Commonwealth Secretary-General is in Ethiopia for the 37th African Union Summit

16 February 2024
Press release
Flags outside the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, will attend the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) in Ethiopia from 16 – 20 February 2024.

She will join African heads of state and government, political leaders, and senior policymakers to discuss how the continent can maintain momentum in addressing peace and security issues, regional integration, education, and development. 

The conference is being held under the theme 'Educate an African fit for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa'. 

The sessions will consider, among other things, progress on the AU Kagame reforms, implementation of the AU Agenda 2063, the State of Peace and Security Report, and the Climate Change Committee Report. 

The three-day event is being hosted in Addis Ababa by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), HE Moussa Faki Mahamat, to strengthen collaboration between political leaders and address the worrying security situation and conflicts in a few of its member states. It will also proffer recommendations on innovative ways to manage the crises sustainably in a bid to return to peace.

The Secretary-General will also discuss the Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition Agenda, the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub (CCFAH) and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which takes place in October 2024 in Samoa. The theme for this year’s CHOGM is: 'One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Common Wealth.' 

The Commonwealth Secretary-General said:

“I am grateful for this invitation to be here with my brother and sisters of the African Union, and to hear about the issues that the continent is facing and the solutions that we are considering.

"As we move towards the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa in October, it is even more important that we begin to discuss how we can have more resilient economies, governance structures and societies that empower our people.”

“Inclusive and sustainable progress, where no one left behind, is vitally important. We must make bold steps if we are to create a future for the billions of young people in the region. However, we must also make them together. Our unity is our strength.”

Secretary-General Scotland will share the work done by the Secretariat in mitigating the impact of climate change in the world's 48 small islands and states, of which 37 are members of the Commonwealth.

Twenty-one African countries are members of the Commonwealth - a list growing beyond historical ties but also motivated by a shared vision and values. Member countries can benefit from the Secretariat's work on peace and democracy, anti-corruption, rule of law, education, artificial intelligence, connectivity, and youth empowerment. All of which are designed to advance a prosperous future across the Commonwealth, including the African region.

Other discussion areas at the AU Summit in Addis Ababa will include trade, regional integration, economic development, institutional reforms, education, skills training, agriculture, climate change and human rights as well as gender and youth empowerment.

While in Addis Ababa, the Commonwealth Secretary-General will meet with government ministers, senior officials, young people, civil society and other public figures to discuss ways to deepen ongoing partnerships and cooperation.

Media contact

  • Ijeoma Onyeator  Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

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