11 February 2019

Africa: South Africa Tapped to Chair African Union in 2020

analysis

South Africa is set for a big 2020 on the international stage after it was announced that its president (most likely Cyril Ramaphosa) will be chairing the African Union next year. It will also be footing the bills for a certain monarchy on its border with Mpumalanga, to play host to AU activities.

There were handshakes and jokes as President Cyril Ramaphosa took his place behind the small South African flag in the front row on the floor of the vast Nelson Mandela Plenary Hall at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa for the opening session of the 32nd African Union heads of state summit. Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, en route to his seat, paused a bit longer to chat, full of jokes, possibly reminiscing about the ANC's birthday bash in January 2018 which he came to attend in East London. Ramaphosa apparently reached out to Kenyatta himself on that occasion to pull the countries closer.

In the row behind Ramaphosa sat Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa. When he arrived moments before, he paused for a discussion with international relations and co-operation minister Lindiwe Sisulu - part of the six or seven-strong Cabinet delegation that travelled to Addis with Ramaphosa....

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