AU summit: Ramaphosa's 2020 gig, el-Sisi and Haile Selassie

11 February 2019 - 10:06 By Odwa Mjo
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has passed the baton to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has passed the baton to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Image: AFP PHOTO / Zacharias Abubeker

African heads of state gathered in Addis Abba for the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union from February 10-11.

The assembly meeting is a culmination of statutory meetings where heads of state discuss AU policies, the  implementation of its policies and decisions as well as adopting its annual programme.

The theme of the summit is "The Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced displacement in Africa”.

Here are three highlights from the first day of the summit:

Honouring Haile Selassie 

A statue of the emperor Haile Selassie was unveiled on Sunday, February 10, at the African Union headquarters. 

"The commemorative statue of Emperor Haile Selassie is an important recognition of the emperor’s contribution to Africa’s liberation and unity," the AU said.

Kagame hands over the reins 

Rwandan President Paul Kagame completed his term as the AU chair as his successor, Egypt's Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, was elected during the summit on Sunday. 

AFP reported that the new AU chair is seen as more likely to focus on security and peacekeeping  issues as opposed to expanding the power of the AU. During his leadership Kagame focused on institutional and administrative reforms. 

The outcome of the 2019 AU elections were as follows:

1. AU Chairperson: Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt

2. 1st Vice Chairperson: Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa

3. 2nd Vice Chairperson: Félix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo;

4. 3rd Vice Chairperson: Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of the Niger;

5. 4th Vice Chairperson: Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda (Rapporteur).

President Ramaphosa to head up AU in 2020

The presidency on Sunday announced that Ramaphosa would take over from el-Sisi as the chair of the AU in 2020. 

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