President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo of the Democratic Republic of Congo took over as the African Union Chairperson. He took over from South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa and will serve for one year.
Tshisekedi’s tenure began officially at the 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, which is being held virtually.
“As we hand over the baton to the DRC, we are determined to continue working with President Tshisekedi to ensure that Africa becomes an integrated continent, politically united, based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of African renaissance,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said.
Outgoing Chairperson of the @_AfricanUnion, His Excellency Matamela @CyrilRamaphosa, conducts a symbolic handover of the AU Flag and gavel to His Excellency President Felix Antoine Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Incoming Chairperson of the AU @AUSummit pic.twitter.com/l2TXuF58cH
— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) February 6, 2021
In his acceptance speech, President Tshisekedi described it as a ‘unique privilege for DRC’.
“I intend to anchor the theme of my presidency of the African Union in the following vision: “ an African Union at the service of the peoples ”. This specific vision, which is part of the “First Ten-Year Implementation Plan 2014 – 2023” of Agenda 2063, will be structured around nine strategic pillars,” he said.
The former Chairperson told the member states that more needs to be access to loans on favourable terms despite resources from the IMF and World Bank.
“COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the value of the African Union. It’s through its structures that we’ve been able to drive a collective response to the crisis, marshalling resources for the benefit of all and striving to ensure that no country is left behind.”
— African Union (@_AfricanUnion) February 6, 2021
Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union Commission’s chairperson echoed Ramaphosa’s sentiments saying that African states’ Unity in action and solidarity has demonstrated ‘”our resilience and our ability to face adversity together”.
“Collaboration and coordination, backed by the sharing of responsibilities anchored on the principle of subsidiarity, have enabled our continent to resist the virulence of COVID-19,” he noted while applauding the role played by The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“There is a vaccine nationalism on the rise, with other rich countries jumping the queue, some even pre-ordering more than they require,” Moussa Faki also disclosed.