The AU Commission boss also promised to focus on women’s issues and pay close attention to the challenge of overseeing the continent’s economic integration and nurturing trade.

While promising to see to the rehabilitation of the private sector, Mahamat promised “to make Africa’s voice heard in the United Nations Security Council and other international forums”.

He described the drought and famine ravaging the continent as a humiliation.

Mahamat warned that a huge task awaited the continent if similar disasters were to be avoided in future.

MAJOR BATTLES

Africa is engrossed in major battles against calamities that have confronted it. Madagascar, for instance, is still reeling from the effects of a cyclone that hit its northeastern coast early in the week.

Cyclone Enawo wreaked havoc on the island nation, killing at least 38 people, injuring 180 others and forcing 53,000 from their homes into temporary shelters.

In the meantime, malaria has been spreading for months in Burundi, killing hundreds of people even as it aggravates the country’s other problems. Almost 800 people have died from the disease since January.

Even more alarming, Burundi’s Minister of Health Josiane Nijimbere said more than 3,700 people had died from malaria since 2016, and last Monday, authorities declared it an epidemic.

The situation is so dire that out of Burundi’s population of 11 million, more than eight million cases of affected people were recorded in 2016, officials say.

Rwanda, Burundi’s neighbour to the north, has not been spared by the epidemic either. A staggering 3.9-million people were infected with malaria in the last four years.

Further, according to the ministry of health, malaria cases in the country increased from slightly half million in 2014 to more than a million in 2015, with at least 500 people reportedly dying in the latter year.

Clearly, the current prevalence of famine and hunger is not the only problem Africa and the new AU Commission boss have to fret about.

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