Global, 31 August 2023 (TDI): August 31 marks the celebration of the International Day for People of African Descent established by the United Nations.

The Observance aims to promote the extraordinary contributions of indigenous Africans and African diaspora around the world and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against people of African descent.

According to the United Nations, people of African descent frequently face racial discrimination and prejudice. Additionally, discriminatory structures and institutions, legacies of the injustices of enslavement and colonialism result in people of African descent being among the poorest and most marginalized groups in society who also face alarmingly high rates of police violence, and racial profiling.

Also Read: International Day for Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition

Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General stated, “I urge States to take concrete steps, with the full participation of people of African descent and their communities, to tackle old and new forms of racial discrimination, and to dismantle entrenched structural and institutional racism.”

Geographical Significance of Africa

Africa ranks as the planet’s second-largest and second-most densely populated continent, trailing Asia in terms of both landmass and inhabitants. Spanning approximately 30.3 million square kilometers (11.7 million square miles), which also includes adjacent islands, this vast continent encompasses 20% of the Earth’s landmass and constitutes 6% of its overall surface area.

Comprising a mosaic of 54 nations, Africa is home to a staggering 1.4 billion individuals. The continent is geographically categorized into five major regions: North Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa.

Some of the notable largest cities in the continent include: Cairo, Lagos, Kinshasa, Johannesburg, Luanda, Khartoum, Dar es Salaam, Abidjan, Alexandria, Kigali, Nairobi, Algiers, Cape Town, Kano, Dakar, Casablanca, Addis Ababa and Kampala.

Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, following Asia in both land mass and population. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, the continent covers 20% of Earth's land area and 6% of its total surface area. (Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa). And it consists of 54 countries with 1.4 billion people. The continent is subgrouped into five regions: North Africa, Central Africa, West Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa.
Map of Africa

Aside from its human resources blessedness, there is a consensus that the continent has the richest natural resources concentration. This includes oil, uranium, copper, diamonds, bauxite, lithium, gold, hardwood forests, and tropical fruits etc.

According to the United Nations Environment Program, Africa boasts an impressive share of the world’s valuable resources, including 30 percent of the global mineral reserves, eight percent of the world’s natural gas, and 12 percent of the world’s oil reserves.

African Descent in Diaspora

Around 200 million people identifying themselves as being of African descent live in the Americas. Many millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent, according to the United Nations.

Black Panther" production designer Hannah Beachler with Nigerian actress Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, MTV show host Quddus, the Most Influential People of African Descent and other guests joined the "Black Panther" film screening at UN Headquarters on 3 October, 2018.
Black Panther” production designer Hannah Beachler with Nigerian actress Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, MTV show host Quddus, the Most Influential People of African Descent, and other guests joined the “Black Panther” film screening at UN Headquarters on 3 October 2018.

The African diaspora, which connotes the dispersal of people of African descent throughout the world, has had a significant impact on both Africa, diaspora communities, and the international community by extension. These diaspora communities have made significant economic, social, and political contributions to their host countries.

Conclusively, the International Day for People of African Descent significantly resonates with the UN International Decade of African Descent 2015-2024.

Through this, the Organization aims to re-emphasize the protection and respect of the rights of Africans. And remove all obstacles that prevent Africans from equal enjoyment of all human rights, economic, social, cultural, civil, and political, including the right to development.