President Kagame takes over as AU chairman

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame speaks at the opening of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa on January 28, 2018. He is the new African Union chairman. PHOTO | SIMON MAINA | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Mr Kagame chaired the 30th Ordinary Session of the AU in Addis Ababa.


Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on Sunday took over the leadership of the African Union, hoping to the continent’s institutional reforms.

But Mr Kagame, who was re-elected as President last August after posting a landslide win of 98.79 per cent against his rivals, said his objective of a self-reliant and integrated continent would remain a pipe dream if he does not get support from other African leaders.

For the first time since he was elected last July to take over from Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, he chaired the 30th Ordinary Session of the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“Thank you for your double trust. First as the leader of the reform process now as the chairperson of our union.

"I promise to do the best job I can. But I will need your full support,” he told the 55 AU Heads of State who included President Kenyatta.

During his 12 months in office as AU chairman, Mr Kagame hopes to ensure that the organisation becomes self-funded after a decision was adopted that all member states implement a 0.2 per cent levy on eligible imports to finance the African Union.

The AU import levy will apply to the Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) value at the port of disembarkation for imports arriving by sea and road and the Customs value at the airport of disembarkation for goods arriving by air.

Exceptions are made Aid or gifts destined for charity and those which the AU import levy has been previously paid.