Discover the World News Forecast . . . FIRST in Foresight Journalism

ADDIS ABABA 27-28 Jan 2013 20th African Union leaders meet
African leaders meeting in January can applaud twin landmarks – it is the 20th AU Ordinary Summit, and it will be chaired by a woman, Nkosaza

January 27, 2013 - NULL

ADDIS ABABA 27-28 Jan 2013 20th African Union leaders meet
African leaders meeting in January can applaud twin landmarks - it is the 20th AU Ordinary Summit, and it will be chaired by a woman, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for the first time. The theme, Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance" reflects the bloc's continuing quest for a more powerful and united voice. Consensus on the conflicts that bedevil Africa is elusive, but the leaders have found agreement in areas that include the need to fast-track a Continental Free Trade Area, reform the United Nations, and set up an African space agency

ADDIS ABABA 27-28 Jan 2013 20th African Union leaders meet
African leaders meeting in January can applaud twin landmarks - it is the 20th AU Ordinary Summit, and it will be chaired by a woman, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for the first time. The theme, Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance" reflects the bloc's continuing quest for a more powerful and united voice. Consensus on the conflicts that bedevil Africa is elusive, but the leaders have found agreement in areas that include the need to fast-track a Continental Free Trade Area, reform the United Nations, and set up an African space agency. The Abuja Declaration on Aviation Safety in Africa awaits ratification at the 20th summit. Dlamini-Zuma can present Somalia as a success of AU-assisted diplomacy.
South Africa's home affairs minister, she beats incumbent Jean Ping of Gabon for the AU chairmanship in July, ending months of deadlock. According to Britain's Guardian newspaper, she faces the challenge of revitalizing a body often criticized for its slow and ineffective response to crises such as the Libyan and Ivory Coast crises in 2011.

As the continent with the largest number of member states Africa has been centrally engaged in the debate about the reform of the United Nations. In Mar 2005 Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for the most sweeping reforms of the UN system in its history and won agreement on several at the 14-16 Sep World Summit at UN headquarters in New York. The 153 heads of state and government agreed to create a number of new institutions to strengthen UN peace and security activities. The AU contribution to the debate, a common position agreed at the Mar 2005 AU summit, was outlined in the "Ezulwini Consensus."

The African Union has been working on a roadmap for an African space agency, called AfriSpace. The idea recently received a boost when South Africa was awarded the lion's share of the Square Kilometre Array, the world's biggest radio telescope. The project will see dishes erected in nine African countries.

In May 2012, IATA, with the International Civil Aviation Organization and other organizations committed to an Africa Strategic Improvement Action Plan aimed at addressing safety deficiencies and strengthening regulatory oversight in the region by 2015. The goal of the plan is to achieve world-class safety levels across Africa by 2015. It was endorsed as part of the Abuja Declaration by the Ministerial meeting on Aviation Safety and Security of the African Union in July. The next step is ratification at the 20th AU summit.

In long-suffering Somalia, the provision of enough security for an election in 2012 represents a triumph for the AU Mission in Somalia, but Al-Shabab militants are far from defeated. For the present, the country has a president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and the foundation of a functioning government. Dlamini-Zuma might also present as a success of AU-assisted diplomacy a recent agreement between Sudan and South Sudan to allow emergency food aid into the disputed border region for refugees of the conflict. And the bloc has found enough unity to agree to take control of a regional force hunting Lord's Resistance Army chief Joseph Kony across the central African jungles.

AU disunity dogs efforts to attack the chronic turmoil in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali. (WRITTEN SEP 2012)

RELATED READING:

African Union chooses first female leader (Guardian 16 Jul 2012)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/16/african-union-first-female-leader

The common African position on the proposed reform of the United Nations (AU Mar 2005)
http://www.africa-union.org/News_Events/Calendar_of_%20Events/7th%20extra%20ordinary%20session%20ECL/Ext%20EXCL2%20VII%20Report.pdf

African Union takes over hunt for elusive rebel Joseph Kony (Radio Netherlands 19 Sep 2012)
http://www.rnw.nl/africa/bulletin/african-union-takes-over-hunt-elusive-rebel-joseph-kony

African leaders fail to agree on "neutral force" in Congo (Radio Netherlands 12 Aug 2012)
http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/african-leaders-fail-agree-%E2%80%9Cneutral-force%E2%80%9D-congo

Sudanese president calls for African space agency (Guardian 6 Sep 2012)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/06/sudanese-president-african-space-agency

Somalia wakes up to a different picture, a new sense of optimism (Guardian 19 Aug 2012)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/19/somalia-awakes-different-picture

Sudan reaches agreement on aid access to rebel-controlled areas (Guardian 8 Aug 2012)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/aug/08/sudan-agreement-aid-access-rebel-areas

AU declaration from 19th AU Summit Jul 2012
http://au.int/en/sites/default/files/Assembly%20AU%20Dec%20416-449%20(XIX)%20_E_Final.pdf

Abuja Declaration Chats the way forward (Nigerian Aviation News 19 Jul 2012)
http://nigerianaviationnews.blogspot.com/2012/07/aviation-safety-in-africa-abuja.html#!/2012/07/aviation-safety-in-africa-abuja.html

Date written/update: 2013-01-27