Africa: AU Heads of State Summit Officially Kicks Off in Addis

AU Summit focuses on reforms, free trade area.

The 30th ordinary session of the assembly of heads of state and government of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa kicked off Sunday, attended by regional leaders.

Highlights of the assembly, attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta and a host of other regional leaders, will be the election of the new Bureau of the Assembly of the African Union and the new Chairperson of the African Union for 2019.

The opening ceremony will also feature among others, speeches and a keynote address by Alpha Conde, President of the Republic of Guinea and outgoing Chairperson of the African Union and the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

The summit will consider the report of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council, as well as adopt Assembly decisions and declarations in a closed session.

On Saturday, President Kenyatta urged Africa to play its part in funding an aggressive reform agenda to grow the continent and improve the lives of its people.

At a summit of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which he has chaired for the past two years, the President said Africa was making progress in improving its governance structures and institutions, but countries needed to up their game in funding continental initiatives.

President Kenyatta told fellow leaders in Ethiopia that member states should remit their annual contributions on time and pay up arrears.

APRM focuses on improved governance as a vehicle for accelerated development on the continent.

The President emphasized that "peer reviews" - in which countries assess each other's progress in governance -- will only maintain relevance and meaningfulness if they continue to deliver significant improvement in governance across the continent.

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