Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the country is ready to host the upcoming 28th African Union (AU) Summit which comes off in the capital, Addis Ababa.
The Pre-Summit meetings have been going on since early this week but the meeting of Heads of State and government will take place between january 30 – 31, 2017 under the theme, ‘Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investment in the Youth.’
According to spokesperson of the ministry, Ethiopia expects to play host to about 4,000 guest for the meeting. 37 African leaders, three vice presidents, three deputy Prime Ministers and some 49 foreign ministers are reported to have confirmed their participation.
According to the Federal Police Commission, a security committee was in place to ensure total serenity during the high level summit. Members of the committee are drawn from the Ministry of Defense, National Intelligence and Security Service, the Federal, Addis Ababa and Oromia Police Commissions, the state owned Fana Broadcasting Corporate reports.
The Summit will elect Africa’s next top diplomat after the AU failed to elect a new Chairperson to replace outgoing Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who did not bid for a second term in office. The earlier meeting in Rwanda was famous for the launch of the AU passport back in July 2016.
The AU had sometime last year expressed concerns over security in Ethiopia, where its headquarters is. The concerns arose from a wave of violent and sometimes deadly anti-government protests in two main regions of Amhara and Oromia.
The protests led to mass arrests by the government. Human rights groups say over 500 people have been killed since protests broke out late 2015. 2016 was littered with spreading protests. The government declared a 6-month state of emergency to help quell the protests.