By Bongiwe Zwane-Maseko
The Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) have elected H.E Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of Comoros, as the new Chairperson of the African Union for the year 2023.
The event took place on Saturday during the official opening of the Thirty-Sixth (36th) Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union, held at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa.
In a press release, the AU stated that President Azali of Comoros is taking over the baton of command from H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, who has concluded his term as the Chairperson of the African Union for the year 2022.
The symbolic ceremony took place in the presence of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Deputy Chairperson of the AUC, H.E Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), representatives of the Regional Economic Commission, dignitaries and invited guests as well as the AU staff.
The composition of the new bureau of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union for 2023 as presented by the Dean of the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) is as follows:
– Chairperson of the African Union (AU) – H.E Azali Assoumani Union of Comoros (East African region)
– First Vice Chair of the Union – (Northern Region), consultations are still ongoing;
– Second Vice Chair of the Union – Republic of Botswana, (Southern Region);
– Third Vice Chair of the Union – Republic of Burundi, (Central Region); and
– Rapporteur – Republic of Senegal – (West African region);
In his handing over speech, President Macky Sall, wished the new AU Chairperson, a successful Chairmanship and thanked the Heads of States of AU Member States as well as the AU outgoing bureau, for their support during the tenure of his mandate which he said, was marked by the prevailing sanitary crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
President Sall highlighted some of the achievements under his Chairmanship of the Union notably, the economic empowerment of women and youths, and the enhancement of democracy and good governance, among other development programs under Agenda 2063.