Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki delivers a speech at the 31st Summit of the African Union (AU) in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, on July 1, 2018. African leaders met here for the 31st AU summit on Sunday, focusing on anti-corruption as well as trade, peace and security. (Xinhua/Zhang Xuefei)
NOUAKCHOTT, July 1 (Xinhua) -- African leaders met here for the 31st African Union (AU) summit on Sunday, focusing on anti-corruption as well as trade, peace and security.
The summit is held under the theme "Combatting Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa's Transformation."
During the two-day summit, the African heads of state and government are expected to hold talks over AU reforms, anti-corruption, regional security and the African continental free trade area (AfCFTA).
Speaking at the opening ceremony, AU chairperson and Rwandan President Paul Kagame said the AU has adopted "the most credible and transparent budget" in its history.
The 2019 budget, which is to be considered by the heads of state and government, is reduced by 12 percent compared to its 2018 version.
In their opening speeches, both Kagame and Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat welcomed the normalization of relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia.
Faki also called on member states to accelerate the process of continental integration.
He said the application of the AfCFTA agreement, the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in Africa, the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) which is the flagship project of the AU Agenda 2063, will allow Africans to move freely within the continent and to be treated with "dignity and respect."
The heads of state and government summit is the last part of the ongoing African Union summit held from June 25 to July 2, which gathered 22 heads of state and government from AU member states.