South Africa as Chair of AU 2020 and Non-Permanent Member of UNSC: Revisiting Expectations and Aspirations
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H.E. President Ramaphosa was elected Chairperson of the African Union for 2020 on February 9 at the opening of the 33rd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government. South Africa took over the rotational chair of the African Union (AU) in 2020, following on Egypt, which took over the chair of the continental organ in 2019. In his acceptance speech, H.E. President Ramaphosa, stated that South Africa has set key priorities to heighten the progress that is already underway during the African Decade of Action. Among these is deepening the unity of African continent and advancing inclusive economic growth integration and sustainable development. The continent should work towards ensuring political and economic unity, good governance, and peace strengthened by supporting integration, industrialization, economic development, trade and investment.
Working closely with President Mahamadou Issofou of Niger in his capacity as the AU Champion on the AfCFTA, South Africa also planned to work for the finalization of outstanding issues around the agreement.
Advancing women’s economic and financial inclusion, addressing the scourge of gender-based violence and ensuring accountability to global gender commitments. In this regards,H.E. President Ramaphosa stated Africa should look for more practical and sustainable ways of empowering the women of our continent.
In promotion of peace and security to Silence the Guns, South Africa set to focus efforts on conflict resolution across the African continent, especially those experiencing protracted conflicts through the AU Peace and Security Council, the AU Commission and the collective membership. South Africa also planned host the Extra-Ordinary Summit on Silencing of the Guns in May 2020 to look at the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap, and at the same time respond to emerging circumstances on the African peace and security landscape.
Moreover, H.E. President Ramaphosa stated South Africa will champion the positioning of Africa as a strong, resilient and influential global player, and advancing AU-UN cooperation. With the view to ensure that Africa continues to play an even greater role on the world stage. In line with this, South Africa will continue to assert the primacy of multilateralism in world affairs which calls for continued advancement of through strengthening the AU’s relationship with the United Nations (UN). Focus on the reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC), advancing the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), and giving effect to the 2016 UN commitments on HIV/Aids will be priorities in this regard.
This indaba session I being held to unpack what has been achieved by South Africa in it year of tenure as AU Chairperson also taking into account the impact of COVID-19 on its intended plans and actions. Similarly, the session will also try to discuss South Africa’s role as a Non-permanent member of UNSC. Last but not list discussions will also look at what should be prioritized in the coming months to ensure impact.
- H.E. Ambassador Edward Xolisa Makaya, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa and Permanent Representative to the African Union and UNECA, Ethiopia.