While he hopes to leave his mark at the presidency of the African Union, Azali Assoumani, the president of the Comoros, is struggling to take his first decisions at the head of the AU.
Azali Assoumani, the president of the Comoros, had bend over backwards to take over the presidency of the African Union, despite Kenya's interest in the continental institution. Since he took the reins of the AU, we hear little about Azali Assoumani. But what is the first assessment of his mandate since taking office on February 18 and, above all, what are the challenges that the Comorian head of state will have to meet?
A few days after his arrival at the head of the AU, Azali Assoumani had affirmed that his "main challenge" was the effective establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (Zleca). In the newspaper Le Monde, he explained that the Zleca was “a strategic challenge that takes a long time to put in place. Upstream, an important point must be resolved and supported to allow the emergence of Zlecaf: peace and security. Downstream, we must ensure that young people have jobs. In the meantime, there are pressing issues arising such as terrorism, inter-communal conflict and unconstitutional changes of government”.
Ukraine, a thorny issue
A fairly vast mix of challenges, for which Assoumani said he wanted to "find solutions, even temporary ones". Two months after his enthronement, the president of the AU however got down to work on another dossier: the war in Ukraine. As Africa Intelligence points out, Assoumani is indeed “solicited as much by kyiv as by Moscow”. While he was president of the AU, Macky Sall had, last June, tried to play the role of mediator. He had been to Russia, before planning a trip to kyiv, and wanted to “show that Africa wants to weigh in world affairs”. Above all, he wanted to solve the grain shortage in Africa. Without real success.
The fact remains that if he wants, as he says, "that the Comoros leave their mark" on the presidency of the AU, Assoumani will have to move forward quickly on several other issues, particularly continental ones. If the establishment of the Zleca will take time, other urgent issues could enable it to take rapid decisions: that of the Sudan, currently plunged into a political and security crisis ; the file concerning the climate emergency; or that of Western Sahara.