Addis Ababa — Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who led an active, reformist tenure as AU chair, on Sunday passed the baton to Egypt, seen as more likely to focus on security issues than expanding the powers of the body. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was to officially take over the post of ceremonial head of the AU, which rotates between the five regions of the continent, at the start of the two-day summit in Addis Ababa. The meeting got under way after a ceremony inaugurating a commemorative statue of the late Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I at the AU headquarters, in honour of his role in the formation of the continental body. While multiple crises on the continent will be on the agenda of heads of state from the 55-member nations, the summit will also focus on institutional reforms and the establishment of a continent-wide free trade zone.

The Continental Free Trade Area was agreed by 44 nations in March 2018, but only 19 countries have ratified the agreement, wit...

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