PRETORIA– The 30th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) held this week has taken a number of important decisions which demonstrate the readiness of AU member countries to fully implement the commitments made in Agenda 2063, the continent’s 50-year development blueprint for the 2013-2063 period.

South African President Jacob Zuma said in a statement here Tuesday that decisions taken at the AU Summit which ended in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday, related to, among other things, the sustenance of peace and security, free movements of people, goods and services, and improving political and democratic governance on the continent.

“It is gratifying that the continent is moving ahead with the implementation of Agenda 2063, and it is vital that we are taking decisions that have a direct impact on the lives of the people of the continent. We are, in a very practical manner, removing barriers to trade, investment and tourism, President Zuma added.

The President returned here Tuesday from a successful trip to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, where he led the South African government delegation to the summit, which was held nder the theme, “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”.

On Monday, the AU launched the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). The SAATM, of which South Africa is a signatory, provides for the full liberalization of market access between African states, free exercise of traffic rights, elimination of restrictions on ownership and full liberalization of frequencies, fares and capacities, the statement said.

The summit elected President Paul Kagame of Rwanda as chairperson of the AU for the year 2018, taking over from President Alpha Conde of Guinea.

President Zuma assured President Kagame of South Africa’s readiness to work with him as he steers the AU.

South Africa was elected to serve as one of the Vice-Chairs of the Bureau of the AU, representing the southern Africa region. The other member states of the Bureau are Libya (North Africa), Republic of Congo (Central Africa) and the Republic of Guinea (West Africa).

On the state of peace and security on the continent, the summit discussed the situations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Western Sahara,” the statement said.

“The summit noted that the continent remains largely peaceful and that the situations in the countries under discussion required more concerted efforts from the AU and its member states, geared towards sustainable peace and stability within the framework of Agenda 2063, in particular the goal to silence the guns by the year 2020.”