The outgoing chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Tuesday afternoon handed over to her successor Moussa Faki Mahamat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Dr Mahamat of Chad was elected on January 30.
The 56-year-old father of five succeeds South Africa’s Dlamini-Zuma, the first woman to lead the bloc of 54 states, who declined to seek a second term in office after completing a four-year tenure.
Dr Mahamat recounted Africa’s numerous major challenges as including migration, climate change, poverty and the deterioration of the environment.
He said: “Famine, which is ravaging our continent today, is a real humiliation for us. A huge task is awaiting us.”
Dr Mahamat said his priorities will also include silencing the guns by 2020, promoting peace and focusing on women, economic integration of the continent and improving African trade.
The rehabilitation of the private sector will also be part of Dr Mahamat’s agenda, who also promised to make the African voice heard in the UN Security Council and other international forums.
“I am determined not to tolerate any kind of activity that will tarnish the image of our commission,” he said.
“We will work through conviction. Laziness has no place in this commission. Humility and respect has to be our priority.”
AU and Guinea President Alpha Conde, urged the member states to stand together for the common objectives of the continent.
“When Africa speaks with one voice, the world listens,” he said.
President Conde stressed the need for the promotion of democracy and good governance.
“Africa has a great future driven by its demography and natural resources. We Africans also need to find our own solution for our problems such as the ones in Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Somalia and South Sudan,” he said.
Those in attendance of the handover ceremony included presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger and Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini.