The African Union on Monday elected Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to head the continental organisation at a summit in Ethiopia.
Gaddafi, who has long promoted stronger union within the organisation and poured money into some parts of Africa, was handed the chairman's gavel by outgoing AU leader Jakaya Kikwete, the Tanzanian president, to warm applause from other leaders.
Gaddafi has long promoted stronger union within the organisation and previously outlined his vision for a continent wide government.
In a closed door debate earlier on Monday, he Gaddafi failed to receive backing for the idea of a so-called "United States Of Africa".
Leaders decided instead to consider ways of expanding the mandate of the existing AU Commission, which will be renamed the AU Authority.