Ethiopian PM set to assume AU Presidency

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will make his first appearance at the African Union (AU) Summit Sunday, and will then assume the rotating AU presidency.

Ethiopia's candidacy was unanimously endorsed by the Eastern African regional bloc for the post, to succeed President Thomas Yayi Boni of Benin.

The 20th Ordinary Summit of the AU is being held under the theme of African renaissance, and will also prepare for the grand celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the continent's unity.

The AU chairmanship rotates on a regional basis among the five regional economic blocs in East, North, Central, South and West Africa.

The last East African state to hold the post was Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete in 2008.

The new chairman's first major test will be to convince the AU organs to approve a budget for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African  Unity, the precursor of today's African Union.

Diplomats said a budget of US$80 million, nearly a third of AU's annual budget of US$300 million, was not readily accepted during the Executive Council, comprising foreign ministers, who argued that the celebrations should not consume a bigger chunk of the budget because it would not boost economic growth in Africa.
-0- PANA AO/SEG 26Jan2013

26 january 2013 22:40:21

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