Today, the African continent commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and its successor, the African Union (AU). On this historic day in 1963, 32 Heads of independent African States, alongside leaders from African liberation movements, convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Their purpose was to forge a path towards complete independence from imperialism, colonialism, and apartheid. The result of their visionary meeting was the establishment of the OAU, Africa’s first post-independence continental institution, which embodied the pan-African vision for a united, liberated, and self-determined Africa.
The 60th anniversary celebration presents an exceptional opportunity to honor the founders of the OAU, as well as countless Africans on the continent and in the diaspora who have played significant roles in Africa’s political liberation and socio-economic emancipation. Moreover, it serves as a platform for sharing knowledge, best practices, and fostering the realization of the African Union’s vision, encapsulated in Agenda 2063, known as the “Africa We Want.” It is also an occasion for deep reflection on the spirit of pan-Africanism, which connects the past, present, and future aspirations of the continent.
The day’s program commenced at 10 a.m. East African time, with distinguished participants gathering at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. For those unable to attend in person, the proceedings were broadcast live at https://livestream.com/accounts/2466140/events/10865910, allowing the continent to witness the significant events.
The agenda featured prominent figures delivering opening statements, including H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission (AUC); H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; and H.E. Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union for 2023. A special session was dedicated to honoring the OAU founders, a testament to their enduring legacy and contributions. The commemoration continued with a group photograph, symbolic tree planting to mark the 60th anniversary, exhibitions showcasing Africa’s progress, and a festive lunch offering delectable dishes from the five regions of the continent. The day culminated in lively entertainment, captivating the audience with performances that celebrated Africa’s vibrant cultures.
This momentous event brought together representatives from AU Member States, the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC), the African Union Commission, AU Organs, and AU specialized agencies, as well as Regional Economic Communities (RECs), women and youth representatives, civil society organizations, development partners, UN agencies, diaspora representatives, invited guests, media representatives, and AU staff members and their families.
To amplify the celebrations, the African Union launched a digital social media campaign, utilizing the hashtag #OurAfricaOurFuture across its platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the official website. The campaign aims to engage Africans and the global community in reflecting on Africa’s journey, celebrating its achievements, and envisioning a brighter future for the continent.
In commemoration of this milestone, the African Union unveiled a distinctive 60th anniversary logo. This emblem serves as a symbol of unity, progress, and hope, encapsulating the spirit of the OAU’s founding ideals and the AU’s ongoing commitment to realizing the Africa We Want.
As the African Union marks the 60th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity, it is a momentous occasion to reflect on Africa’s past, acknowledge its present achievements, and envision a future that embodies the aspirations of the continent. The gathering of African leaders in Addis Ababa demonstrates the unity and determination to continue the path of progress and development.
The celebration of the 60th anniversary highlights the remarkable journey of Africa, from a continent struggling for independence to a union of nations committed to promoting peace, stability, and socio-economic advancement. It is a testament to the resilience and strength of the African people, who have overcome immense challenges to shape their destiny.
The founders of the OAU, alongside countless African heroes and heroines, laid the groundwork for a united and independent Africa. Their vision and sacrifice have paved the way for the African Union to drive the continent’s agenda, focusing on key issues such as sustainable development, regional integration, peace and security, and the empowerment of women and youth.
Agenda 2063, known as the “Africa We Want,” serves as a blueprint for Africa’s transformation. It outlines a vision of a prosperous, united, and inclusive continent, driven by its own resources and talents. The commemorative event on this significant anniversary is an opportunity to recommit to the principles and objectives outlined in Agenda 2063, mobilizing all stakeholders to work towards its realization.
As we celebrate the achievements of the past 60 years, it is crucial to acknowledge the challenges that still lie ahead. Africa faces persistent socio-economic disparities, conflicts, climate change, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, through collective efforts, strong leadership, and strategic partnerships, these obstacles can be overcome, and the continent can continue to progress.
The African Union, together with its Member States, regional organizations, civil society, and development partners, must remain steadfast in their commitment to addressing these challenges. The commemorative event serves as a reminder of the unity and solidarity needed to create lasting change and build a better future for all Africans.
As the celebrations conclude, the African Union encourages everyone to join the conversation using the hashtag #OurAfricaOurFuture. It is a call to action, urging Africans and the global community to engage in dialogue, share ideas, and contribute to the realization of Africa’s vision. The AU’s digital platforms provide a space to connect, learn, and collaborate, fostering a sense of ownership and collective responsibility for the continent’s development.
On this momentous occasion, let us remember the sacrifices of those who came before us, honor their legacies, and reaffirm our commitment to the pan-African ideals of unity, freedom, and self-determination. May the 60th anniversary of the OAU serve as a catalyst for renewed determination, collaboration, and innovation as Africa forges ahead on its journey towards a brighter future.
In the words of Kwame Nkrumah, one of Africa’s visionary leaders, “I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me.” Together, let us embrace the spirit of pan-Africanism and work tirelessly to realize the Africa We Want, ensuring a prosperous and dignified future for generations to come.