United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek arrived in Addis Ababa, after an overnight stopover in Frankfurt, in the early evening of Friday, 28 January.
Upon arrival, the Secretary-General was briefed by Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
On Saturday morning, at Africa Hall in the ECA compound, Mr. Ban held a town hall meeting with United Nations staff. He also met the country team of United Nations agency heads.
He then visited the Yeha Biofarm -- an innovative project that has taught many thousands of people from across Ethiopia simple techniques that help mitigate the consequences of climate change while also boosting agricultural production. Noting that Ethiopia sets an example for countries by investing heavily in reforestation, he applauded the efforts of President Girma Wolde Giorgis, saying that preserving trees and watersheds would help with development objectives and help adapt to climate change. He also acknowledged the important contribution played by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at the Copenhagen negotiations. (See Press Release SG/SM/12724)
In the afternoon, at African Union Headquarters, he held a meeting with President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi, who was later appointed to chair the African Union in the coming year.
During his stay in Addis Ababa, the Secretary-General also held bilateral meetings with President Boni Yayi of Benin, President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso, President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon and President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya. He also met Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia to discuss a wide range of topics, including climate change.
On Sunday morning, the Secretary-General attended a breakfast meeting on Sudan hosted by Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, with whom he also met bilaterally. (See Press Release SG/SM/12726)
He then had a bilateral meeting with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain, whose country presides over the European Union in the first half of 2010.
In his address to the fourteenth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union Summit, the Secretary-General said Africa’s development was one of his top priorities. He said now was the time to mobilize action to help meet the Millennium Development Goals. He also noted this was a critical time for Africa, with 13 elections in the coming two years and lingering conflicts that hampered development. He announced his intention to appoint Margot Wallström as his Special Representative to intensify efforts to end sexual violence against women and children in conflict areas. (See Press Release SG/SM/12727)
Following the opening speeches, a new African Union flag was hoisted.
The Secretary-General gave a press conference shortly before departure. Also in attendance were a group of Africa-based Special Representatives of the Secretary-General, as well as his Under-Secretaries-General for Political Affairs and Peacekeeping Operations.
The Secretary-General departed to Cyprus at the end of the afternoon.