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The Chairperson of the African Union is the ceremonial head of the African Union elected by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government for a one-year term.[1] It rotates among the continent's five regions.

Chairperson of the
African Union
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in 2017.jpg
Incumbent
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

since 10 February 2019
Appointerthe Assembly
Term lengthOne year
Inaugural holderThabo Mbeki
Formation9 July 2002
DeputyBureau
Websitewww.au.int/en

A candidate must be supported by at least two-thirds of the member states or by consensus. The chairperson is expected to complete the term without interruption; hence eligible countries with impending elections may be ineligible.[2]

Contents

HistoryEdit

In 2002, South African President Thabo Mbeki served as the inaugural chairman of the union. The post rotates annually amongst the five geographic regions of Africa; and over the years it has assumed the following order: East, North, Southern, Central and West Africa.

In January 2007, the assembly elected Ghanaian President John Kufuor over Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir due to the ongoing Conflict in Darfur.[3][unreliable source?] The government of Chad threatened to withdraw its membership if Sudan assumed the chair. Some had suggested Tanzania as a compromise candidate from the East African region. By consensus, Ghana was elected instead as it was celebrating its 50th independence anniversary that year.[4]

In January 2010, Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi unsuccessfully tried to extend his tenure by an additional year,[5] saying more time was needed in order to implement his vision for a United States of Africa - of which he was a strong proponent. Libya was at the time one of the largest financial supporters of the AU.[6] The election of Equatoguinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in January 2011 was criticized by human rights activists as it undermined the AU's commitment to democracy.[7]

Congolese Republic President Denis Sassou Nguesso and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe have both led the AU and its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity during the terms 1986–88 and 2006–07, and 1997–98 and 2015–16 respectively.[8][9]

In February 2019, South Africa was elected as the incoming chair and will take over in 2020.[10]

RoleEdit

The incumbent is the ceremonial head of the AU and in this capacity, chairs the biannual summits and represents the continent in various international fora such as TICAD, FOCAC, G8 and G20 summits.

List of ChairpersonsEdit

# Portrait Chairperson Took Office Left Office Country Region
1   Thabo Mbeki[11] 9 July 2002 10 July 2003   South Africa Southern Africa
2   Joaquim Chissano[12] 10 July 2003 6 July 2004   Mozambique Southern Africa
3   Olusegun Obasanjo[13] 6 July 2004 24 January 2006   Nigeria West Africa
4   Denis Sassou Nguesso[14] 24 January 2006 24 January 2007   Republic of Congo Central Africa
5   John Kufuor[2] 30 January 2007 31 January 2008   Ghana West Africa
6   Jakaya Kikwete[15] 31 January 2008 2 February 2009   Tanzania East Africa
7   Muammar Gaddafi[16] 2 February 2009 31 January 2010   Libya North Africa
8   Bingu wa Mutharika[17] 31 January 2010 31 January 2011   Malawi Southern Africa
9   Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo[18] 31 January 2011 29 January 2012   Equatorial Guinea Central Africa
10   Yayi Boni[19] 29 January 2012 27 January 2013   Benin West Africa
11   Hailemariam Desalegn[20] 27 January 2013 30 January 2014   Ethiopia East Africa
12   Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz[21] 30 January 2014 30 January 2015   Mauritania North Africa
13   Robert Mugabe[22] 30 January 2015 30 January 2016   Zimbabwe Southern Africa
14   Idriss Déby[23] 30 January 2016 30 January 2017   Chad Central Africa
15   Alpha Condé[24] 30 January 2017 28 January 2018   Guinea West Africa
16   Paul Kagame[25] 28 January 2018 10 February 2019   Rwanda East Africa
17   Abdel Fattah el-Sisi[10] 10 February 2019 Incumbent   Egypt North Africa

BureauEdit

The Chairperson is assisted by a bureau of four vice chairpersons including a rapporteur.[10]

Portrait Incumbent Country Region Title
  Cyril Ramaphosa   South Africa Southern Africa First Vice Chairperson
  Félix Tshisekedi   Democratic Republic of the Congo Central Africa Second Vice Chairperson
  Mahamadou Issoufou   Niger West Africa Third Vice Chairperson
  Paul Kagame   Rwanda East Africa Fourth Vice Chairperson (Rapporteur)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "African Union Handbook" (PDF). African Union. 2014. p. 15.
  2. ^ a b "President Kufuor elected Chairman of AU". Accra: Ghana News Agency. 29 January 2007. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  3. ^ "African Union Chooses Kufuor Over Bashir for Chairman". Yahoo! Voices. 29 January 2007. Archived from the original on 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  4. ^ "Sudan loses AU chair over Darfur". Mail and Guardian. South Africa. 29 January 2007. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  5. ^ "Gaddafi fails in bid to remain African Union chair". Addis Ababa: Reuters. 31 January 2010. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  6. ^ "African Union row over Muammar Gaddafi's role". BBC News. 28 January 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Equatorial Guinea President Named African Union Head; Rights Groups Object". Bloomberg News. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  8. ^ "President voted AU deputy chair". The Herald. Zimbabwe. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Mugabe Scores A Feat, Set To Head AU at 91". radiovop.com. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  10. ^ a b c "The 32ND African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit Kicks Off". African Union. 10 February 2019. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  11. ^ Babarinde, Olufemi (April 2007). "The EU as a Model for the African Union: the Limits of Imitation" (PDF). miami.edu.
  12. ^ "High hopes for AU Maputo Assembly". ANC Today. 4–10 July 2003. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  13. ^ "Obasanjo Elected AU Chairman". Addis Ababa: Vanguard. 7 July 2004. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  14. ^ "CONGO: Profile of Denis Sassou-Nguesso, new AU head". Brazzaville: IRIN. 24 January 2006. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  15. ^ Appel, Michael (2 February 2008). "Kikwete takes over AU Chair". Pambazuka News. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  16. ^ "Gaddafi vows to push Africa unity". BBC News. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  17. ^ "Malawi president takes over as AU president". AFP. 31 January 2010. Archived from the original on 2011. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  18. ^ Hennig, Rainer Chr. (1 February 2011). "New AU leader Obiang calls criticism un-African". Afrol News. Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  19. ^ "President Thomas Yayi Boni elected as Chairperson of the African Union for 2012" (PDF) (Press release). Addis Ababa: Directorate of Information and Communication, African Union Commission. 29 January 2012.
  20. ^ Stainburn, Samantha (28 January 2013). "Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia's PM, is new African Union Assembly chairman". GlobalPost. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  21. ^ "President Abdel Aziz of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania elected African Union Chairperson". Addis Ababa: African Union. 30 January 2014.
  22. ^ "Zimbabwe's Mugabe, 90, becomes African Union chairman". Reuters. 30 January 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  23. ^ African Union [@_AfricanUnion] (30 January 2016). "Prez Idriss Itno Déby of #Chad takes over as #AU Chairperson" (Tweet). Retrieved 30 January 2016 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ "President Alpha Conde of Guinea Has Been Elected New Chairperson of the African Union (AU)". African Union. 30 January 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  25. ^ "President Paul Kagame, Elected as New Chairperson of the African Union for the year 2018". African Union. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2018.

External linksEdit