Today is Africa Day. And as usual, the day will be observed in various countries on the continent, as well as around the globe.
In Ghana, though the day will no longer be marked as a holiday, it will still be observed as an important day on the national calendar. But what readily comes to mind as we observe another African Union (AU) Day, today, is the state of Africa.
Certainly, Africa has made some significant progress. At least the UNDP’s Annual Human Development Report shows that all African countries have positively improved in all the categories since 2000, with the largest improvement recorded in health. Despite the success story, there are still development challenges that need to be addressed.
This has led to a number of questions related to the relevance of the AU and the observance of the day in particular. Formerly African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day, the day, since May 25, 1963, has been set aside annually to commemorate the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) (now known as the AU).
But why is the African Union important in the midst of global competition? The Daily Graphic maintains that the day remains significant not only to push forward a focus on promoting unity and solidarity among African States but also to coordinate and intensify cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the people of Africa.
Ghana News Headlines
For latest news in Ghana, visit Graphic Online news headlines page Ghana news page
Despite its failures in some sectors of national endeavours, Africa still needs a strong and effective union that can play a key role in the accelerated development of the continent. This is because nobody outside the continent will develop the continent for us but ourselves.
In the view of the Daily Graphic, transforming the continent into a global economic hub will require forward-looking strategies, including an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its own citizens.
In Ghana and other few countries, efforts are being made to address the low secondary and tertiary school enrolment levels and whatever skills set are required to meet the needs of the 21st century job market.
To also defend Africa’s sovereignty, its territorial integrity and independence, as well as eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa, it is the considered opinion of the Daily Graphic that it will require Africa and Africans to press on to accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent.
This can be achieved through greater unity, cohesion and solidarity among African countries and its people.
The question to ask is: What is the Africa we want in the next 50 years? If our forebears were able to achieve so much in an era of little opportunities, then our generation with many opportunities has no excuse not to do much more for generations yet unborn.
At least, it must be possible to eradicate poverty in our generation and build a shared prosperity through social and economic transformation of the continent. Observing a day such as AU Day has become necessary and can be made more meaningful and relevant if it addresses the needs of Africans.
On such a day, we can never forget and lose sight of the blood, toil and tears that our forefathers and foremothers sacrificed to ensure that their dream for ‘the total liberation of Africa’ was achieved. It behoves us to allow and help keep the torch burning.
Happy AU Day!