Africa: SA to Chair AU Executive Council Meeting

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Dr Naledi Pandor is set to preside over the 21st Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU) today.

Pandor will preside over the session in her capacity as the Chairperson of the Executive Council of the AU.

"The meeting of the Executive Council is held in preparation for the upcoming 13th and 14th Extraordinary Summits on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), and on Silencing the Guns in Africa, which will be held on 05 an 06 December 2020, respectively," said the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) on Wednesday.

The Executive Council will consider the draft decision and draft declaration to be adopted by the Extraordinary Summit which will operationalise the start of trade under the AfCFTA on 1 January 2021.

This includes the finalised schedules of tariff concessions by Member States and Customs Unions that have ratified the AfCFTA, the agreed rules of origin and the customs documentation necessary for the start of preferential trade.

Outstanding work on tariff offers, rules of origin and the services offers will form part of the agenda to be concluded by June 2021.

Guided by the theme of the AU for the year, "Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa's Development", the Executive Council will also make an assessment of the peace and security situation on the continent.

"In this regard, the Executive Council will consider the proposed review of the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa.

"The Executive Council will recommend measures to be adopted by the Extraordinary Summits to resolve old and recent conflicts, and prevent new ones, in order to create conducive conditions to advance Africa's socio-economic development," said DIRCO.

The South African delegation will be led by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, joined by DIRCO Deputy Minister Candith Mashego-Dlamini.

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