Ramaphosa announced as African Union chair for 2020

JUST IN: President leaves for Ethiopia

President Cyril Ramaphosa attended the unveiling ceremony of the statue of former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, organised by the African Union (AU) during the 32nd ordinary session of the assembly of heads of state and government at the AU new complex in Addis Ababa.

Continental leaders, including President Cyril Ramaphosa, will urge him to push administrative and financial reforms introduced by his predecessor Rawanda's President Paul Kagame.

As usual, the continent's multiple security crises will be high on the VIPs' agenda.

The session was scheduled to take place from February 10 to 11 under the theme "The year of refugees, returnees, and worldwide displaced persons - towards durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa", the presidency said in a statement.

Mr. Malanji also announced during his stay in Addis Ababa, President Lungu was scheduled to hold various bilateral meetings with the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, the AU Chairperson of the Commission, Mr. Moussa Faki and other regional Heads of State.

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An African diplomat told AFP that Egypt - along with fellow heavyweights South Africa and Nigeria - does not want a powerful AU.

The near year-long lockout from the AU came after Egypt's army deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who in 2012 had become the country's first democratically elected president.

Reform of the AU Commission is an even more sensitive topic.

Kagame suffered a crushing blow from the AU after expressing "serious doubts" about the results of the Democratic Republic of Congo's recent presidential election, which was officially won by Felix Tshisekedi.

"This whole thing was an embarrassment for the AU, it showed the limitations of what the AU chairperson can do", said Jobson. "Under his leadership the country has undergone a catastrophic decline in rights and freedoms", said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty's North Africa campaign director.

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