Addis Ababa, 9 February 2019

A very good evening to all of you. There are just three things I would like to share with you tonight.

The first is that it is a pleasure and a privilege to be in Ethiopia, which is a second home for each of us, and indeed for every African.

Our organisation was founded here. Ethiopia has been elected as chair five times throughout its history, more than any other country. We always appreciate the generosity and patience of the people of Addis Ababa during our Summits.

I therefore thank the Government and people of Ethiopia, and our host the Prime Minister, for the warm hospitality we are enjoying tonight, and always.

Secondly, I wish to commend the Prime Minister. Excellency, the mark you have made on your country and our wider region in such a short time is indelible.

The foundation left by your predecessors was solid. And I am glad that you have brought the name of His Majesty the late Haile Selassie. But there are always new challenges, and Ethiopia is demonstrating that no test is too daunting when we come together and seek bold solutions.

Finally, I thank the Prime Minister for using this evening to bring us back to our diverse yet shared cultures, which are the most basic building block of our African unity. No matter where we travel on our continent, we easily recognise and embrace each other as Africans.

That is why we should have no doubt that, sooner or later — but hopefully sooner — the pillars of African integration will indeed come to fruition as our founders envisioned it.

Mr Prime Minister, I want to thank you again and to say again how happy we are to spend this evening together.