|ADDIS ABABA – President Teodoro Nguema of Equatorial Guinea yesterday in Addis took over as Chairman of the Assembly of African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government for the year 2011.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nguema took over from his predecessor, President Bingu Wa Mutharika of Malawi at the opening ceremony of the 16th Ordinary session of the Assembly.
In his acceptance speech, Nguema extended appreciation to the AU member states and the governments and people of Central African States in particular, for the honour bestowed on him.
Nguema noted that since the inception of the AU in 1963, it was the first time a Spanish-speaking African State would assume leadership of the Union.
The new AU Chairman promised to work toward increasing the social development, unity, political and economic independence of the African continent.
He noted that for Africa to attain the leading role in the world, its countries must adopt African values in the practice of democracy, conflict resolution and governance in general.
“Democracy in Africa must have root in such family values, tribe nationality, ethnic group among other basic African values and concepts,’’ he said.
Nguema said the neglect of African values was responsible for the crisis and social violence on the continent, causing a barrier to the development of the continent.
Earlier, Mutharika had assured his successor of cooperation in the steering of the affairs of the Union.
Highlighting the achievements during his tenure, Mutharika said AU witnessed cordial relations with other regional and international organisations.
He said the Union in the past year, had proved that it was an indispensable partner in the process of global recovery, transformation and prosperity.
Mutharika said his administration also focused on making Africa the food basket of the world with a programme launched last year to terminate hunger and malnutrition in Africa and the world at large.