The 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government, that convenes in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from January 28 to 29, will therefore be chaired by President Paul Kagame in his capacity as Chairman of the Union.
He takes over from his Guinean counterpart, President Alpha Condé.
It will be the very first time that Rwanda will lead the Union since the latter was launched in 2002.
At the 27th AU summit in Kigali in July 2016, African leaders tasked President Kagame to lead a new effort to reform the AU Commission and the Union to make them more efficient.
The AU Chair is the ceremonial head of the Union elected by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government for a one-year term.
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and East African Community Affairs, Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe said the Chairmanship of President Kagame will accelerate the AU reforms programme which will allow his successors to continue on the same path, thus allowing Africa to reach its goal of self-sustenance and having its voice heard on the international scene.
Uduak Amimo, a broadcaster based in Kenya who covered Ethiopia and the AU for the BBC from 2009 to 2011, said President Kagame will bring a plain-speaking, hands-on, action-packed style to the continent that emphasises focused, responsible leadership and ownership of Africa’s development.
She said his style will have some African leaders uncomfortable because he will call them out, as he did “when they trooped to Europe for a security Summit on Africa.”
“He will lead from the front as he did in offering to resettle African migrants stranded in Libya and at risk of being enslaved,” Amimo said.
“In driving the reforms agenda at the AU, he will demand that attitude and mindsets change both at the commission itself and in how African leaders engage with and support the AU.