Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Chairperson of the African Union, speaks at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, Jan. 28, 2018. Photo: Xinhua/Lyu Shuai
Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Sunday took over chairmanship of the African Union (AU) during the heads of state and government summit of the AU.
Kagame took over the chairmanship from Guinea's President Alpha Conde at the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government, within the framework of the 30th AU Summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The 30th AU summit held from Jan. 22 to 29 is being convened under the theme "Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa's Transformation."
Africa's defining challenge is to create a pathway to prosperity for its people, especially young people, said Kagame, who also leads the the chair of the Union for a one-year term, and the chairmanship rotates among the five sub-regions of the continent.
African countries need to work in unity, create a single continental market, integrate their infrastructure and infuse their economies with technology, said Kagame in his acceptance speech.
He called on African countries to create a single continental market, integrate infrastructure, infuse economies with technology and stay together.
Kagame also said AU's flagship initiatives, such as Agenda 2063, have tremendous value.
Africa is "nearly ready" to adopt the Continental Free Trade Area, said the new chairperson. "It really needs to be done this year."
According to him, freedom of movement for people in Africa "is achievable in 2018."
The following are the past chairpersons of the AU in chronological order and their positions when serving as the chairperson.
-- Jan. 2017 to Jan. 2018, Alpha Conde, President of Guinea
-- Jan. 2016 to Jan. 2017, Idriss Deby, President of Chad
-- Jan. 2015 to Jan. 2016, Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe
-- Jan. 2014 to Jan. 2015, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of Mauritania
-- Jan. 2013 to Jan. 2014, Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia
-- Jan. 2012 to Jan. 2013, Thomas Yayi Boni, President of Benin
-- Jan. 2011 to Jan. 2012, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea
-- Jan. 2010 to Jan. 2011, Bingu wa Mutharika, President of Malawi
-- Feb. 2009 to Jan. 2010, Muammar Gaddafi, leader of Libya
-- Jan. 2008 to Jan. 2009, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania
-- Jan. 2007 to Jan. 2008, John Kufuor, President of Ghana
-- Jan. 2006 to Jan. 2007, Denis Sassou N'Guesso, President of the Republic of the Congo
-- July 2004 to Dec. 2005, Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria
-- July 2003 to July 2004, Joaquim Chissano, President of Mozambique
-- July 2002 to July 2003, Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa.