Le chef de l’État sénégalais Macky Sall a été nommé ce samedi à la présidence de l’Union africaine. A mandate that will not necessarily be easy because it comes at a time when West Africa is marked by a wave of coups d’état. Not to mention the thorny issue of terrorism in the Sahel and many other challenges that the continent must address.
Macky Sall takes over the African Union. The inauguration ceremony took place on Saturday 5 February during the 35th ordinary session of the institution’s summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
Created in 2002, the African Union is composed of 55 States members and works for the promotion of peace, democracy and economic and social development on the continent.
However, with the coups d’état perpetrated here and there in West Africa, the boycott of the decisions of regional institutions by the populations, the fight against terrorism and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senegalese chairman has a lot to do.
A mandate with big challenges
Macky Sall takes over from Félix Tshisekedi as chairman of the continental institution for the next twelve months. His convincing speech focused on the major concerns and challenges that the continent must address in the short term. “… Our challenges remain numerous and pressing, whether it be peace and security, the fight against terrorism, environmental protection, health and economic and social development,” acknowledged the Senegalese chairman.
Faced with the current political situation in West Africa, with the overthrow of democratic regimes, Macky Sall stresses that “the resurgence of coups d’état is a major threat to democracy and institutional stability on the continent. And to mitigate this phenomenon, the head of state of the land of teranga proposes a culture of dialogue as advocated by our ancestors. “Antagonisms scatter our efforts and delay us on the path of development. Common sense dictates that we silence the weapons and build a culture of dialogue and consultation within the framework of African conflict resolution mechanisms,” he said, before regretting the damage caused not only by these coup movements but also by the terrorism that is rampant in the Sahel. “We cannot look away from the lives lost, the families bereaved, the millions displaced or made refugees, the schools and health facilities closed and the social cohesion disintegrated. He called for a collective awareness of the need for peace and security on the continent. “I call for an examination of conscience to achieve the peace of the brave so that we can better devote ourselves to the other urgent matters that concern us.
On health, the new chairman of the African Union discusses the thorny issue of the response to VCT-19, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria and especially cancer. The latter is “a silent killer that causes nearly 20 million deaths per year worldwide, including more than 700,000 in Africa,” according to Macky Sall. Unfortunately, the continent does not have the means for an effective fight. Forty percent of our countries have no radiotherapy treatment unit,” he said, urging African countries to join the “Rays of Hope” initiative. “In response to this worrying situation, the International Energy Agency has launched the Rays of Hope initiative to support the capacity of States members, particularly in Africa, in the fight against cancer, through nuclear technologies, including medical imaging, nuclear medicine and radiotherapy. I strongly encourage our countries to support the IAEA’s Rays of Hope campaign which will contribute to the achievement of the SDGs and Agenda 2063.”
Africa has the potential to ensure the conditions for its emergence.
On the economic front, the Senegalese head of state is convinced that the black continent is capable of developing thanks to its natural resources. “Our emergencies are also economic. Africa continues to lag behind in the area of development despite its enormous potential: 30 million km2; more than 1.3 billion inhabitants; significant water and hydrocarbon reserves; 60% of the world’s undeveloped arable land; 40% of gold reserves; 85-95% of chromium and platinum group metal reserves; 85% of phosphate reserves; more than 50% of cobalt reserves; and one third of bauxite reserves,” he says. “This means that despite its handicaps, Africa has the potential to ensure the conditions for its emergence,” he continued.
Furthermore, the Senegalese chairman said that the Africa we want to build from now on is an Africa that wants to ensure its food security. That is why he is pleased with the theme of the summit proposed by Ivorian chairman Alassane Ouattara: “Building resilience in nutrition security on the African continent: strengthening agri-food systems and health and social protection systems to accelerate social, economic and human capital development”.
According to the new AU chairman, this theme recalls “the urgency of achieving our food sovereignty by producing more and better in agriculture, livestock and fisheries through – the modernisation of our production, conservation and processing tools and methods; the improvement of inputs, water management, the development of value chains and the facilitation of access to markets”, he reassures.
And when it comes to social development, Macky Sall recognises that “an emerging Africa is also an Africa that relies fully on its vital forces: young people and women”. It emphasises the need to put young people at the heart of the continent’s development policies. “Young people must remain at the centre of our public policies, because they form the majority of our population, and we will only be able to take advantage of the demographic dividend if our youth receive adequate education and training that prepares them for working life,” he said at the African Union podium. In addition, alongside young people, women will continue to play a major role in Africa’s economic take-off, Macky Sall stressed. The situation of African women is of concern to the new chairman of the African Union, who has announced a fight against the treatment of women. “The status of women challenges us, because women are the other half of the continent. Africa cannot develop when millions of women and girls continue to suffer violent, unequal and discriminatory treatment.
A chairman with great potential
The Senegalese Head of State, Macky Sall, thus outlined the agenda that awaits him at the head of this organisation for the next 12 months. He nevertheless reiterates his willingness to work with all States members for the success of his mandate. Together, we will be able to add a new stone to the continental edifice of our dreams: an Africa at peace, more liberated, more united and more in solidarity. An Africa that is on its feet and moving towards greater progress and prosperity,” said Sall.
President Macky Sall’s chairmanship of the African Union was eagerly awaited and is already raising hopes on the continent. For the country of Teranga is first and foremost a model of stability and democratic changeover. Secondly, Chairman Macky Sall himself is emerging as a strong voice, listened to both by Africans and their international partners.