According to a dispatch from Addis Ababa, President Sirleaf and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn held bilateral talks in Addis Ababa centered on strengthening the existing relations between Africa’s two oldest independent nations.
“I want to see our relationship with Liberia go to a higher level”, Prime Minister Desalegn pointed out. The two leaders focused on areas of cooperation in agriculture, industrialization, the service sector, tourism, transportation amongst others. President Sirleaf and Prime Minister Desalegn also shared note and experiences on diaspora engagement, localized real estate development and technology.
They further agreed to assemble their technicians to begin the process of deriving a defined agenda for Joint Cooperation between the two countries and for the sharing of information and experiences in their different areas of advantage.
The Liberia leader also held talks with the Gambia delegation led by the country’s Vice President Fatoumata Tambajang. Vice President Tambajah briefed President Sirleaf who is also Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority about the current state of affairs in The Gambia, pointing out that the Cabinet is still being formed.
She informed President Sirleaf that the membership of the coalition that brought she along with President Barrow to power is still intact and holding together in the formation of the new government and the governance of The Gambia.
President Sirleaf assured the Gambian Vice President of the fullest support of ECOWAS and Liberia as well. She informed Madam Tambajang that she has engaged the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to give special attention to the Gambia and assist the government to get off the ground and solve some of the many problems currently existing in The Gambia.
President Sirleaf similarly met with the head of the Economic Commission for Africa and received updates on the work of the ECA and its partnership with the African Union as well as other issues of global and continental concern. Consultative meeting was also held with the former President of the AfDB Donald Kaberuka, amongst others.
On the 28th Summit of the AU Assembly, key amongst the many decisions reached was the re-admittance of Morocco as a member of the African Union, bringing the number of countries holding membership with the continental body to fifty-five (55). The 28th Summit also witnessed the election of a new Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and 7 Commissioners of the African Union Commission.
Honorable Moussa Faki Mahamat of Chad was elected the new Chairperson of the Commission replacing Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma elected in 2013 and whose tenure was extended by additional six months. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat is a former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Chad as well as for Chairperson of the AU Economic, Social and Cultural Council. He defeated fore-runner Amina Mohamed who is the Foreign Minister of Kenya. Others were Mr. Abdoulaye Bathily of Senegal, Pelonomi Venson Moitoi of Botswana and Mba Mokuy of Equatorial Guinea.
Ambassador Kwesi Quartey of the West African nation of Ghana was elected Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission. Ambassador Quartey who was described as a seasoned and careered Diplomat by Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is a former Secretary to former President Mahama of Ghana. He also served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Regional Integration as well as at many Ghanaian missions abroad including Cotonou, Cairo, Brussels and Havana amongst others.
The 28th AU Summit also elected seven out of the eight AU Commissioners including Peace and Security; Political Affairs; Trade and Industry; Infrastructure and Energy; Social Affairs; Rural Economy and Agriculture; Human Resource and Economic Affairs. The Commissioner for Science and Technology will be elected at a separate meeting.
Several reports including one on institutional reform of the AU; Peace and Security Council on the state of peace and security in Africa; establishment of an AU Fund on prevention and combatting terrorism and violent extremism in Africa; the African Peer Review Mechanism; climate change, amongst other were made, deliberated upon and decisions taken.
In her farewell speech, former AU Commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma commended the African Heads of State for a successful Summit and for their cooperation and support during her tenure. She pointed out that a key vision under her leadership has been to ensure a people’s centered African Union which is being realized.
Madam Zuma congratulated the new Chairperson of the AU Commission and expressed her willingness to help his administration whenever called upon. “I will remain a soldier of the African cause wherever I will be,” Madam Zuma concluded.
For his part, the new Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat thanked the membership of the AU Authority for electing him and pledged that the symbols of actions will mark his tenure. He pointed out further that the task entrusted to him is a very heavy one, but asserted that challenges have never frightened him in his professional career.
“I am not claiming to have all the capacity needed for this job alone and will count on all of you for your full support, particularly the former Chairperson and Commissioners of the AU Commission who have served so well”, he noted. He concluding by commending Madam Zuma adding, we are proud of you and wish you the best in future endeavors.
In his vote of thanks, Ghana’s President Addo Dankwa Nana Akufo-Addo indicated that it was time to renew the African Union and its values and reflected on the founding fathers of the then Organization of African Unity, now the African Union. President Akufo-Addo thanked all for their participation and the host country for its warm reception and attention. He also congratulated the new leadership of the African Union Commission.