Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Happy Africa Day!

Today is Africa Day! Africa Day is an annual commemoration (25 May) of the founding of the African Union. On 25th May in 1963, 30 leaders of independent African states signed the charter to establish the Organisation of the African Unity, the name of the African Union at the time.

Africa Day is celebrated each year across the continent in the spirit of Pan-African integration and solidarity. As well an occasion for celebration, it represents an opportunity for African states to refocus on their commitments towards continental cooperation on political, economic and security issues. In 2010, the Year of Peace and Security in Africa, their focus will be on continental collaboration in conflict prevention and peace building.

To ensure the sustainable economic development of the continent, it is vital that Africa brings an end to the remaining conflicts that continue to destroy the livelihoods of so many Africans. With this objective in mind the African Union and Africa’s Heads of State and Government took the decision to declare 2010 the Year of Peace and Security in Africa in their Tripoli Declaration of August 2009. The declaration communicated a collective determination to push forward the agenda of conflict resolution and peacemaking in order to leave a peaceful and prosperous legacy for future generations of Africans, and as such, the African Union is pursuing a number of public campaigns and events this year with the help of a range of African and international partners, under the banner of ‘Make Peace Happen’, in an effort to mobilise peace building efforts on the continent.

Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission spoke at the handing over of the 'Flame of Peace' ceremony during Africa Day celebrations and 100th Anniversary of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He took the opportunity to link Africa Day to the objectives of the 2010 Year of Peace and Security in Africa and to promote the AU’s Make Peace Happen campaign and the International Day of Peace which takes place on 21st September 2010:

This Year, while Africa makes history staging the FIFA World Cup, Africa will be making another kind of history too. In recognition of all our efforts in peace making and conflict resolution, on 21 September, Africa will come together on Peace Day, to promote non-violence and humanitarian assistance across Africa. This moment of collective unity will bring together 1 billion people to work together to demonstrate that peace is possible in Africa.”

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