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The 2023 African Union Summit in Addis Ababa

The African Union (AU) will hold its 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from February 18 to 19, 2023. Somalia President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, is among the African leaders who are attending this historic Summit.

The summit themed “The Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation,” aims to generate political commitment to trade as a developmental agenda in Africa.

The AFCFTA aims to emancipate Africa’s economy, promote the inclusion of women and youth, and foster the growth of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

Three operational tools have been launched to help facilitate trade under the AFCFTA. They are the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative, the AfCFTA Adjustment Fund, and the Pan African Payment System (PAPSS).

Some of the issues up for discussion at the convention include AU institutional reforms, global political, financial, and energy policy governance, the food crisis, and the AU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.

So far numerous heads of state have arrived at Addis Ababa, ahead of the convention. Similarly, the United States (US) has dispatched a team of envoys to the summit.

According to a statement from the US Department of State, the envoys will meet with stakeholders to discuss the global food security crisis.

The U.S. delegation will meet with stakeholders to discuss the global food security crisis and its disproportionate impact on Africa as well as to follow up on U.S. commitments made at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit,” the statement read in parts.

“The U.S. delegation will reinforce U.S. commitment to advance food security and highlight the ongoing work through the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative, and efforts to scale up work on climate-resilient agriculture and soil health, including upcoming work on the “Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS),” it went on.

The delegation is led by Molly Phee, the US assistant secretary for Africa, and includes former US ambassador to Kenya Johnnie Carson, US Special Envoy for Global Food Security Cary Fowler, USAID Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Africa Monde Muyangwa, acting USAID Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau of Resilience and Food Security Dina Esposito, and US Global Aids Coordinator and Special Representative for Health Diplomacy John Nkengasong.

Meanwhile, Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso are lobbying for re-admission to the AU. Foreign ministers from the three countries met with members of the African Union Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa in an attempt to rejoin the union. The countries, along with Sudan, were suspended as a result of coups in their respective countries.

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