ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has been elected the chairperson of the African Union for the next one year, inheriting the leadership when member countries are engaged in improving response to security threats, maintaining economic growth and organizing credible national elections.
Prime Minister Desalegn has taken over from Boni Yayi, the President of Benin.
"I will do my best to achieve the ideals of the AU. We should deepen the roots of democratic governance. I will focus on our flagship projects on infrastructure, agriculture and industrialization," he said in his acceptance speech.
An orator and reserved bespectacled Desalegn is already seen as a peace maker based on his willingness to hold talks with the country's longtime rival Eritrea, and the Oromo Liberation Front, a rebel group that has been fighting the government. He is Ethiopia's former Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Among his first duties is to lead the donor conference on Monday at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa to fundraise for the peacekeeping efforts in Mali.
He will also preside over the celebrations to mark 50th anniversary since the formation of the AU, then known as the Organization of African Unity (OAU) which ironically was launched in Ethiopia.
He will also be involved in the drafting of the AU's strategic plan for 2014-2017 anchored on accelerated and sustainable economic growth.
He said he will focus on developing and implementation of strategic plans, sustain Africa's economic growth and drive the continents' economic integration through intra-Africa trade.
"My focus will also be to help drive implementation of the plans that will help Africa achieve Millennium Development Goals before the deadline in 2015," he said.