AU leader Faki secures second term at summit focussed on COVID-19

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) – Chad’s former Prime Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat on Saturday won a second term as Head of the African Union’s (AU) Executive Body at the opening of a two-day virtual summit expected to focus on the continent’s pandemic response.

Faki, who ran unopposed, received support from 51 of 55 member states in the secret ballot.

“Deeply humbled by the overwhelming and historic vote of confidence,” Faki tweeted. He also congratulated Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda Monique Nsanzabaganwa on her election as his deputy.

The AU summit comes almost exactly one year after Egypt recorded the first coronavirus case in Africa, prompting widespread fears that member states’ weak health systems would quickly be overwhelmed.

But despite early doomsday predictions, the continent has been hit less hard than other regions so far, recording 3.5 per cent of virus cases and four per cent of deaths worldwide, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However many African countries are battling damaging second waves while straining to procure sufficient vaccine doses.

African leaders have been speaking out against vaccine hoarding by rich countries at the expense of poorer ones.

“There is a vaccine nationalism on the rise, with other rich countries jumping the queue, some even pre-ordering more than they require,” Faki said in an interview posted on the AU’s website ahead of the summit.