Incumbent, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is due to end her four-year term next week, having declined to run for a second term.
During the Rwanda meeting, the leaders are also expected to replace Erastus Mwencha, Dlamini-Zuma’s deputy.
what the continent needs is an AU led by the very best
AU Commission chief of staff, Jennifer Chiriga said the leaders’ assembly will start with a closed session aimed at discussing strategic issues.
She said the summit, among other things, will be electing the chairperson and the deputy.
The three candidates currently vying for the position are Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi of Botswana, Specioza Naigaga Wandira Kazibwe of Uganda and Agapito Mba Mokuy of Equatorial Guinea.
Four candidates – Yacin Elmi Bouh of Djibouti, Ibrahim Ali Hussein of Somalia, Thomas Kwesi Quartey of Ghana and Emmanuel Djomatchoua of Cameroon – are running for deputy position.
Experts see the election as key for the future of the pan African bloc.
“Indeed, today more than ever, what the continent needs is an AU led by the very best,” Solomon Dersso, a legal scholar and analyst of peace and security on Africa, wrote for the Daily Maverick.
In this age of globalisation, he said, the AU “needs a leader, who aggressively pursues the negotiation of African partnerships and international engagements by African states as a bloc”.
The implementation of Agenda 2063, Africa’s political and socio-economic development blueprint, will now be among the key responsibilities of the next chairperson, he said.
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