A few days after his re-election, the AU Commission Chairperson must act fast to avert the escalations of crises.
The Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union has re-elected Moussa Faki Mahamat from the Republic of Chad, as the African Union Commission Chairperson for another four year-term from 2021-2024. The election took place on February 6, 2021 during the ongoing 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly held virtually due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
For the next four years, Mr Moussa Faki would have to tackle the crisis in Central African Republic (CAR) where fighting between the government and six major armed groups is ongoing. The AU and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), which have both recognized Touadéra’s victory, are guarantors of the 2019 accord. They must work to prevent any further undermining of the peace deal, seeking consensus between government and opposition and getting the warring parties back to the table. From CAR, the AU has to address the Tigray conflict in Ethiopia. They should press the federal government to adopt conciliatory measures toward opponents in other regions in order to ease crises there, especially in Oromia, Ethiopia’s most populous region.
For the Libya’s fragile ceasefire, the result of a deal signed by the warring sides on 23 October 2020 in Geneva, is holding. Since the start of negotiations, the AU has been marginalized in the Libya peace process due to divisions in the continent over which faction to support. The election of a four-man transition government has opened a window for the AU to support more actively.
With no end in sight to the turmoil in much of the Sahel, an urgent rethink is needed to stabilize the region, AU is developing plans to send an AU force to the Sahel to support the G5 Sahel with a Joint Force an ad hoc coalition of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.Somalia was due to hold a contentious presidential election on 8 February, but the polls look increasingly unlikely to take place due to violence. If fighting ignites, the AU and its military mission AMISOM will be called upon to douse the flames. The AU played a central role in brokering the formation of Sudan’s civilian-military interim government by acting as guarantor and watchdog of the transition and this must continue until real democracy and long lasting peace is achieved.
International attention on the climate crisis is increasing ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), now scheduled for November 2021, and with Washington’s welcome return to the Paris agreement. The AU Commission chairperson should immediately appoint an envoy with sufficient political weight to lobby international actors to support climate-related conflict prevention in the interest of African states before it’s late.