Eight Priorities for the African Union in 2021

In the first week of February 2021, the African Union will hold its annual heads of state summit virtually due to COVID-19. Africa’s leaders are likely to focus heavily on the pandemic but also on the AU Commission elections, which occur every four years. The elections are an important step for institutional renewal at a time when the AU is undergoing broader reforms. A smooth transition to new leadership will be critical to assuring the continuity of the commission’s work on peace and security. Once the elections are over, the AU should use the summit to concentrate on urgent crises, including the Central African Republic’s recent fighting, Ethiopia’s Tigray war, Libya, the Sahel, Somalia, Sudan and climate change’s security risk. This briefing sets out eight priorities for the AU in the coming year.