South Africa: African leaders jet into Johannesburg for African Union Summit

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – More than 50 African heads of state have begun arriving in South Africa ahead of the 25th African Union (AU( Summit which gets underway in Johannesburg on Friday.

For the 2015 Summit, Zimbabwe is sitting in the chairperson’s seat and President Robert Mugabe is expected to preside over busy agenda. These will include the crisis in Burundi where African leaders will address the stand-off that has followed President Pierre Nkurunzinza’s decision to stand for a third term, despite the fact that the constitution limits him to two.

The AU is expected to emerge with a strong campaign against terror groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria and al-Shabaab in Kenya. The terrorist groups have killed hundreds of people, displaced thousands and destroyed many.

The AU leaders who will sit for their ordinary assembly scheduled for Sunday and Monday will also address the finalisation of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) which the AU wants in place by 2017.

The 2012 summit in Addis Ababa, under the theme "Boosting intra-African trade", endorsed a plan to set up the structure by 2017. The proposed CFTA is reportedly a key component of the AU's strategy to boost trade within the region by at least 25% to 30% in the next decade.

Another issue under the spotlight is Agenda 2063, an approach to how the continent should learn from the lessons of the past and take advantage of the opportunities available in the short, medium and long term to achieve a prosperous Africa by 2063. That year will mark 100 years since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, the precursor of the AU.

A 10-member committee appointed by the AU to press for the reform of United Nations Security Council is expected to report back to the summit on its work. The AU wants to have permanent representation on the council, and argues that the UN structure can no longer debate issues affecting Africa without Africa's involvement.

The funding of the AU will also be addressed. AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma wants the organisation to be financially self-sufficient and she believes the group's 54-member states should provide the much-needed financing.
-0- PANA CU/VAO 11June2014

11 june 2015 14:00:57

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