African leaders, meeting in Addis Ababa have chosen the continent’s oldest head of state, 90-year-old Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, as AU chairman for the coming year.
Mugabe drew applause when he denounced colonialism.
He also spoke of the “scourge of terrorism” from Boko Haram and said there needed to be “lasting solutions” to the issue in Nigeria and Cameroon.
Earlier, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned of the dangers of leaders clinging to power.
Mr Mugabe has led his country since independence in 1980.
He is subject to travel bans imposed by the US and the EU because of political violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe.