African Union (AU) Chairman Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, has called on AU officials to be creative and innovative and to improve the efficiency of the organization.
On his first visit as chairman to AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Mr. Obiang told an assembly of AU officials, "Our handicap is the lack of resources, but we are doing everything to find the resources necessary to ensure the efficient operation of our continental organization."
Calling it "an honor and a great responsibility" to work at the African Union, he encouraged commissioners and staff to continue working hard, despite limited resources, to bring greater respectability to the organization, and he called on them to design and implement only the highest quality programs.
President Obiang met with the Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Jean Ping, the Deputy Chairperson, AU commissioners, directors and staff of the commission, and permanent representatives of AU member states and partners.
Upon his arrival, he participated in the Peace and Security Council Summit, which reviewed the situation in Libya and the report of the High-Level Panel set up at the last AU Summit in January 2011 to seek a peaceful solution to the post-election crisis in Cote d'Ivoire.
In his welcome address, Dr. Ping congratulated the new chairman on his election last January to the helm of the African Union, which he described as testimony to President Obiang's commitment to raise Africa's profile in the international arena.
In Mr. Obiang's inaugural address as AU chairman last January, he called on African nations to take more responsibility and show more leadership in resolving the region's problems.
Dr. Ping thanked President Obiang for Equatorial Guinea's leadership role in stimulating development across the continent through regional and sub-regional integration. He assured him of the Commission's full cooperation in his efforts to strengthen the continent through democratization, development, and unity.
Dr. Ping stressed the major challenge posed by the condition of Africa's youth, whose rights and legitimate aspirations have led the African Union to organize its next Summit in Equatorial Guinea in June 2011 on the theme "The development and empowerment of youth."