Addis Ababa, 10 February 2019

President Kagame today handed over the AU Chairmanship to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, marking the end of his one-year term as the leader of the Union.

Addressing Heads of State and Government from across the continent attending the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, President Kagame expressed his gratitude for the privilege entrusted to him of leading the Union.

“Our objective was to continue building a stronger and more capable African Union that is able to deliver on the pillars of Agenda 2063 and better represent Africa’s interests on the global stage. The steps forward that were achieved reflect the long-standing commitment and aspirations of Africa’s leaders and citizens. The Continental Free Trade Area was signed and now, less than one year later, it stands only weeks away from entry into force, thanks to the accelerating pace of ratification,” President Kagame said.

The Head of State commended Guinea-Bissau, Botswana, and Zambia for signing the CFTA during the ongoing Summit, and encouraged the signatories who have not yet ratified to do so at the earliest opportunity.

President Kagame highlighted that last year, Africa strengthened its partnerships with other regions, both in substance and tone.

“The relaunched Peace Fund now stands at $89 million, with 50 Member States contributing. This demonstrates the force of our collective resolve and ability. We will continue to work with the United Nations towards a sustainable mechanism for funding African-led peace support operations. I wish on this point, Mr. Secretary-General, to thank you for bringing the United Nations and the African Union into a strong partnership,” the President said.

President Kagame pointed out that the future of the global economy is digital.

“At this Summit, we will consider guidelines for a common African approach to digital identity management. The purpose of this initiative is to increase economic inclusivity and trust for our citizens, particularly in the context of growing regional integration. This is only the first step of what must be a consistent and comprehensive effort by the African Union, and all Member States, to prepare for the technologies that are remaking global commerce, especially artificial intelligence, robotics, data mining, and cybersecurity. We should not fear these changes or attempt to delay them. That would be futile and counter-productive. They are the future engines of productivity and prosperity for our youth,” President Kagame said.

The Head of State pledged his support to the incoming Chairperson of the Union and noted that with his peers’ support, there is no doubt that he will take the Union forward, to new and greater heights.

At the summit, President Kagame who is spearheading the AU institutional reforms presented a status update of the process.

Prior to the opening ceremony, President Kagame joined fellow Heads of State and Government for the unveiling of the Statue of Emperor Haile Selassie. The commemorative statue of Emperor Haile Selassie is an important recognition of the Emperor’s contribution to Africa’s liberation and unity leading up to the founding of the Organization of African Unity in 1963.

Later in the day, Kagame chaired a High-Level Meeting on Africa Agriculture Transformation Scorecard as a tool for shared learning and driving progress in Agriculture transformation on the Continent.