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Chairperson of the African Union

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Title: Chairperson of the African Union  
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Subject: Robert Mugabe, Thomas Boni Yayi, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, African Union, Muammar Gaddafi
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Chairperson of the African Union

Chairperson of the
African Union
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz

since 30 January 2014
Appointer the Assembly
Term length One year
Inaugural holder Thabo Mbeki
Formation 9 July 2002
Website /

The Chairperson of the African Union is the ceremonial head of the African Union elected by the Assembly of Heads of State for one year. It rotates among the continent's five regions.


  • History 1
  • Role 2
  • List 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


In 2002, South African President Organisation of African Unity during the term 1986–87.

In January 2007, the assembly elected Ghanaian President John Kufuor over Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir due to the ongoing Conflict in Darfur.[1] The government of Chad threatened to withdraw its membership if Sudan assumed the chair. Some had suggested Tanzania as a compromise candidate from the East African region. By consensus, Ghana was elected instead as it was celebrating its 50th independence anniversary that year.[2]

In January 2010, Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi unsuccessfully tried to extend his tenure by an additional year,[3] saying more time was needed in order to implement his vision for a United States of Africa - of which he was a strong proponent. Libya was at the time one of the largest financial supporters of the AU.[4]

The election of Equatoguinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in January 2011 was criticized by human rights activists as it undermined the AU's commitment to democracy.[5] Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is most likely to be the next chair as he is at present the first vice-chairperson of the African Union Bureau.[6][7]


The incumbent is the ceremonial head of the AU and in this capacity, chairs the biannual summits and represents the continent in various international fora such as TICAD, FOCAC, G8 and G20 summits.


# Portrait Chairperson Took Office Left Office Country Region
1 Thabo Mbeki[8] 9 July 2002 10 July 2003  South Africa Southern Africa
2 Joaquim Chissano[9] 10 July 2003 6 July 2004  Mozambique Southern Africa
3 Olusegun Obasanjo[10] 6 July 2004 24 January 2006  Nigeria West Africa
4 Denis Sassou Nguesso[11] 24 January 2006 24 January 2007  Republic of Congo Central Africa
5 John Kufuor[12] 30 January 2007 31 January 2008  Ghana West Africa
6 Jakaya Kikwete[13] 31 January 2008 2 February 2009  Tanzania East Africa
7 Muammar Gaddafi[14] 2 February 2009 31 January 2010  Libya North Africa
8 Bingu wa Mutharika[15] 31 January 2010 31 January 2011  Malawi Southern Africa
9 Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo[16] 31 January 2011 29 January 2012  Equatorial Guinea Central Africa
10 Yayi Boni[17] 29 January 2012 27 January 2013  Benin West Africa
11 Hailemariam Desalegn[18] 27 January 2013 30 January 2014  Ethiopia East Africa
12 Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz[19] 30 January 2014 Incumbent  Mauritania North Africa


  1. ^ "African Union Chooses Kufuor Over Bashir for Chairman".  
  2. ^ "Sudan loses AU chair over Darfur".  
  3. ^ "Gaddafi fails in bid to remain African Union chair".  
  4. ^ "African Union row over Muammar Gaddafi's role".  
  5. ^ "Equatorial Guinea President Named African Union Head; Rights Groups Object".  
  6. ^ "President voted AU deputy chair".  
  7. ^ "Mugabe Scores A Feat, Set To Head AU at 91". 31 January 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Babarinde, Olufemi (April 2007). "The EU as a Model for the African Union: the Limits of Imitation" ( 
  9. ^ "High hopes for AU Maputo Assembly".  
  10. ^ "Obasanjo Elected AU Chairman". Addis Ababa:  
  11. ^ "CONGO: Profile of Denis Sassou-Nguesso, new AU head". Brazzaville:  
  12. ^ "President Kufuor elected Chairman of AU". Accra:  
  13. ^ Appel, Michael (2 February 2008). "Kikwete takes over AU Chair".  
  14. ^ "Gaddafi vows to push Africa unity".  
  15. ^ "Malawi president takes over as AU president".  
  16. ^ Hennig, Rainer Chr. (1 February 2011). "New AU leader Obiang calls criticism un-African".  
  17. ^ "President Thomas Yayi Boni elected as Chairperson of the African Union for 2012" ( 
  18. ^ Stainburn, Samantha (28 January 2013). "Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s PM, is new African Union Assembly chairman".  
  19. ^ "Mauritania leader new African Union chairman".  

External links

  • Official website
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