Jacob Zuma the centre of attention at Nepad meeting

2014-01-29 11:46

Luxury vehicles, blue-light brigades and police officials in blue camouflage buzzed around the African Union (AU) headquarters and luxury hotels in Addis Ababa this morning as heads of state arrived in the city ahead of tomorrow’s summit.

President Jacob Zuma was among 20 African leaders who attended a Nepad heads of state and government orientation committee meeting at the AU headquarters this morning on policies, priorities and direction.

Zuma was the centre of attraction for photographers as he entered the chamber at the start of the meeting, with a representative from Zimbabwe seated next to him.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe reportedly left Harare for Addis Ababa yesterday to attend the summit, his first official public appearance following rumours that he is in bad health.

In a closed session, Zuma gave a report on the Nepad Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative, while African Development Bank president Donald Kabureka spoke about getting domestic resources for infrastructure, and about how the bank could help.

AU commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was among those who made opening remarks at the Nepad meeting, and she urged heads of state to get the Nepad process moving.

A press conference is scheduled for later on the issues, while Dlamini-Zuma is set to address a press conference in the late afternoon about the AU assembly agenda for tomorrow.

Zuma’s spokesperson, Mac Maharaj, said in a statement this morning among the highlights of Zuma’s programme would be his presentation of South Africa’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) report for the period October 2010 to January 2013.

The summit will also continue its deliberations on finalising the continent’s vision for the next 50 years, decided on during the AU’s 50th anniversary celebrations last year. It is called Agenda 2063.

Zuma is accompanied by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who also attended the Nepad meeting; Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and her deputy Ayanda Dlodlo; Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele; and Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

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