On this day, the African continent celebrates the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU), on May 25, 1963, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The AU celebrates the Day under the slogan: “Our Africa Our Future” using the hashtag #OurAfricaOurFuture. Activities to mark the historical moment will be commemorated all over the African continent by the 55 member countries of the AU.
All member states are expected among other things to showcase major successes, milestones, challenges, and way forward under Agenda 2063.
In a statement, the AU says it celebrates Africa Day, in recognition of the vision and milestone achieved towards an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.
“This, in remembrance of its founding members, whose dream was to strive for a united Africa, at peace with itself, and representing a dynamic force in the world arena and more especially, the fight against colonialism. Eventually, most African countries achieved independence in the 50s through the 60s and later in the 90s with the fight against Apartheid.”
Thabo Mbeki Annual Lecture
Meanwhile, as part of Africa Day celebrations, the Thabo Mbeki Annual Lecture will be delivered for the first time outside South Africa. Former President Thabo Mbeki will address the media in Conakry ahead of the lecture.
Guinea, a country in West Africa, has a population of more than 13 million people. This is where the late South African music icon, Miriam Makeba lived while in exile.
Recently West Africa has been rocked by military uprisings. In the past three years, the Presidents of Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea were overthrown.
Currently, under a transitional government, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) a regional body, has given Guinea 24 months to hold elections. After the coup in 2021, the African Union suspended the country.
Former President Mbeki’s decision to hold the Annual Lecture in Guinea comes at a time when countries like Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo are experiencing political and security challenges.
Even though Guinea is experiencing challenges, the people are continuing to work hard, with small businesses being the backbone of the economy.
As the AU celebrates 60 years since the OAU was launched, it is time for the leaders of Africa to take stock of the challenges that are still holding the continent back.