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President Uhuru in Addis for AU summit, to present malaria report

President Uhuru Kenyatta arrives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on February 5, 2022, for the 35th session of the African Union Heads of State. [Courtesy]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the 35th session of the African Union Heads of State.

He will present the continent’s malaria progress report to fellow leaders, State House said in a statement on Saturday, February 5.

The 2021 World Malaria Report released by the WHO on December 6, 2021, revealed that malaria led to more total deaths than previously thought – 627,000 in 2020, a significant increase from the 409,000 deaths reported in 2019.

That increase was due, in part, to the revised number of malaria deaths among children under the age of 5, with malaria accounting for 7.8 per cent of deaths recorded in 2020, an increase from the previous 4.8 per cent.

The latest report also underscored that Africa shoulders a heavier burden of malaria than previously accounted for, with 96 per cent of global deaths (601,920) from the disease occurring in the African region in 2020.

Besides presenting the malaria progress report, President Kenyatta will have other engagements during the summit.

“Additionally, President Kenyatta will witness the transfer of AU's chairmanship from President Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo to President Macky Sall of Senegal, among other bilateral and multilateral engagements,” State House said on Twitter.

President Tshisekedi was, on February 6, 2021, during the 34th ordinary AU session held virtually, elected as the Union’s chairperson for 2021.

He succeeded South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, who had completed his term as the 2020 AU chairperson.

Tigray conflict

In a press statement dated Wednesday, February 2, President Kenyatta urged rivalling groups in Ethiopia’s Tigray region to call a truce that would bring to an end the one-year conflict.

Thousands of people have died during the war, reports indicate.

President Kenyatta said civilians in Ethiopia have been deprived of dignity as protagonists continue to fight.

Ethiopia’s national defence forces and allied militia have, since November 2020, been fighting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The 35th Ordinary Session is the first physical assembly of the Heads of State since Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic in 2020.