Mohamed Ould Ghazouani Elected as African Union Chairman

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The President of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, has been elected as the new chairman of the African Union for the year 2024. North Africa Region agreed on his candidature during the ongoing 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ghazouani’s ascension to the chairmanship comes as he takes over from President Azali Assoumani of the Union of Comoros, who served as the Chairperson for 2023. The election of Ghazouani as the new chairman took place on Saturday, February 17th, amidst the ongoing discussions and deliberations on a course for addressing continental challenges, and strengthening the organization’s ability to fulfill its mandate.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, the 9th President of Mauritania, assumed office on August 1, 2019. A retired Mauritanian Army general, Ghazouani brings with him a wealth of experience in leadership and military affairs at a time when the African continent is currently grappling with escalating conflicts and insurgencies, from Mali to Mozambique, with the specter of state collapse looming in Sudan.

Moreover, geopolitical tensions and a trend towards inward-looking policies among member states have further complicated efforts towards collective security and cooperation.

The AU has ambitious institutional commitments and tools for mediation and peacekeeping, but financial constraints and weak member state support have hindered its effectiveness in addressing these pressing issues.The AU heavily relies on international funding, with a significant portion coming from the European Union, a factor that has led to criticism regarding its perceived lack of independence.

As Ghazouani assumes his new role, he faces the formidable task of steering the AU towards greater unity, cooperation, and effectiveness in addressing the continent’s most pressing challenges. His leadership will be crucial in rallying member states towards a common agenda and securing the necessary resources to bolster the AU’s capacity for peace and security initiatives.

 

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