Trump begs leaders, says he has great respect for the continent
By John Eche
Several issues are trending at the 30th ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of States taking place from the 28th to 29th January, 2018, under the theme, “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable path to Africa’s Transformation”.
On the heels of the summit of 55 African leaders and their friends from all over the world, American President Donald Trump who had been in the eye of the storm on account of insulting remarks directed at the peoples of the continent weeks ago, has sent in a letter, restating that he holds the leaders and peoples of the continent in high esteem.
For good measure, he promises, he is sending his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson to visit the continent in March. But what exactly would he be coming with?
Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa is attending the summit for the first time in that capacity. Also new would be Angola’s Joao Lourenco. And there is the newest of them all, Liberia’s George Weah.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, whose own anti-corruption war back home on the continent is still bogged in grave institutional incapacity, would be turbanned as the African anti-corruption champion.
Analysts however say that beyond all of the leaders feel-good parleying that remains at the centre of the organisation’s structure and concerns is the need to advance and tackle a lot of the real issues that continue to impede growth and development in the continent.
One such concern which the leaders are expected to consider and adopt is the Draft Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community on Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment (Free Movement Protocol) and its Draft Implementation Road Map.
Already, states like Rwanda and Ghana have begun to adopt the protocol on the side through domestic enactment of ‘visa-on-arrival’ schemes but the AU voting resolutely for it at this summit and going ahead to initiate a practical continental implementation roadmap, continent-wide, is expected to bring further political leverage unto the subject.
Moussa Mahamat Faki, Chair, AU Commission