Heads of state and government attending the 22nd African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia have honoured the liberation contributions made by the late South African icon Nelson Mandela.
The leaders, including President Michael Sata, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Jacob Zuma of South Africa among others, resolved to name the main AU conference centre after the African legend whose struggle for an independent Africa spanned over 30 years of his life that was characterized by imprisonments by the white apartheid regime.
The summit also observed a moment of silence in memory of the late former South African President Mandela who died in December last year.
African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamin-Zuma announced during the official opening of the summit today that the conference room has been named ‘Nelson Mandela Hall’ in memory of the former South African President.
And in his speech to thank the African Union leaders for the gesture, South African President Jacob Zuma described Mandela as a key contributor to the fight for African liberation.
Mr. Zuma expressed gratitude to the African Union for the important gesture it had made to recognize Nelson Mandela by making his name to be placed among the most prominent names of African most renowned people.
“We also appreciate the support rendered to my country during the funeral of our dear former President Nelson Mandela by all African countries,” said Mr. Zuma.
Meanwhile, the African Union summit has awarded seven African countries for making positive efforts towards eliminating malaria in their nations.
The heads of states from Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde, Namibia and Madagascar, received the awards from Mozambican President Armando Guebuza for achieving 75 percent reduction in malaria cases through awareness interventions supported by international organisations.
President Guebuza is the AU chairperson for the committee that champions malaria awareness among the member states.
The summit also awarded two scientists US$100,000 each for the Kwame Nkrumah science award for their commitment to research.
Professor Kayode Oyebode Adebowale of Nigeria was awarded for his research works in basic science, technology and innovation while Andre Bationo of Burkina Faso was recognized for his commitment to earth and life science.
The 22nd African Union heads of states summit is expected to close tomorrow afternoon after the leaders deliberate on the agenda items including receiving reports from various committees.
Some of the reports to be considered in closed door sessions include the report on the assessment of the African Standby Force (ASF), the report on the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) to be presented by Senegalese President Macky Sall as well as the operationalization of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC).