Windhoek, May 12 – – On May 25, 1963, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was created to promote the unity and solidarity of African States, for the well-being of all the peoples of Africa and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and independence, and to this end,eradicate all forms of colonialism in Africa.
We are proud to state that the founders fulfilled their cherished dream of free and independent African countries to take their rightful place among the world’s sovereign nations. We, therefore, pay homage to the founders of the OAU who worked tirelessly for the independence of African States, and fulfilled their primary historic mission.
Building on the solid foundations laid by the founders and in the pursuit of economic independence, on July 11, 2002, African leaders transformed the OAU into the African Union (AU) in order to move forward towards integration and increased levels of cooperation among African states as well as to boost Africa’s economic growth and development.
However, despite a number of established institutional mechanisms, systems, and programs aimed at fostering the integration of the continent, much remains to be done to achieve the
aspiration of a prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
To address this anomaly and in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the organisation, Heads of States and Government of the AU adopted Agenda 2063 to fast-rack Africa’s structural
transformation for the continent’s socio-economic development. Agenda 2063 builds upon past continental initiatives such as the Lagos Plan of Action, which called for the mobilization of internal resources to fast-track the socio-economic development of Africa,
the Abuja Treaty, which established the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD.
Therefore, the implementation of Agenda
2063 remains the main preoccupation for Africa.
Shaping an Africa whose development is people-centered, harnessing the potential offered by African peoples, especially its women and youth, and caring for its children, to whom
Africa’s future belongs, remains a priority above all priorities. Children of Africa need to understand the concept and wisdom of African culture to own it and guard it as a heritage for future generations.
In this regard, the African Union theme for the year 2021, ‘Arts, Culture and Heritage:Levers for Building the Africa We Want’, has been inspired by Aspiration Number Five (5)
of Agenda 2063, namely, “An Africa with a Strong Cultural Identity, Values and Ethics”. Culture and arts contribute significantly to poverty alleviation through job creation, to social
inclusion and the integration of societies, and to the socio-economic development of Africa in general.
It is expected that African countries and their citizens will maximize the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free-Trade Area (AfCFTA) to boost the rich cultural
and creative industries, including visual arts, cinema and audio-visual, music, literature,African gastronomy and cuisine, arts and crafts, fashion and design.
Those activities have the potential to contribute to the growth of the African economy.
On this Africa Day, we therefore celebrate our artists, singers, musicians, cultural workers,
writers, chefs and fashion designers, and stand in solidarity with them, because the COVID pandemic significantly affected these industries since 2020.
Therefore, as African economies move towards paths of recovery in 2021, it is hoped that these mainstays for millions of Africans and their families will be revived, so that our continent can achieve its vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.
On this important day, we must reflect to see how far we have come, and the challenges we have faced in order to shape a FUTURE WE WANT for present and succeeding generations. Happy Africa Day, may the path ahead be hopeful and prosperous.