President Jacob Zuma arrives in the Republic of Ethiopia to attend the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union scheduled to run until 29th January 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The 30th African Union (AU) heads of state and government summit opens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday under the theme “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”.

Apart from African heads of state and government, the AU leadership and officials of the AU Commission and AU organs, representatives of partner organisations, the diplomatic corps, and invited guests are also attending the opening ceremony.

Highlight of the summit will include the election of the new AU bureau of assembly and the AU chairperson for 2019. The summit brings together heads of state and government from 55 AU member states. The summit opens with the heads of state attending a closed session.

For two days, African heads of state and government will convene to deliberate on different items on the agenda, including consideration of the report of the executive council, the annual report of the chairperson of the AU Commission for the period January to December 2017, and the report on implementing assembly declarations, including that on the commitment on a single African air transport market. The heads of state and government will further deliberate on progress in implementing "Agenda 2063". 

The reports they are expected to consider include those submitted by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who is also president of the AU peace and security council (PSC), on the council's activities, the state of peace and security in Africa, and the report of the PSC on implementing the AU master roadmap of practical steps to "silence the guns" in Africa by year 2020.

President Jacob Zuma is among those attending the summit. On Saturday evening, Zuma hosted the Nelson Mandela centenary reception at the AU, where he told guests it was a "great honour that the first celebration of Nelson Mandela’s centenary takes place here, in Africa, the place of his birth". 

"We once again call for your support for the proposed declaration, to be adopted during our summit, calling on us to observe the year 2018 as the centenary of Nelson Mandela," Zuma said.

The Nelson Mandela centenary was a perfect opportunity to share ideas on how to positively change prevailing human conditions in Africa and beyond.

"Nelson Mandela viewed life through a prism of hope as he negotiated the trials and tribulations of his life to ultimately become a colossus of our day. His life story is a classic example of the triumph of the human spirit," he said.

African News Agency/ANA