Today is Africa Day, and marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU). African heads of state and governments have gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to commemorate the anniversary on the theme: 2013, Year of Pan Africanism and African Renaissance’. The meeting will also be the 21st Ordinary Session of the Heads of State and Government.
President John Mahama who is in Addis Ababa with his wife, Lordina, will in his anniversary address later Saturday push for a consensus among colleague leaders for leap in the efforts of the continental body to unite, making suggestions on the how to proceed and meet the approval of all countries and leaders.
Ahead of Saturday’s meetings which will also include a Coordination Committee of the Heads of State and Government on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), President John Mahama met on Friday night with the Ghanaian community in Ethiopia.
He acknowledged in glowing words the vision and contribution of Ghana’s founding President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, towards the realisation of the dream to.form a continental body.
President Mahama admitted that not all that was envisioned has been achieved after 50 years, but noted that there is still an opportunity to make further progress. He added that the African Renaissance is on, and that Africa has achieved a lot in half a century.
“…For several years now, many leaders have talked about an African renaissance and we say that the 21st Century is Africa’s Century and that many opportunities are opening up for this continent to play the prominent role that it deserves in world affairs. If you look at some of the things happening on the continent, you would agree that there is a renaissance taking place”.
He said the lessened spate of conflicts on the continent coupled with the growing economies of several African countries and closer ties being forged among nations on the Continent is ample evidence to attest to the African renaissance.
It was on April 15, 1958 in Accra that some African leaders and political activists gathered at what was called the first Conference of Independent African States. It was the first ever Pan-African conference to be held on African soil.
It was that conference that called for the founding of an African Freedom Day, and five years later in Addis Ababa on May 25, 1963 thirty-two leaders of independent African States met to form the Organisation of African Unity.
The date for the African Freedom Day was subsequently changed to May 25, and later changed to the African Liberation Day, and now known as the Africa Day, which is a public holiday in all member states.