President Cyril Ramaphosa finished a successful working visit to Addis Ababa in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the president said in a statement this evening.
Ramaphosa led the high-level delegation of the cabinet of ministers of South Africa at the 32nd regular session of heads of state and government of the Assembly of the African Union (AU).
The meeting was held from 10 to 11 February on the theme: “The Year of Refugees, Repatriates, and International Displaced Persons: Towards Long-Term Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa”.
South Africa was elected as the Chair of the AU for 2020. Egypt is the chair for 2019. The chairmanship is determined annually on the basis of rotation between the five regions, and the southern one – as follows.
Ramaphosa also handed over the instrument of ratification, the formal approval by Parliament of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), the AU Commission.
AfCFTA was launched during an unusual summit of Heads of State and Government of the AU in Kigali, Rwanda, in March 2018. South Africa signed the agreement in July 2018 in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and has now submitted an instrument of ratification to Mousse Faki Mahamat. Chairman of the AU Commission.
According to the president, this move demonstrates South Africa’s mandatory and unshakable commitment to implementing AfCFTA, which will eliminate trade barriers, strengthen intra-African trade and create an integrated and diversified market with a GDP of about 3.3 trillion. U.S. DOLLAR.
The meeting also received reports on a number of issues, including institutional reform and financing of the continental body; peace and security on the continent; developments related to the African continental free trade zone; and negotiations on a new cooperation agreement between the European Union and the developing countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific after 2020.
The African Union immortalized the former Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, better known as one of the founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) of 1963, revealing a memorial statue in recognition of his contribution to the liberation and unity of Africa.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Ramaphosa took part in a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), convened by the Chairman of SADC and Namibian President Hage Geingob. The meeting received reports on the consolidation of SADC political efforts in support of SADC member states and on the progress made in implementing the institutional reform of the African Union and in negotiating a partnership agreement.
Ramaphosa held bilateral talks with several heads of state and government, including the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Zimbabwe, Republic of Mozambique, Republic of Mali, Kingdom of eSwatini and the Republic of Rwanda. He also met with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the leading entrepreneur of the software industry, the humanitarian and philanthropic society Bill Gates.