DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (eTN) – The new head of the African Union (AU), Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, said he would continue to press for the creation of a pan-African state that will strengthen and bring together African countries for global prosperity.
After taking over the AU chair from Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, Gaddafi, who was elected at the tenth session of the African Union on Monday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, said he will continue working to ensure that sovereign states in the continent unite into a United States of Africa.
Diplomatic news here from the Tanzanian capital city of Dar es Salaam claim that the tough Libyan leader has long been campaigning for the establishment of a continental government, a project that has been opposed by some African leaders, but with big support from many others.
Some African leaders have reservations about Colonel Gaddafi’s elevation to the post, and his proclaimed goal of creating a “United States of Africa.”
He told the summit that his chairmanship would be a time of action not words. And indicated he would be pursuing his ambition of creating a United States of Africa, adding, “I dream about United Africa.”
Colonel Gaddafi will hold the position of African Union chairman for one year and has vowed to pursue his vision of a United States of Africa, in his inaugural address as the new chairman of the African Union.
Correspondents at the summit said Gaddafi was seen to be the obvious choice.
“I shall continue to insist that our sovereign countries work to achieve the United States of Africa,” he said in his inaugural speech. But he admitted that African leaders were “not near to a settlement” on the issue.
He told fellow summit leaders that his unity project would be approved at the next meeting in July unless there was a majority against it.
During closed-door talks, African leaders again agreed to transform the African Union Commission – which oversees the AU – into an AU authority with a broader mandate, outgoing chair Kikwete said.
Kikwete said African leaders should instead give more attention to social and economic development. “Among the 50 poorest countries in the world, 34 are from Africa, where access to basic services such as education, health, water, roads, railways, air transport and other are still very low,” he said.
“As I come to the end of my chairmanship, I leave behind these challenges,” he told his colleague heads of state and AU summit dignitaries.
Biggest problems facing the African continent are poverty, lack of democratic rule among some countries, conflicts and diseases that have all retarded human development in most states in the continent.
The chairmanship of the African Union is a rotating position held by heads of state for one year. It was the turn of a North African leader to chair the bloc, and Col Gaddafi was the only one present. The AU leaders summit ended Tuesday.