African Union Summit 2020 in Addis Ababa

The leaders of African Nations headed last weekend to Addis Ababa for the African Union Summit. The summit’s theme this time was “Silencing the guns: creating conducive conditions for Africa’s development” and the main points of discussion were indeed around the subject of peace in Africa and finding solutions to ensure security for the food supply in all the African countries. The link between the various conflicts and malnutrition is of course significant and various initiatives including some headed by the UN are attempting to address the issue of food security and nutrition in Africa to bolster the hope of avoiding conflicts in the region.

One of the discussed hotspots of the region was Libya and finding a solution to end the conflict. The African Union hopes to be able to play a part in the solution and discussions about the idea of an African peace force were confirmed to have taken place. The leaders are calling for an immediate cease-fire in Libya and for all external interference to cease, especially by respecting the arms embargo that is in place. The African Union will deploy observers and also move its mission to Tripoli which is the capital and the seat of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.

In attendance of the summit were also UN’s Secretary General António Gutierrez and maybe more surprisingly Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau. The Prime Minister is most certainly on a PR tour as Canada is trying to lobby for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. Trudeau will use this opportunity to discuss with several of the 54 African Leaders and try to secure their votes for the June session where Canada’s seat will be voted on. Trudeau brought along him the Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri who was raised in Nigeria and who already has close relationships with some of the African Leaders.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed welcomed all the leaders to the summit. The African Union has its headquarters in Addis Ababa and Ethiopia has become a significant economic and diplomatic player not only in the region, but even globally. Abiy himself is a key individual in working towards the summit’s theme and reducing violence while promoting economic growth and combating poverty. He also just won the Nobel Peace Prize for his involvement in the peace deal with Ethiopian neighbor Eritrea.

The meetings are wrapping up today in Addis Ababa and any decisions are expected to come out later in a form of a communique.

J Costa

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