Participants attend the 36th ordinary session of the executive council of the African Union Commission which in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, Feb. 6, 2020. The 36th ordinary session of the African Union (AU) Executive Council, which comprises ministers of the 55-member pan-African bloc, opened on Thursday in the framework of the 33rd AU summit at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)
Participants attend the 36th ordinary session of the executive council of the African Union Commission which in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, Feb. 6, 2020. The 36th ordinary session of the African Union (AU) Executive Council, which comprises ministers of the 55-member pan-African bloc, opened on Thursday in the framework of the 33rd AU summit at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)

Twelve African heads of state have reiterated continental resolve in promoting African arts, culture and heritage to preserve Africa’s own identity and drive development across the continent.

The 12 African heads of state committed themselves to play the active role of leadership, advocacy and facilitation for the promotion of African arts, culture and heritage on the sidelines of the just-concluded 33rd African Union (AU) Summit that was held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, an AU statement issued late Tuesday read.

According to the AU, the twelve African heads of state “solemnly accepted the invitation of Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of Mali, who is also the African Union Leader for Arts, Culture and Heritage to act as co-champions.”

The Malian president, who was recently designated as the AU Leader for Arts, Culture and Heritage by the 55-member pan African bloc, also emphasized the vital importance of establishing a presidential level structure to carry out his mission, as he invited the twelve African presidents to join him in a “Council of the Peers.”

The African leaders include Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi, and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta.

The high-level Council of the Peers, among other things, is expected “to formulate strategic orientations and to ensure that these orientations are taken into account in the activities of the African Union,” it was noted.

The 12 African heads of state are also expected to play the role of leadership, advocacy and facilitation at the sub-regional level.

As the high-level council held its inaugural meeting in Addis Ababa, the 12 African leaders also “committed themselves to give a pride of place to culture, arts and heritage,” according to the AU.

The twelve co-leaders further adopted a draft resolution that will tabled with a view to declaring 2021 as the year of culture.

The 12 AU member countries will work together with the relevant organs of the AU Commission and according to a principle of subsidiarity as they engaged on all the priority concerns, it was noted. Enditem

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