The 31st African Union (AU) Summit has opened in Nouakchott, Mauritania with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa also making his second appearance on the continental platform since assuming reins of power in the country.
Addressing leaders at the opening ceremony, the AU Chairperson, Rwandan President Paul Kagame began his address by expressing his solidarity and sympathy with the president and people of Zimbabwe and other countries that recently experienced terror including Ethiopia, Nigeria and others.
He went on to emphasise the importance of the AU member countries ratifying and implementing the Continental Free Trade Area Treaty and free movement of people agreements earlier this year, saying the agreements allow Africans to interact freely and gain more dignity.
He also spoke about the measures that the continental body has put in place to reduce its 2019 budget by 12 percent and efforts Africa is taking to support its peacekeeping activities through the Peace Fund.
United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohamed said the UN welcomes Africa’s Agenda 2063 which complements the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.
She said Africa currently has a high economic growth rate compared to other parts of the world, with a huge potential of sustained growth in the sector.
Other presentations at the opening ceremony were made by host President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz and AU Commission Chairperson, Dr Moussa Faki Mahamat and the Prime Minister of Palestine who also expressed solidarity with Zimbabwe over the White City terror act, as well as the President of the Arab League.
President Mnangagwa met with other heads of state at a dinner hosted by Mauritanian head of state, Mr Abdel Aziz at State House on Saturday night.
The 31st AU summit continued behind closed doors after the opening speeches and a family photo session.
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