Ghana’s Thomas Kwesi Quartey was on Monday, January 30, 2017, elected Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, at the ongoing 28th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Chadian Foreign Minister, Hon. Moussa Faki Mahamat, was also elected Chairperson of the AU Commission by the Heads of State, who form the Assembly of the African Union.
With over 35 years of experience as a diplomat, Ambassador Quartey has served in various capacities in Ghana’s Embassies and High Commissions in Cotonou, Cairo, Brussels, Havana, and London. He was also Ghana Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.
He served as deputy Foreign Affairs Minister under the Mahama government, and was until recently Secretary to former President, John Dramani Mahama. Nonetheless, he received the strongest support and backing from the government of President Akufo-Addo, resulting in him receiving 44 out of 54 votes cast, representing some 82% of votes from the Heads of State gathered.
Ambassador Quartey’s election brings the total number of Ghanaians elected to positions within the AU Commission to three, at the 28th Summit, after the Executive Council of the AU on Thursday, January 26, 2017, elected Kathleen Quartey Ayensu to serve on the African Union Commission on International Law (AUCIL), whilst Mr. Daniel Batidam was also elected to serve on the Advisory Board on Corruption.
Morocco admitted into the AU
At the same session, the Kingdom of Morocco was unanimously admitted into the African Union. Until Monday’s vote, Morocco was the only African country which was not an AU member.
It will be recalled that in July 2016, Morocco formally announced its wish to rejoin the AU, 32 years after leaving the organisation. In a message to the AU summit in Rwanda, the Moroccan King, Mohammed VI, said the time had come for his country to retake its place within its institutional family.
Morocco left the AU in 1984, after the organisation recognised the independence of Western Sahara.
Moroccans describe Western Sahara as their country’s “southern provinces”. For more than three decades, Morocco had refused to be part of the organisation.