South Africa has handed over the chairship of the African Union (AU) to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The African Union summit this year is being held virtually for the first time because of the COVID -19 pandemic affecting the continent.
The opening session of the summit was chaired by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who requested for a moment of silence in honour of those who have succumbed to COVID-19 on the continent.
Ramaphosa hands over AU chairship to DRC President Félix Tshisekedi:
The two-day summit will have a very streamlined agenda. It will majorly discuss the progress of the continent in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most parts of the continent are awaiting vaccines.
Few countries like Morocco, Egypt and Seychelles have begun immunisation. The Africa Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has warned that a second wave that has hit the continent is proving to be more fatal.
The heads of state will also discuss the progress made on implementing institution reforms in the African Union. This year the continent will merge commissions and have six instead of eight.
Despite the gloom that the pandemic has cast, the summit has applauded some progress made in setting the African Continental Free Trade Area in motion , as well as efforts to bring peace and stability in parts of the continent.
It has, however, noted that conflicts persist in other areas and more needs to be done to silence the guns.