AU Summit: 34th ordinary session gets underway virtually

EYEAFRICA TV: Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA:-The 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union is currently underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This year’s summit is being held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic that crippled the world.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Cyril Ramaphosa, the union’s outgoing chairperson, said the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on Africa.

“COVID-19 has not been defeated and there will be difficult times ahead,” he said, adding there is also “a long road to travel to silence the guns in Africa.”

“Even as we fought the COVID-19 disease, the African Union brought into existence the African Continental Free Trade Area,” the South African leader said, emphasizing the need to overcome shared problems through collective actions “from pandemics to climate change, from war to poverty.”

To the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the normal functioning of all the organs of the African Union.

As his four-year term comes to an end, he payed tribute to all the Heads of State for “the valuable contributions they have made to our collective endeavour.”

Eye Africa TV’s Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Salim Saidy said during the two-day session, African leaders are expected to discuss key issues currently confronting the continent.

“They will definitely discuss the continent’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, and security issues.”

Meanwhile, the South African president handed over the annual chairmanship of the union to President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix Tshisekedi.

The leaders will also elect the chairperson of the African Union Commission and Moussa Faki Mahamat, the incumbent, is tipped to continue for the next four years.

Voting will also be held for key commissioner positions including Deputy Chairperson of the commission for which Gambia’s Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang is vying for. The former Gambian Vice President was unanimously endorsed by the ECOWAS for the top continental post.

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