The African Union (AU) celebrated this Thursday Africa Day, which this year coincides with the sixtieth anniversary of its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU).
In a ceremony held at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, the organization recalled that the OAU, which was replaced by the African Union in 2002, was founded on May 25, 1963 in the Ethiopian capital, the day on which each year Africa Day is celebrated.
A total of 32 heads of independent African states met in that capital together with leaders of the African liberation movements to chart a path towards complete independence for Africa from imperialism, colonialism and apartheid (system of racial segregation that prevailed in South Africa).
The outcome of the meeting was the creation of Africa’s first post-independence continental institution, the OAU.
At the ceremony, the Head of State of Comoros and president of the AU in 2023, Azali Assoumani, stressed today that this organization achieved “two major objectives in a particular historical context. Namely: the completion of the decolonization of Africa and the end of apartheid in South Africa.”
Despite these “positive and appreciable results”, Assoumani admitted that “certain injustices still exist”, but advocated pursuing “ambitions for unity, peace and development”.
The president also noted that Africa still faces “significant challenges.”
“The unconstitutional changes of powers have multiplied in recent years. Conflicts between Africans, but also terrorism persist and, consequently, peace, security, democracy and the development of our continent are threatened in several of our regions “, he asserted.
Among the positive achievements he highlighted the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which aspires to “become one of the world’s largest markets in the coming years.”
The Prime Minister of Ethiopia (the host country of the AU), Abiy Ahmed, participated in the same act, who emphasized today that, sixty years later, “Africa is the second most populous continent” in the world with “an estimated population of more than 1,400 millions of people”.
“It is expected that by the year 2050, more than half of the growth of the world population occurs in our continent. Paying attention to Africa means paying attention to a continent that by 2050 will be home to one in four people. In fact, this is an opportunity that we should seize,” Abiy stressed.
As in previous years, the continent received congratulations on Africa Day from international personalities such as the UN Secretary General, António Guterres.
“Africa’s dynamism is unstoppable and its potential impressive. On this Africa Day, I urge the international community to support the continent. With cooperation and solidarity, this could be Africa’s century,” Guterres said on his Twitter account.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, among others, also wished a “Happy Africa Day” to Africans.
“This vibrant continent and its wonderful people are close to my heart. We share the same ambitions: to build together a common space of peace, security, prosperity and progress. This is our shared duty with the younger generations of Africa and Europe,” he added. Michel also on Twitter.