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Ethiopia hosts 14th Ordinary African Union summit

February 25, 2010 - ADDIS ABABA

When the leaders of African Union countries gather in Addis Ababa, football could be the hottest topic. A good deal of Africa's prestige is riding on the success of the soccer 2010 FIFA World Cup, hosted by member country South Africa, and the leaders will be eager to hear that country's report on the preparations. Concerns about Niger, Guinea and Sudan could displace the official summit theme: Information and Communication Technologies in Africa.

When the leaders of African Union countries gather in Addis Ababa, football could be the hottest topic. A good deal of Africa's prestige is riding on the success of the soccer 2010 FIFA World Cup, hosted by member country South Africa, and the leaders will be eager to hear that country's report on the preparations. Concerns about Niger, Guinea and Sudan could displace the official summit theme: 'Information and Communication Technologies in Africa." When South Africa's winning bid for the World Cup was announced, the widespread reaction was that the country doesn't have the wherewithal to stage the world's most widely followed sporting spectacle. The country set out to dispel doubts, and in Jun 2009 it held a successful FIFA Confederations Cup, the prelude to the World Cup. Political unrest is reported in Niger, where President Mamadou Tandja has decided to go for a third term, after amending the country's constitution to enable him to contest the election. West Africa's regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, suspended the country in October because of Tandja's efforts to tighten his grip on power. ECOWAS is expected to ask the African Union to support the punative measures. There has been tension in Guinea where Capt. Moussa Camara, who took over power in a bloodless coup following the death of President Lasana Conte in December 2008, has declared his intention to contest in the forthcoming presidential election. Sudan is also looming again as another headache. In Darfur, rebels and Sudanese government troops are said to be massing, and a new wave of bloodshed is expected. In line with the official summit theme, the bloc and key partners, such as the International Telecommunication Union, the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the EU, are collaborating to interconnect capitals and major African cities with ICT broadband infrastructure and to strengthen connectivity to the rest of the world by 2012. African Union heads of state and government come together twice a year to make policy decisions affecting the Continent. Oct/09

Yar'Adua Tasks Continent to Win 2010 World Cup (AllAfrica 16 Oct 2009)

Ruling party sweeps Niger election (AFP 23 Oct 2009)

Peacekeepers warn of military build up in Darfur (Reuters 20 Oct 2009)

African Union

Date written/update: 2010-02-25