Over 50 African leaders to attend AU Summit

The 25th African Union (AU) Summit to launch with its motto "Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063" in South Africa

Over 50 African leaders to attend AU Summit

World Bulletin / News Desk 

Over 50 African heads of state are expected to arrive in South Africa on Friday to attend the 25th African Union (AU) Summit currently underway in Johannesburg, according to an AU official.

“We have invited all African heads of state and government to attend the summit,” Jean Mfasoni, secretary-general of the AU Commission, said Thursday.

He said the commission was gearing up to welcome visiting leaders starting Friday, with the exception of the president of the Central African Republic (CAR), whose AU membership was suspended following a 2013 coup.

Meanwhile, security has been beefed up at South Africa’s Waterkloof airbase in Pretoria, where heads of state will touch down between Thursday evening and Friday morning.

Security has also been stepped up at Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Center, where the summit is currently underway.

Several African government ministers and diplomats are currently at the summit venue to discuss a host of issues that will later be referred to their respective heads of state, who will meet on Sunday and Monday for further deliberations.

Ongoing conflicts in Africa are expected to dominate much of the discussion on Sunday.

“Several issues, including conflicts on the continent, will be raised, as well as [the issue of] terrorism, the crisis in the Middle East, and migration,” Mfasoni said Thursday.

He added that recent anti-immigrant attacks in South Africa, which left seven people dead and displaced thousands of African migrants, would also be on the agenda.

The anti-foreigner violence, which began in April in the coastal city of Durban, forced scores of migrants – from Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and other African countries – to leave South Africa.

The summit will also discuss plans for a Continental Free Trade Area that the AU hopes to establish by 2017. The AU endorsed the plan for a free trade area in 2012, in hopes that the scheme would bolster intra-Africa trade.

Mounting incidents of terrorism in the Horn of Africa region and West Africa will also be high on the summit’s agenda.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Haziran 2015, 16:21