President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has delivered her final address at the 29th African Union Assembly as Liberia heads for democratic elections in October. An Executive Mansion release dated 5 July says President Sirleaf described the upcoming polls in Liberia as the first in decades in an environment that has witnessed eleven years of uninterrupted peace.
She, on behalf of the people of Liberia expressed profound appreciation for the regional and sub-regional support that brought Liberia to where it is today. “Much is owed to ECOWAS, to our African Union brothers and sisters and the United Nations Mission in Liberia for contributing to peacebuilding and consolidation with our economy largely restored; our debt sustainable and our nation full of hope and promise,” she noted.
The Executive Mansion says Mrs. Sirleaf’s closing remarks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia were characterized by standing ovation from African leaders and host of international guests.
President Sirleaf expressed deep appreciation for the opportunity to give closing remarks and speak to the distinguished AU body for the last time in her capacity as President of the Republic of Liberia.
She then extended heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Mr. Hailemariam Dessalegn, the Government and people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for their hospitality and kind courtesies during the hosting of sessions of the AU. She also acknowledged the African Union’s support in the fight against Ebola.
During the closing ceremony, two Commissioners of the AU Commission were sworn into office in person of Cameroon’s Agbor Sarah Mbi Enow Anyang who was elected to the post of Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology and Madagascar’s Victor Harrison who was elected as Commissioner for Economic Affairs.
In addition, three members were elected to the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption while Four others were elected as members of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
In his concluding remarks, Guinean President, Alpha Conde and current Chairperson of the African Union, urged Member States to execute the agreed additional 0.2% tax on imported items so as to ensure financial autonomy of the AU in line with the agreement reached earlier.
President Condé also stressed the need for Member States to implement the First Phase of the continental Free Trade Area by the end of 2017 while addressing the issue of tariff barriers.
The two-day summit reviewed reports on AU reforms, current peace and security on the continent, implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2018 AU budget, among others.
The 29th AU Summit agreed that the AU would be tasked with ensuring economic independence by generating job opportunities for Africa’s youth who have become affected due to illegal migration.
Meanwhile, the African Union Assembly appointed for the Western Africa Region, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Dr. Speciosa W. Kazibwe of Uganda, Mr. Armah Moussa of Egypt on AU’s Panel of the Wise.
Also appointed were Mrs. Catherine Samba-Panza from Central African Republic who was named on behalf of Central African Region and Mr. Hifikepunye Pohhamba, former President of Namibia for Southern Africa Region and will serve a three-year tenure.–Press release