Message by Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings on the Occasion of the Africa Day – May 25, 2011

25 05 2011
NANA KONADU AGYEMAN RAWLINGSToday marks Africa Day – a day set aside by the African Union to commemorate the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and its successor the African Union.

Africa Day also celebrates African Unity and what true African renaissance stands for.

This year Africa Day is being celebrated under the theme: Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”.

As we celebrate African unity today, we have to remember the myriad problems confronting our continent and the sad reality that the ideals of our forefathers in ensuring that the continent will grow to have one strong voice, politically, economically and socially have eluded us.

We are rather confronted by disunity, conflict and neo-colonialism. Over the past year we have witnessed tragic political situations in countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. There are long-standing conflict situations in countries such as DR Congo, Somalia and Nigeria.

There is no doubt that bodies such as the ECOWAS, IGAD, African Union and the United Nations have played their role in working to stall these conflicts, but the success rate has been negligible partly because we have paid lip-service to the true tenets of continental unity and integration.

Africans have woefully failed to look after each other and decisions of sovereign African states are unfortunately tele-guided by their benefactors in the developed world.

True African unity and sovereignty can only be gained through a united front where we allow economies of scale and free movement of people, goods and services to empower us economically and politically.

Once we have achieved economic and political power from our unity then we will be in the position to stand up to the dictates of the West and other economic powers that always wish to pursue their own interests in their interventions on the continent.

If we have to empower our youth for accelerated development we have to set good examples and appropriate mechanisms to integrate our youth in all facets of our national development. It is important that we empower them educationally so they can be introduced into political and other forms of leadership.

The older generation should not assume they are the sole repositories of knowledge. They should rather be eager to impact their wealth of experience to the younger generation who are the face of dynamism and who can infuse our developmental processes with modern technology that has the ability to transform the development of our societies.

As efforts are made to resolve conflicts through several mediation attempts in  Libya, Somalia and many other African nations, let us remember to pray for all our brothers and sisters who have been displaced by conflict.

African Unity can become a reality if we endeavour to work together as brothers and sisters within our communities; if we embrace equality and if we do away with petty differences that fester into conflict situations.

That is when we can realise the true vision of the African Union which is: “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.”

Signed: Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings

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