African leaders jet into Johannesburg for AU summit
A report from the AU secretariat, said 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.
The secretariat said on Thursday in Johannesburg Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, was expected to preside over the meeting as the AU chairman.
It said some of the issues to discuss at the summit include the crisis in Burundi.
It said the African leaders would address the stand-off that has trailed President Pierre Nkurunzinza’s decision to stand for a third term, in spite of the constitution limits.
The report said AU was 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”, it said.
It said the leaders who would sit for their Ordinary Assembly scheduled for Sunday and Monday would 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 the plan to set up the structure by 2017.
The proposed CFTA was reportedly a key component of the AU’s strategy to boost trade within the region by at least 25 per cent 30 per cent 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 opportunities available in the short, medium and long term.
It said year 2063 would mark 100 years since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, the precursor of the AU.
The AU secretariat said that the 10-member committee appointed by the AU to press for the reform of United Nations Security Council was expected to report to the summit on its work.
The AU wanted to have permanent representation on the council and argues that UN structures can no longer debate issues affecting Africa without Africa’s involvement.
The secretariat also said that funding of the AU would also be addressed.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, AU Commission Chairperson wants the organisation to be financially self-sufficient, believing the group’s 54-member states should provide the much-needed financing.