Africa marks 60 years of OAU-AU amid unity calls

Monday, May 29th, 2023 01:00 | By
Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat
Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat. PHOTO/Courtesy

As the African continent marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU), realizing continental unity and development took center stage.

The African continent on Thursday marked “Africa Day,” which is observed annually on May 25 to celebrate the achievements of the pan-African bloc from its creation on May 25, 1963. Since 32 heads of independent African states signed the OAU Charter creating Africa’s first post-independence continental institution in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital back in May 1963, the OAU-AU has been at the forefront of continental unity. According to Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, the founding of the OAU was the outcome of the collective quest for political freedom, peace and social prosperity, as an essential prerequisite for development.

As a continental bloc, the OAU, among other things, is credited for its role in promoting understanding among Africa’s peoples and foster cooperation among African states in response to the aspiration of solidarity, in a larger unity transcending ethnic and national differences. With the launch of the AU back in July 2002 in Durban, South Africa, the African continent embarked on harnessing its potential, refocusing the attention from the fight for decolonisation and ridding the continent of apartheid, which had been the focus of the OAU, towards increased cooperation and integration of African states to drive Africa’s growth and economic development.

For the past two decades, the AU is guided by its vision of building “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.” To ensure the realisation of its objectives and the attainment of the “Pan-African Vision” of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, Africa, under the umbrella of the AU, developed the Agenda 2063 as a blueprint and masterplan for transforming the continent into the global powerhouse of the future. Agenda 2063 encapsulates not only Africa’s aspirations for the future but also identifies key flagship programs, which can lead the rapid economic growth and transformation of the continent.

As Africa, under the umbrella of the AU, strives to realise its common socio-economic development, cooperation with China has yielded meaningful outcomes in health, poverty reduction, agricultural development, infrastructure, green development and other fields. According to figures from the Chinese Mission to the AU, since the beginning of the 21st century, China and Africa have cooperated to build more than 10,000 km of railways.

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