Conflicts in Burundi and Libya, xenophobia, migration and terrorism will be high on the agenda at the upcoming African Union summit taking place this week in Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Center in South Africa.
Crisis hotspots in South Sudan, Mali, Kenya, Somalia and Nigeria are also expected to be taken up at the gathering of national leaders, which was to have spotlighted women under the theme “The Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2063.”
AU Commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had been expected to report on progress with the various initiatives she has launched toward gender parity and women’s empowerment, including the role of women in peace and security.
At the summit, the South African government will be asked to explain its position on the anti-foreigner attacks and indicate what steps are being taken to prevent these incidents from happening again. “It is impossible for them not to discuss xenophobia,” observed a high-ranking AU diplomat.
Also in the minds of many Africans is the fate of thousands of African migrants in often fatal efforts to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
Addressing reporters Monday in Pretoria, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana Mashabane added the eradication of poverty to the top of the agenda.
“It’s going to take our will to fold [up] our sleeves, pull [up] our socks, particularly our younger generation, and work for the prosperity of this continent and total poverty eradication through radical economic transformation into your own hands,” said Mashabane.
Further, the ongoing standoff between the AU leadership and the International Criminal Court is likely to resurface, with planned demonstrations by civil society organizations against the possible presence of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.