Azali Assoumani of Comoros Elected as New AU Chairperson

President Azali Assoumani of the Union of Comoros has taken over the rotating Chairperson of the African Union (AU) for 2023 during the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union held February 18 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

According to reports, Azali Assoumani was elected by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union as the new Chairperson of the African Union for the year 2023 during the official opening of the Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union.

In the ceremony, President Azali of Comoros took over the baton of command from Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, who has concluded his one-year term as the Chairperson of the African Union for the year 2022. 

The symbolic ceremony took place in the presence of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Deputy Chairperson of the AUC, Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), representatives of the Regional Economic Commission, dignitaries and invited guests as well as the AU staff.

The composition of the new bureau of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union for 2023 as presented by the Dean of the Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) as follows: 

Chairperson of the African Union (AU) – Azali Assoumani Union of Comoros (East African region); First Vice Chair of the Union – (Northern Region), consultations are still ongoing; Second Vice Chair of the Union – Republic of Botswana, (Southern Region); Third Vice Chair of the Union – Republic of Burundi, (Central Region); and Rapporteur – Republic of Senegal – (West African region).

In his handing over speech, President Macky Sall, wished the new AU Chairperson, a successful Chairmanship and thanked the Heads of States of AU Member States as well as the AU outgoing bureau, for their support during the tenure of his mandate which he said, was marked by the prevailing sanitary crisis caused by the COVID19 pandemic. 

President Sall highlighted some of the achievements under his chairmanship of the Union notably, the economic empowerment of the women and youths, the enhancement of democracy and good governance, among other development programs under Agenda 2063.

The outgoing Chair of the Union thanked the AUC Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat for his leadership and support, including all the members of the Commission. “Serving our continent has been a privilege and a great pride, because I believe in a united Africa, an Africa standing up, an Africa at work, an Africa in peace and confident in its future,” he said. 

President Macky Sall further underlined that “This has made him to be more determine and even more motivated, at the front of the fight for Africa, everywhere, for everything and all the time; because it is the responsibility conferred on us by the heritage of the pan-Africanism, to realize the dream of the founding fathers and the aspirations of our peoples.” 

In his acceptance speech, President Azali Assoumani said he appreciates the honor coupled with the responsibility and the trust invested in his person, and the members of the new bureau, to lead the destiny of the organization for the next one year.

“I thank you and assure you of our commitment to work together with all member countries in the exercise of our mandate” as indicated the incoming Chair of the Union. “I pay tribute to the founding fathers of the organization. Six decades later, their luminous vision continues to inspire our living together and to illuminate our united march towards the ideal of African integration,” he added.

President Assoumani further stated, with great emotion, that by allowing the Union of the Comoros to lead the African continent, the continental organization has just proved to the world its conviction that all countries have the same rights and enjoy the same freedoms. 

“It will not be easy to succeed him, but I will do my best to continue his work and, among other things, by favoring as he has always been able to do, dialogue, listening and gathering, essential conditions to make this mandate, that of the success of the continent,” he finally concluded.

The African Union spearheads Africa’s development and integration in close collaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens. The AU vision is to accelerate progress towards an integrated, prosperous and inclusive Africa, at peace with itself, playing a dynamic role in the continental and global arena, effectively driven by an accountable, efficient and responsive commission. The African Union sets for itself a comprehensive 50-year (2013 t0 2063) development program popularly referred to as African Agenda 2063.

Kester Kenn Klomegah
Kester Kenn Klomegah
MD Africa Editor Kester Kenn Klomegah is an independent researcher and writer on African affairs in the EurAsian region and former Soviet republics. He wrote previously for African Press Agency, African Executive and Inter Press Service. Earlier, he had worked for The Moscow Times, a reputable English newspaper. Klomegah taught part-time at the Moscow Institute of Modern Journalism. He studied international journalism and mass communication, and later spent a year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He co-authored a book “AIDS/HIV and Men: Taking Risk or Taking Responsibility” published by the London-based Panos Institute. In 2004 and again in 2009, he won the Golden Word Prize for a series of analytical articles on Russia's economic cooperation with African countries.