Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has warned that a Donald Trump’s administration threatened global progress on climate change and women’s rights.

The African Union Commission Chairperson said that Africa should counter this by establishing the planned continental free trade area this year, she said.

She expressed her concerns in an opening speech of the AU executive council of ministers’ meeting on Wednesday.

“We seem to be moving towards a multi-polar world as the US under the new administration threatens the consensus on climate change, attack hard-won women’s rights and move towards protectionism.

“Africa’s only protection in these treacherous global waters is to honour the decision to commence its own Continental Free Trade Area in 2017,” she said.

She also said Africans should “revive and strengthen the spirit of pan-Africanism, unity and solidarity” if it wanted to achieve the goals set out in its 50-year plan, Agenda 2063.


She cautioned, however, that the continent should do more to strengthen democracy.

A dinner to conclude the AU gender summit on Tuesday night was used to say farewell to Dlamini-Zuma and to honour South African struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who could not attend in person.

One of the speakers said Dlamini-Zuma would be fitting as president of South Africa.

ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini was also at the dinner, following the league’s declaration of support earlier this month for Dlamini-Zuma to succeed President Jacob Zuma in December.

The summit is set to conclude with the assembly of heads of state on Monday and Tuesday, when the elections for the new AU Commission chair will be finalised.

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