African Union withstands “exceptional situation” caused by pandemic

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Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat has said that despite the “exceptional situation” caused by COVID-19, the bloc’s attention has not been diverted from Africa’s priority issues.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic “has totally changed the working methods of the AU, it has not diverted the attention of the Union from the continent’s priority issues,” Mahamat said during the 38th Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council held on Wednesday and Thursday.

Mahamat expressed his hope that “the year 2021, despite the concerns related to new variants of COVID-19, will be prosperous and more fruitful in terms of achieving the developmental objectives of the continent and the world in general.”

Listing a set of achievements in regional integration such as the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Single African Air Transport Market, the chairperson also emphasized notable achievements in other areas such as infrastructure, democratic governance, peace and security, institutional reform, health, social affairs and science and innovation.

“Building the future of our Union means harnessing ourselves, in a permanent concerted effort, to meet all these challenges, gradually, methodically, in the continuity of our Founding Fathers’ dream,” he added.

Naledi Pandor, chairperson of the African Union Executive Council, also minister of international relations and cooperation of South Africa, said in her opening remarks “While we are not yet at a level that allows a focus on post-COVID-19 recovery, it will be logical to use our precious unity to devise solutions that allow Africa to grow together.”

The virtual session of the AU Executive Council meeting under the theme of “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want” gathered ministers of the 55-member pan-African bloc to consider the draft agenda and declarations of the assembly with appropriate recommendations for consideration by the African Union heads of state and government, whose session is slated for Saturday and Sunday.

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