates; Botswana’s foreign minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Chad’s foreign minister Moussa Faki Mahamat, Equatorial Guinea’s foreign minister Agapito Mba Mokuy, Kenya’s foreign minister Amina Mohamed and Senegal’s Bathily Abdoulaye, who is the special UN envoy for Central Africa.
The elections were initially scheduled for July 2016 at the summit in Kigali but were postponed after none of the candidates attained the required two-thirds majority.
Rwanda and the rest of East African countries are believed to be backing Kenya’s Mohamed. The elections are due Monday when Heads of State convene.
During the summit, Morocco is expected to make a return to the African Union after a 36-year ‘self exile.’
Also during the summit, Heads of State will receive a proposal on the African Union Commission restructuring which was commissioned in July 2016 and has been steered by President Paul Kagame.
The restructuring seeks “to make the organisation cost effective and impactful in addressing citizenry concerns.”