3 February 2015
South Africa will host the 25th African Union (AU) assembly in Johannesburg in June or July this year.
This was declared at the 24th AU summit, which ended on 31 January after deliberation on a number of issues and the Adoption of Agenda 2063, a vision and action plan towards a prosperous and peaceful Africa.
President Jacob Zuma led the South African delegation to the summit, where Zimbabwe was elected chair of the union for this year.
The theme was: “Year of women empowerment and development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”. The summit also focused on peace and security and the escalation of terrorism on parts of the continent, as well as the endorsement and adoption of Agenda 2063, whose 10-year action plan will be adopted at the next AU summit.
During the summit, the AU Peace and Security Council, of which President Jacob Zuma is a member, met to discuss security on the continent, focusing on the Great Lakes Region, South Sudan and the threat posed by Boko Haram in Nigeria and the surrounding countries.
Regarding the growth and threat of terrorism by Boko Haram, Zuma said that the countries of the Lake Chad Basin – Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger – would establish a multinational force. “The council endorsed the establishment of this multinational force and decided that the requisite financial and material resources be provided for this mechanism,” Zuma said.
A special meeting of the Southern African Development Community took place on the margins of the summit to consider developments in Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes Region. The matter was also discussed at summit level, where it was decided that the negative forces in the region must be disarmed as a matter of priority.
Zuma said the “operationalisation and time frame for the disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration and repatriation of these negative forces” were among the key issues discussed by the leaders.
Focus on South Sudan, Ebola
On South Sudan, Zuma said member states of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development met on the sidelines of the summit in an attempt to finalise the agreement related to the modalities on how the government of South Sudan would be structured.
“A report on the situation in South Sudan will be presented to the AU Peace and Security Council once negotiations, which are at a delicate stage at the moment, are concluded.”
The summit also reviewed the progress in dealing with the Ebola outbreak in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Leaders reiterated the need to urgently establish an African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. It was agreed that this centre, which will co-ordinate medical research on the continent, should start running this year.
It was also agreed that assessed contributions would need to be adapted according to the gross domestic products of member states. Domestic sources of funding would be the prerogative of each member state according to their own financial structures.
Zuma stressed that it was imperative that the AU independently fund and implement its own programmes without conditions. To ensure the financial independence of the union, the summit established the AU Foundation to raise funds by member states and in partnership with business.