AU: Guinea’s Alpha Conde emerges new Chairperson

President Conde receiving the instrument of office as AU Chairperson from President Idris Derby
President Conde receiving the instrument of office as AU Chairperson from President Idris Derby

Guinea’s President, Alpha Conde, has been elected as the new chairperson of the African Union.

Conde was elected at the 28th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) opened Monday at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

He takes over the mainly ceremonial post of AU chairmanship from Chadian President, Idris Deby, who on Monday completed his one year tenure today.

The chair of the AU rotates among the Continent’s five regions.

During his one year chairmanship the continent reportedly made significant and ambitious strides including “adopting a self-financing mechanism, launching process to reform” the AU and an African passport.

The newly elected bureau of the African Union as announced by the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps has  H.E Mr. Alpha Conde. President of the Republic of Guinea as Chairperson; H.E Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda as First Vice-Chairperson; and H.E Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria as Second Vice-Chairperson. His Majesty King MSWATI III, of the Kingdom of Swaziland was elected Third Vice- Chairperson  H.E Mr. Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Republic of Chad emerged as the Rapporteur.

President Conde said that he will firmly work to speed up and eventually meet targets and initiatives set by his predecessor among others fighting against challenges such as threats of terrorism, Migration and need to make the continent independent.

During the handing over ceremony, the outgoing Chairperson of the Union, President Idriss Debby thanked his peers and the AU Commission for the support they gave him during his mandate. He commended the AU Commission under the leadership of H.E. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma for the good work in pursuing the transformation reforms under Agenda 2063 and for the support she gave him during his mandate.

President Debby said he had the privilege as Chair of the Union to travel all over the continent and beyond with the view of putting Africa First and presenting the developmental goals pursued by the continent. He said, he had the opportunity in this capacity to visit many African countries and he cherished the moments when he met with the young people who are the future of tomorrow.

“It was an honour to guide our Organisation to implement its vision of the Africa We Want.”  He further underscored the need for the continent to be peaceful, united and prosperous. He also noted that the African Stand by Force has to be effectively operationalized so that it can play its rightful role in ensuring peace and security within the continent.

Before handing over the symbols of the Union to his successor, President Idriss Deby of Chad assured President Alpha Conde of Guinea that he can count on his continued support.

The newly elected Chair of the Union, President Alpha Conde, hailed the outgoing Chairperson for his panafrican spirit and commitment to put Africa’s Agenda at the center of priorities during his term as Chair of the Union. President Conde highlighted in his acceptance speech the major programs to be undertaken during his mandate.   He will have among other important duties to ensure the implementation by AU Member States the theme of the year 2017 which is Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth.

He pledged to further mobilize the continent in implementing the AU Agenda 2063 with a view to placing Africa as a key player in the global arena.

Speaking earlier, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Dr. Dlamini Zuma thanked the outgoing Chairperson of the Union, for the excellent cooperation and guidance offered during his term in 2017; “including the politics and history classes that punctuated the deliberations, and that kept us engaged”, she underlined.

The Union on Monday also decided to admit Morocco as its 55th member. Instead of voting, the African leaders reached a consensus on Monday over the Morocco.

Morocco withdrew from the the Organization for African Union in 1984, to protesting a decision to welcome the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.