By Robert Kayinamura, First Counsellor, Embassy of Rwanda in the Netherlands.
Africa ambassadors in The Hague recently organized and celebrated Africa Day. Africa Day is celebrated annually on 25 May within the African continent to mark the formation of the Organization of African Unity on 25 May 1963 and the African Union in 2002 and the progress made by the continent since then to advance democracy, peace, stability and socio-economic development. The African Union has brought together the continent of Africa to collectively address the challenges it has faced.
Various festivals in honour of the African Diaspora were held in several countries including Slovenia, which I had an opportunity to attend, in the beautiful capital of Slovenia Ljubljana. According Slovenia leaders, Slovenia is exploring bilateral and development cooperation opportunities on the African continent and enhancing bilateral ties with African countries. Rwanda is pleased by the excellent bilateral relations that exist between Rwanda and Slovenia.
Africa Day held by African Diasporas is an opportunity to celebrate African cultural diversity and unity as well as the economic, spiritual, moral, social and cultural contributions and successes of people of African descent wherever they live.
Held this year under the theme: “Building a better Africa and a Better World” Rwanda like many other African countries reaffirmed support for the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and commitment of the country to playing its role within the AU to ensure the successful implementation of the vision and plan to build a better Africa.
What African history teaches us is that the newly liberated countries felt the need to express solidarity with one another and in May 1963, 32 African countries met in Addis Ababa to form the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU). It was a major political force on the continent until the 1990s, and later the OAU became the African Union because of the increasingly economic, rather than political, nature of the challenges faced by the continent in the 1990s.
Historically, in terms of relations with the West, African countries since independence did relate more with colonial master country than their neighbouring African country or countries. This kind relationship continued till present and it affected so much of there would be intra African trade. Trade has been between former colonial master and their colonies than between African countries amongst themselves.
Also the West or colonial master (countries) were generous to share their break through medical discoveries and research but they didn’t share enough of industrial revolution break through and research with Africans. Whether on purpose or not, Africa did not benefit from the industrial revolution like it should have. Now that the discussion of 4th industrial revolution is on the centre stage, the role and commitment of government leaders in pursuing industrialization policies is critical.
Today we live in an era of national visions with target dates to which we add international blue prints issued by the United Nations and countries must work to achieve these visions.
No doubt that Africa is a continent on the move. Peace prevails in most African countries. Extreme poverty is declining, income is rising and there have been important inroads against deadly diseases. Several African countries are among the world’s fastest growing economies, defying the global downturn.
In light of the new context of globalization of which Africa is part and parcel and an actor, I am confident that efforts to concretise this dream of an independent, united, prosperous and peaceful Africa nurtured by the Founding Fathers will bear fruit.
The appeal now is to all the Africa’s youth to assume their responsibilities, the challenges facing Africa in order to implement its development agenda in line with the Africa 2063 Vision.