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Monday, 29th January 2018
President Yoweri Museveni congratulates President Paul Kagame upon his election as the new president of the Africa Union
President Yoweri Museveni has congratulated his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame upon his election as the new president of the Africa Union (AU).

In a bilateral meeting shortly after President Kagame had assumed the seat, President Museveni congratulated the Rwandan leader on the new responsibility and wished him a successful tenure at the helm of the continental body.

The news of President Kagame's election was broken by the African Union Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat during the official opening ceremony of the 30th AU Heads of State Summit at the organisation's headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia yesterday on Sunday.

President Museveni was among the tens of leaders who attended the ceremony, whose running theme is "Winning the fight against Corruption; A Sustainable Path to Africa's Transformation". Later, President Kagame was called by his predecessor, Guinea's Alpha Conde, to make his inaugural remarks.

The Rwandan leader said Africa's biggest challenge is creating a pathway for young people's prosperity, noting that whereas other continent's had done so using industrialization, Africa's chances of using the same approach were quickly shrinking.

"We are running out of time and must act now to save Africa from deprivation. We must work for a single market, integrate our infrastructure and fuse our technologies. No country can do this alone," he said.

He added that Africa must ensure a Continental Free Trade Area is achieved, while ensuring free movement of Africans in the continent is eased. "This will send a signal that it is no longer business as usual," said Mr Kagame as he announced the launch of a Single African Air Transport Market.

At the same function, United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, listed five areas for cooperation between the AU and the UN. These were cooperation in peace and security, especially on the peacekeeping front, push for sustainable and inclusive development, addressing the question of climate change, fixing the migration quagmire and uniting in the fight against corruption.

In his parting remarks, outgoing AU president Alfa Conde said the continent should work to reduce dependence on foreign aid not depend on foreign aid.

The summit also received new members who were introduced by Conde, with recently-elected Liberian President George Weah receiving a rousing applause from members. New Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa was also applauded when he told the conference that his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, "was well, safe and secure," adding that, "It is my duty as leader of the current administration to preserve his legacy as the founding father of our republic." Also introduced was His Excellency Joao Lourenco