ADDIS ABABA — Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi was elected the African Union Chairman on Sunday, taking over the one-year post from Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, officials said.
"I want to congratulate the new chairman of the African Union... Boni Yayi," said Obiang, the outgoing chairman, speaking after the official announcement at the AU summit meeting in the Ethiopian capital.
"I have no doubt that with your great leadership ... you will conduct the work of our Union towards our agenda of peace and prosperity. I wish you all success in your efforts," Obiang added.
Yayi, an economist who took office six years ago of the small West African nation, said he accepted the post with humility for the "high responsibility."
"I wish to express my gratitude with respect and appreciation to the heads of state we have here for the confidence they have in my regard," Yayi said after the vote.
"We shall continue to work hand in glove to ensure that we consolidate all that we have achieved so far," he added.
Obiang, summing up his year in office, accused "external powers that wish to perpetuate their influence" of manipulating Africa.
"Africa should not remain indifferent to external interference. Africa should not be questioned with regards to democracy, human rights, governance and transparency in public administration," he declared.
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