The commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union told VOA peace on the continent is a prerequisite for development and vice versa.

As such, Ramtane Lamamra said Africa should emphasize the prevention of conflicts.

He made the comments in line with Tuesday's commemoration of ?Africa Day? around the world, a day set aside to celebrate the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.

AU Peace and Security Council Chair Ramtane Lamamr
Ramtane Lamamra, AU commissioner for peace and security

The theme for this year?s commemoration is ?Peace and Security.? Lamamra said Africans should use the celebration to resolve to apply African solutions to Africa?s problems.

?Beyond the symbolism and the educating value of the day, the focus is on enhancing the capability of the African Union to not only prevent conflicts but also manage and resolve conflicts in such a way that we have the improvement of the overall peace and security in Africa. So, we can consider the 25th of May this year as a turning point in terms of renewed resolve to find and apply African solution to African problems,? he said.

Lamamra said peace and security in Africa should be looked at in a holistic way with an emphasis on preventing conflicts before they start.

?For Africa, I think you will need to look at the peace and security as a cycle that goes from prevention to post-conflict reconstruction and development. And indeed we need to put an emphasis on prevention. That is, on structural prevention, the one that looks at the underlying causes of conflict and takes on board the need for health and balanced development. So. we believe that development is key to peace, as naturally peace is key to development,? Lamamra said.

When the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was founded in 1963, the original goal of some of its founding fathers, like the late Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, was to have something like a States of Africa.

Although the OAU was changed to the current African Union in 2002, Lamamra said Africa is closer more than ever to achieving the original goals of the OAU.

?I think the difference between the Organization of African Unity and the African Union is not in the mission itself but in the diversity of functions. I think the vision remains the same and the mission remains the same. But, the functions are expanding,? Lamamra said.

He said, while the OAU had as its first priority the promotion of the full decolonization of the continent and the elimination of the apartheid regime in South Africa, the mission and the vision remain the same

?The African Union has, in a way, inherited from the Organization of African Unity the philosophy, the doctrine, the overall political goal, including that of promoting a comprehensive unity of the continent and its political integration. But, beyond the political goals, the African Union has been able to put together a comprehensive peace and security architecture which was missing at the end of the OAU,? he said.

Lamamra called on Africans in Africa and in the Diaspora to unite in their hearts and minds and renew their commitment and dedication to the principles of the founding fathers.