The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa

12/04/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/04/2020 07:11

President Ramaphosa to preside over key African Union deliberations

In his capacity as the Chairperson of the African Union, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa President of the Republic of South Africa, will preside over the 13th and 14th Extraordinary Sessions of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) on Saturday and Sunday, 05 and 06 December 2020.

Leaders will deliberate on the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) and the AU's commitments on 'Silencing the Guns', which refers to the ending of all forms of conflict, from interpersonal violence and abuse to intra- or interstate conflict, as a prerequisite for security, development and growth.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Dr Naledi Pandor, will lead the South African delegation, which will include the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr. Ebrahim Patel.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meetings will be held virtually.

Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the African Union will attend the Extraordinary Summit meetings.

The 13th Extraordinary Session of the AfCFTA Summit on Saturday 05 December is expected to adopt the Johannesburg Declaration and an AU Summit Decision, which will provide the legal basis for the operationalisation and the commencement of trading under the AfCFTA on 1 January 2021.

The AU Summit Decision will be accompanied by agreed instruments on agreed schedules of tariff concessions by Member States and Customs Unions that have ratified the agreement, agreed Rules of Origin and the required customs documentation.

The Decision also makes provision for a built-in agenda and work programme for the outstanding Rules of Origin, trade in goods and trade in services.
The successful adoption of the Johannesburg Decision and the Declaration on trading under the AfCFTA will be an historic occasion for the AU and for Africa in general.

It will usher in a new era of the trade and economic development in the Continent, by increasing the pace of industrialization, and boosting intra-Africa trade, in order to promote sustainable development, and prosperity for all.

The participation of the private sector and strategic partners of the AU at the Summit is a sign of the close collaboration public and private sectors in Africa, and a recognition of the important role that these stakeholders will play in the effective implementation of the AfCFTA, particularly through enterprise development and investment on the continent.

In this regard, the Extraordinary Summit on the AfCFTA will be preceded by the 3rd AfCFTA Business Forum, convened under the theme: AfCFTA's Role in post COVID-19 Recovery, Resilience & Structural Transformation, and will focus on the imminent AfCFTA start of trading.
On the back the Summit on the AfCFTA, the 14th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) on Silencing the Guns will take place on 6 December 2020.

The Summit will consider the Report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the Activities and Efforts Towards Silencing the Guns in Africa, as well as an Update on the implementation of the AU Theme of the Year 2020 'Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa's Development'.

Heads of State and Government will consider a proposal to extend the AU Master Roadmap (AUMR) of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by Year 2020 for a further 10 years until 2030; and more importantly, a review every two years from 2021.
The Extraordinary Summit on Silencing the Guns will conclude with the adoption of a Decision on Silencing the Guns in Africa, as well as the Johannesburg Declaration in which the Heads of State and Government, will reaffirm their commitment to contributing to an Africa free of conflict and wars, in line with Agenda 2063: 'The Africa We Want'.

Media enquiries: Tyrone Seale, Acting Spokesperson to President Ramaphosa at [email protected]

Issued by: The Presidency