Zimbabwe's Mugabe, 90, leads youthful Africa

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the world's oldest sitting political leader, has taken over the gavel of the yearlong chairmanship of the African Union

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the world's oldest sitting political leader, has taken over the gavel of the yearlong chairmanship of the African Union

ADDIS ABABA – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the world's oldest sitting political leader, has taken over the gavel of the yearlong chairmanship of the African Union (AU), which runs the affairs of the continent that has the largest youth population of the world.

In the opening session of the AU summit, currently underway in Addis Ababa, Zimbabwe's Mugabe, 90, took over from his Mauritanian counterpart Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who chaired the pan-African body last year.

The Southern African countries have proposed Zimbabwe to become the AU chair, in accordance with the rotation round, under which it's the turn of the southern region to lead the continental bloc.

The AU assembly approved the Zimbabwe's chairmanship by consensus, according to the AU standard procedure.

Accordingly, Mugabe will chair the AU for one year, whereas Zimbabwean foreign minister will be chairing the AU Executive Council. The country’s ambassador to Ethiopia will also serve as chairperson of the body's permanent representatives committee.

On the occasion, Mugabe told the African leaders that "during my tenure I will deliberately provoke your thoughts."

"Our freedom and social and economic progress is the testimony of our togetherness," he said.

Africa is the world’s youngest continent, as the proportion of youth among the region’s total population is higher than in any other continent, according to UN figures.

In 2010, 70 percent of the region’s population was under the age of 30, and slightly more than 20 percent were young people between the ages of 15 to 24.

The African Union also projects that by 2020, out of every four Africans, three will be on average 20 years old.

Copyright © 2015 Anadolu Agency