Senegal’s Macky Sall takes over as AU Chairperson for 2022

Senegal President Macky Sall addresses the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York, on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. (John Angelillo /Pool Photo via AP)
FILE PHOTO: Senegal President Macky Sall addresses the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York, on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. (John Angelillo /Pool Photo via AP)

Senegalese President Macky Sall on Saturday took over from his Democratic Republic of Congo counterpart Felix Tshisekedi as the new Chairperson of the African Union for the year 2022.

Sall officially assumed the position at the 35th African Union Summit that is being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Senegalese president was endorsed for the position by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which was lined up to produce the next AU Chairperson.

He will serve in the capacity for the 2022-2023 period.

Sall’s tenure will mark the fourth time a Senegalese leader will be running the AU after Léopold Sédar Senghor (1980) and Abdou Diouf (1985 and 1992).

His assumption of the AU chairperson position comes amid political challenges in the West African region.

One of Senegal’s neighbor Mali is under the rule of a military junta which seized power in May 2021 for the second time in 10 months.

Another neighbor, Guinea-Bissau survived a coup earlier this week after forces loyal to President Umaro Sissoco Embalo repelled assailants with machine guns and assault rifles, after they attacked the government palace where the president was meeting his government.

Guinea and Burkina Faso are also under the rule of military juntas.

President Sall, in his new position, will be expected to play a big role in finding a solution towards the political upheavals in West Africa.

He is also faced with the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic which continues to ravage the continent two years on.