ADDIS ABABA – The Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) have elected Felix Tshisekedi, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as the new Chairperson of the African Union for the year 2021.
On behalf of the outgoing President of the Union, the symbols of the pan African bloc were presented physically to the incoming Chair by the AUC Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat.
The flag of the African Union was also handed over virtually by the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa.
Under the Chairmanship of the DRC, the new bureau of the Assembly of the AU for 2021-2022 will constitute Senegal, Comoros, and Egypt as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd vice-chairs respectively. South Africa will be the Rapporteur.
In his acceptance speech, President of DRC Tshisekedi said it is a unique privilege for his country to be given this opportunity as Chair of the African Union, calling it a highly significant moment.
“We are celebrating the sixty years of the disappearance of a worthy son of the Congo and Africa, Mr. Patrice Émery Lumumba, who strongly believed in the great destiny of Africa,” he said.
President Tshisekedi also commended the unrelenting mobilizing efforts of President Cyril Ramaphosa to fight the OVID19, while admiring the hospitality of the host of AU, Ethiopia, and the warm welcome given to him by Moussa Faki Mahamat.
The new AU Chairperson pinpointed the significance of the theme of the year – ‘Arts, Culture, and Heritage’. It constitutes the foundation of the African renaissance and offers the opportunity for Africans “to return to our roots”, he said.
In his last speech as chairman of the AU, South Africa’s President Ramaphosa also wished the president of DRC a successful Chairmanship. He also thanked the Heads of States of AU Member States as well as the AU outgoing bureau, for their support during his mandate.
Ramaphosa’s tenure was marked by COVID19 pandemic induced challenges.
From pandemics to climate change, from war to poverty, Africa needs to exert efforts to overcome shared problems through collective action, President Ramaphosa said.