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Rwanda's President Kagame takes over as chair of African Union

By Betty Njeru and Xinhua | Published Mon, January 29th 2018 at 10:33, Updated January 29th 2018 at 10:37 GMT +3
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame. [Photo: Courtesy]

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has officially taken over as the new Chairman of the African Union (AU). The vote took place on Sunday during the Heads of State and Government Summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Kagame took over the chairmanship from Guinea's President Alpha Conde at the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government, within the framework of the 30th AU Summit.

The 30th AU summit held from January 22 to 29 is being convened under the theme "Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa's Transformation."

Africa's defining challenge is to create a pathway to prosperity for its people, especially young people, said Kagame, who also leads the chair of the Union for a one-year term, and the chairmanship rotates among the five sub-regions of the continent.

African countries need to work in unity, create a single continental market, integrate their infrastructure and infuse their economies with technology, said Kagame in his acceptance speech.

He called on African countries to create a single continental market, integrate infrastructure, infuse economies with technology and stay together.

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Kagame also said AU's flagship initiatives, such as Agenda 2063, have tremendous value.

Africa is "nearly ready" to adopt the Continental Free Trade Area, said the new chairperson. "It really needs to be done this year."

According to him, freedom of movement for people in Africa "is achievable in 2018."