South Africa will host the 25th African Union (AU) summit in Johannesburg, in mid-2015, the country’s Presidency said on Sunday.
President Jacob Zuma led the South African delegation to Ethiopia, where Zimbabwe was elected chair of the AU for the year.
Zimbabwe will have the double responsibility of leading both the continent and the sub-region as chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Among the issues discussed at the summit were the escalation in terrorism in parts of Africa and the AU’s co-ordinated response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Zuma took part in the discussion on security, focusing on the situation in the Great Lakes Region, South Sudan and the threat posed by Boko Haram in Nigeria and the surrounding countries. He said the countries of the Lake Chad Basin (Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger) have established a multinational force and sought endorsement from the AU.
The security council agreed to the establishment of this force and that requisite funding be provided, Zuma said.
A special SADC meeting took place on the margins of the summit to consider the current developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes Region. The need to disarm “negative forces” in the region was also discussed at summit level.
In regard to South Sudan, Zuma stated that member states of the inter-governmental authority on development met on the sidelines of the AU summit in an attempt to finalise the agreement related to the modalities on how the government of South Sudan
would be structured.
“A report on the situation in South Sudan will be presented to the AU peace and security council once negotiations, which are at a
delicate stage at the moment, are concluded,” Zuma said.
The summit also reviewed the progress made in addressing the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone). It reiterated the need to urgently establish the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention this year, Zuma said.
Meanwhile, Zuma says his Nigerian counterpart, Goodluck Jonathan, did not approach him for help in the fight against Boko Haram during the AU summit. The AU resolved to create a West African task force to counter the jihadists.
The President states that there hasn’t been any request until they met at the Security Council meeting. He confirms though that there is a meeting request between him and Jonathan, saying: “if that meeting doesn’t happen, we will wait for a memo to be sent to South Africa and hear what the envoy says.”