Addis Ababa, 25 May 2023: The African Union is celebrating Africa Day. The day marks the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which later became the African Union (AU) in 2002.
Remembering African Heroes and Acknowledging the Role of Women
To mark the anniversary, the AU is remembering the Pan-African, anti-colonial, and Liberation movements in Africa. The Organization celebrates revolutionary leaders like Nelson Mandela, Huda Sharawi, Steve Biko, Jean Martin Cisse, and Robert Mugabe.
The important role of women in the freedom struggle of Africa is also the theme of the day this year.
Achievements of OAU and AU
On the occasion of the day, the African Union is also shedding light on OAU and AU’s achievements over the past 60 years.
OAU, the predecessor of the African Union, played a key role in the independence struggle of multiple African countries, which included South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, and Comoros Islands. The OAU established the Coordinating Committee for the Liberation of African countries from colonial rule in 1963.
The committee provided diplomatic, financial, and logistical aid to African countries for their freedom struggles. The OAU also initiates action against the apartheid regimes of South Africa, Rhodesia, and Namibia in the International Court of Justice.
The OAU played a significant role in safeguarding the territorial integrity of African countries, notably Guinea against Portugal.
The OAU also played an important role in mediating border disputes between African countries under the auspices of the Commission on Mediation, Conciliation, and Arbitration. The Commission settled the border disputes between Morocco-Algeria, Somalia-Ethiopia, and Gabon-Equatorial Guinea.
To promote socio-economic development, the OAU established the African Economic Community. Multiple charters and treaties were also signed under the auspices of OAU to establish Africa’s legal sovereignty and institutions for the well-being of the people of Africa.
African Missions of countries across the globe and international institutions are commemorating Africa Day.
Background of Formation of AU
In 1958 at the all-African People’s Conference in Ghana, the speakers from West African nations highlighted racism and colonialism, which were prevalent at that time in Africa. The speakers called on the African nations to stand up against colonialism and racism and take part in the Liberation struggle.
The Pan-African Freedom Movement of East and Central Africa was launched in 1958 to campaign for the independence of East and West African countries and against White minority rule. Later on, the Casablanca group and Monrovia group were founded in 1961. Both groups advocated for economic integration and political unity between the African countries.
In 1963 African leaders Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, and Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nassar convened a meeting of newly independent African countries in Addis Ababa.
The meeting led to the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The Organization became African Union (AU) in 2002. The AU plays an active role in the African affairs.