Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took over as chair of the African Union (AU) following a meeting by heads of state from the continent in Ethiopia’s capital on Sunday.
The post rotates annually between the five regions of the continent.
The Egyptian leader is expected to focus on the fight against armed groups on the continent and rebuilding efforts of countries recovering from conflict.
“Terrorism remains a cancer that affects African nations and steals the dreams of our people and we must identify and combat those who fund terrorism activities on the continent,” Sisi said in a speech to the AU assembly shortly after his appointment.
Under Egypt’s leadership the bloc will prioritise mediation and “preventive diplomacy” as one of the key mechanisms for promoting peace and security on the continent, he added.
Sisi takes the helm from Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who focused on creating an Africa wide free-trade zone during his tenure.