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Congolese President elected new African Union chairperson

Author: Daniel Danis | Published: Sunday, February 7, 2021

President Félix Tshisekedi of DR Congo, new AU chairperson. Courtesy

President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been elected the new chairperson of the continental body, African Union.

Mr. Tshisekedi who will serve for one year took over on Saturday from his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa.

The African Union began its 34th summit on Saturday.

The two-day meeting of the 55-member pan-African bloc is being held virtually [online] due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Félix Tshisekedi became the President of DR Congo on 25 January 2019, replacing Joseph Kabila.

As he begins his tenure as the head of the AU, he is expected to tackle is the coronavirus pandemic which has exposed the weak healthcare systems and the fragility of the economies in Africa.

According to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), The continent has recorded 3.5 percent of global Covid-19 cases and 4 percent of global deaths.

Many African countries are battling second waves with South Sudan recently re-imposing tough lockdown measures to control the spread of the virus.

Although vaccination programmes have begun in some countries on the continent, some are struggling to procure sufficient vaccine doses.

The President of South African, Cyril Ramphosa on Saturday told the AU summit that the continent needs to have access to loans on favourable terms from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Other issues expected to be discussed during the summit are the Nile Dam dispute between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

The leaders are also expected to touch on security issues in South Sudan, Somalia, the Sahel, Libya, Ethiopia’s Tigray region, and the Central African Republic.

The current chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat is also up for reelection during the summit. He is the sole candidate for a second and the last four-year term.

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