President Ramaphosa arrives in Ethiopia for the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has today, Friday 17 February 2023, arrived in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, to attend the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly of Heads of State and Government to be held on 18 and 19 February 2023 under the theme of the AU for the year 2023: “Acceleration of AfCFTA Implementation”. 

It is expected that the Assembly will take stock of the progress made thus far in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) following the start of trading on 1 January 2021.

African Heads of State and Government are expected to reaffirm their commitment to the full implementation of the AfCFTA and the significance of accelerating the finalisation of outstanding issues – including, the Rules of Origin and supporting Protocols. 

The Assembly will also consider a myriad of thematic issues such as the report on the activities of the Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) and the state of peace and security in Africa; the election of the new Bureau of the AU Assembly for the year 2023; the AU Institutional Reform; appointments to various organs of the Union as well as reports of the leaders on specific thematic issues. 

The current Chair of the African Union, H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, will present the annual report of the chairperson as well as a report on global governance matters wherein the proposal for the AU to become a member of The Group of Twenty (G20) will be considered by the Heads of State and Government.  

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President Sall will also be handing over the chairship of the AU to the Island State of Comoros. 

South Africa’s participation is crucial to influence the strategic direction of the deliberations on some of the above-mentioned matters during the Summit, as well as the outcomes document in the form of the Assembly Decisions. 

President’s itinerary during the meeting

On 17 February 2023, President Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the Chair of the AU PSC, will chair a meeting to discuss the conflict in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

On 18 – 19 February 2023, during the Summit, President Ramaphosa and Chair of the AU PSC, will present the Report on the State of Peace and Security on the African Continent.  South Africa is currently the chair of the AU PSC for February 2023.

In his capacity as the AU Champion on Covid-19, the President will also present the Report on the AU Response to COVID-19 in Africa to the Assembly. The focus of the Report will be on concrete actions undertaken to contain the spread of the pandemic on the Continent. He is also expected to deliver the Progress Report on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Infrastructure Championing Initiative.

The President will be accompanied to the 36th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor.  The President will also be supported by Ministers Mondli Gungubele of the Presidency; Enoch Godongwana of Finance; Joe Phaahla of Health; Ebrahim Patel of Trade and Industry and Competition as well Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla of Defence and Military Veterans.

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The Assembly will be preceded by the 42nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council which will be held on 15 and 16 February 2023.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Presidency: Republic of South Africa.