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Kagame takes over AU leadership, commits to visa-free regime


The new African Union chairperson, Paul Kagame, has said that ‘Free Movement’ for Africans ‘is achievable in 2018’.

Free Movement which is part of the African Prosperity Agenda would entail the implementation of continent-wide visa free regimes including issuance of visas at ports of entry for Africans.

‘‘Today we launch the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). We are nearly ready to launch the Continental Free Trade Area, and freedom of movement of persons is achievable in 2018.’‘

The Rwandan President made the commitment while delivering his acceptance speech as the new chairperson of the African Union at the 30th session of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

Kagame is taking over from Guinea’s president Alpha Conde, who, many of the delegates congratulated for having served the continent during his tenure.

‘‘President Alpha Condé is a professor, a teacher, and I can safely say that i have learned from him. I have also seen his very big heart for Africa. Please join me paying tribute to his impeccable service to the continent,’‘ Rwanda’s Paul Kagame speaking about his predecessor.

Met with President PaulKagame ahead of his accession as President of the Union when President Alpha Conde's one-year mandate expires on the eve of the 30th #AU Heads of State Summit.#30thAUSummit pic.twitter.com/XdJXstDSbZ

— Moussa Faki Mahamat (AUC_MoussaFaki) January 27, 2018

Kagame, who now takes on the mantle of steering the African Union forward indicated that women and the youth would play key roles in implementing the Africa Prosperity Agenda.

‘‘We can’t build Africa without the role of young African professionals. And, we need to accord African women their rights and their rightful role,’‘ Kagame said.

The Rwandan leader told the delegates in Addis that he and the ‘commendable African Union Commission’ staff would need the full support of African leaders and that ‘Africa must act quickly’ because ‘we are running out of time’.