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AU Golden Jubilee to Highlight Pan Africanism, Renaissance

  • James Butty

Heads of the African States pose for a group picture in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January, 27, 2013, during the African Union Conference.

Heads of the African States pose for a group picture in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, January, 27, 2013, during the African Union Conference.

The deputy chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission says, in spite of peace and security challenges, Africa has seen much improvement over the last 50 years.

Erastus Mwencha said there are less conflicts on the continent today than 10 years ago, and the growth rate over the last 10 years has averaged around five percent, much better than many parts of the world.

He also said Africa today is in charge of its own destiny and affairs.

Mwencha, who is also chairperson of the organizing Committee of the Golden Jubilee celebration (May 25) to mark the founding of the Organization of African Unity, said this year’s theme is Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.

“If you look at Pan-Africanism, it is what really inspired the Africans, particularly in the Diaspora, to find their own expression, to fight for justice and equality, and also independence of the continent, and of course the solidarity that we are seeing on the continent, for the continent to work for each other to eliminate colonialism,” he said.

Mwencha said the African Renaissance themes are social cohesion, democracy, economic rebuilding and growth, and the establishment of Africa as a significant player in geo-political affairs.

“As you know, at independence, Africa was a battleground of East-West, rivalry, call it the world war, the Cold War, and Africa was, therefore, adopting dogmas or philosophies which were not homegrown. But, in the last 20 to 30 years, Africa has, first of all, taken up a lot of the continent’s challenges on its own hand, finding African solutions to African challenges, but also developing its own philosophy and strategy of how to manage the continent,” Mwencha said.

He said, in the last 10 years, the continent has been growing much faster than before. Mwencha said there is a great deal for Africans to celebrate during the golden jubilee.

“In many African countries, at independence, there were very few Africans with a university degree, infrastructure, and socio-economic development in general. But, of course, one has also to recognize that, during that period, Africa has its own challenges. And, as I mentioned earlier, Africa did not find its own space, to design its own policies, to implement its own programs. Africa is now asserting itself, and I think that is one of the greater achievements,” he said.

He said like many regions of the world, Africa has its own challenges. But, Mwencha said the difference today is that the continent is taking charge of its own destiny.

“There are difficulties all over the world. If you look globally, Africa is doing much better than many parts of the world," he said. "The growth rate in Africa for the last 10 years averages over five percent."

"Yes, there are challenges. We’ve had our own challenges in the area of peace and security, but if you see [that] 10 years ago you had more conflicts on the continent than today. And so, yes, there are challenges, but Africa is getting on top of those challenges and taking responsibility in managing those challenges,” Mwencha said.

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