It was on May 25, 1963 that Africa made history with the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) from whose ashes the African Union (AU) was born. May 25, 2020 therefore marks 57 years of what has now become known as the Africa Day.
Indeed, Africa Day is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the successes of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU now the AU) from its creation on May 25, 1963, in the fight against colonialism and apartheid, as well as the progress that Africa has made while reflecting upon the common challenges that the continent faces in a global environment.
It offers an opportunity for the continent to promote its unity, deepen regional integration and recommit itself to a common destiny. The annual commemoration of Africa Day marks the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.
With running battles across the continent like the one in Cameroon’s North West and South West Regions, Africa seeks to silence the guns especially given that COVID-19 possesses a bigger threat for the developing continent.
This year’s celebrations will happen virtually and online, understandably so due to the massive impact of COVID-19 on the continent and the world under the theme: Silencing The Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development and Intensifying the Fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Indeed, marking Africa Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message that the pandemic “threatens to derail progress” which would enable countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and development targets set out in the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063.
The AU has established a task force to develop a continent-wide strategy and appointed special envoys to mobilize international support, said the UN chief. Its Peace and Security Council has also taken steps to counter the negative impact of COVID-19 on the implementation of critical peace agreements and reconciliation efforts.
He noted that the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention established a response fund, while African Member States have undertaken “robust measures to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate the socio-economic impacts.”
Mr. Guterres welcomed the AU’s support for his global ceasefire call, an imperative that also reflects the AU’s 2020 theme: “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.”
“Armed groups in Cameroon, Sudan and South Sudan have responded to the call and declared unilateral ceasefires. I implore other armed movements and governments in Africa to do likewise. I also welcome the support of African countries for my call for peace in the home, and an end to all forms of violence, including against women and girls”, he continued.
Despite the damaging effects of the totting guns and COVID-19, no fewer than 20 African countries are scheduled to hold elections this year, with the likes of Botswana pulling through as planned. However, some are likely to be postponed due to the pandemic, with potential consequences for stability and peace, noted the Secretary-General.
“I urge African political actors to engage in inclusive and sustained political dialogue to ease tensions around elections and uphold democratic practices.”
Mimi Mefo Info