Thursday, July 18, 2024

The  61st Africa Day Celebration in the Netherlands

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Theme Africa Day 2024: “Education Fit for The 21st Century”

By Roy Lie  Atjam

Africa Day. On May 25, 1963, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the 32 African states that had achieved independence at the time agreed to establish the Organization of African Unity (OAU). This organization is now named the African Union and consists of 55 member states. They all joyfully celebrate Africa Day, which represents the continent’s liberation, independence, and promising future.

H.E. Mrs. Maria Isabel Encoge, Ambassador of Angola, Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps.

On June 4, 2024, in Wassenaar, H.E. Mrs. Maria Isabel Godinho de Resende Encoge, Ambassador of Angola and Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, addressed the numerous guests at the celebration of the 61st anniversary of the African Union in the Netherlands. “I am pleased to welcome all the guests joining us today to celebrate Africa Day, marking 61 years since the establishment of May 25th as Africa Day. This day is a tribute to the rich tapestry of African culture, history, and contributions to the global community.” She expressed.

As Dean of the African Group in The Hague, I wish to highlight the importance of Africa Day and the ongoing dialogue between Europe and Africa. We must work together to address challenges and achieve our shared goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Africa is a continent of resilience, diversity, and immense beauty, and we honour its visionaries who paved the way for independence and unity.

Let us celebrate Africa’s achievements and contributions to the world and work together to build a brighter future. Happy Africa Day to all!”

H.E. Mr. Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Brahim Khlil Zemm, Ambassador of Mauritania.

Another speaker at Africa Day 2024 was the Ambassador of Mauritania in Brussel, H.E. Mr. Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Brahim Khlil Zemm, who conveyed congratulations on behalf of the President of Mauritania currently serving as the Chairman of the African Union.

The Africa Day 2024 reception was attended by Mr. Jan van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague, along with numerous Ambassadors accredited in the Netherlands, including representatives from El Salvador, South Africa, Kosovo, Belarus, and Costa Rica. Also in attendance were Heads of International Organizations in The Hague, government representatives, and members of the diaspora.

Africa Day 2024

The African Union HQ. received congratulations from world leaders, among them the Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr António M de Oliveira Guterres. This is what he stated in part.

On Africa Day, we celebrate this dynamic and diverse continent and the contributions of Africans to our world. The continent’s young and growing population, its rich natural resources, breathtaking beauty and cultural diversity give it outsize potential.

Initiatives like the African Continental Free Trade Area and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, along with Africa’s growing voice, including leadership in renewable energy, can help realize that potential.

We need to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals. This will require, among other actions, that we reform the international financial architecture so developing countries can access the resources they will need to invest in the future of their people — including strengthening education systems, this year’s African Union theme.

We must work side by side with Africa to build green economies anchored in renewable energy, and ensure that the continent’s critical mineral resources benefit Africans first and foremost.

African Ambassadors during the symbolic cutting of the cake at the 61st Anniversary of the African Union.

Throughout, Africa must have a seat at every multilateral forum — including the UN Security Council, the international financial system, and other global norm-setting structures. September’s Summit of the Future in New York will be a moment to create momentum and progress.  

On Africa Day, let’s renew our pledge to stand with all Africans in their quest to lead their continent — and our world — into a peaceful and prosperous future for all.”

The theme of “Education Fit for The 21st Century” Agenda 2063 envisions a prosperous Africa achieved through inclusive growth and sustainable development, with education playing a pivotal role. The modernization of educational systems to include digital literacy, critical thinking, and adaptability is crucial for harnessing Africa’s demographic dividend, fostering entrepreneurship, and competing effectively on the global stage. Investing in education today is essential for building a resilient, innovative, and prosperous Africa tomorrow.

Regarding the importance of Africa to the world, the continent holds 40% of the world’s gold, up to 90% of its chromium and platinum, the largest reserves of cobalt, diamonds, platinum, and uranium, 65% of the world’s arable land, and ten per cent of the planet’s internal renewable freshwater source.

“We have the biggest demographic dividend- a quarter of the people on earth will be living on the African continent by 2050. We have all the renewable energy assets in the world Whether you talk about, Hydro, wind, solar geothermal and we are ready to make these assets available to decarbonize the world.” (Kenyan President William Ruto).

Africa is considered the future for several reasons. It has the youngest population in the world, with 70% under the age of 30. The continent’s population is expected to double to 2.5 billion by 2050, adding 800 million people to the workforce. according to a recent McKinsey study.

Made in Africa is seen as the future for global supply chains, according to a statement by Development Reimagined CEO Hannah Ryder during the launch of the 2023 Chinese Investment in Africa report.

In summary, Africa offers both challenges and opportunities. It has a young and entrepreneurial population, significant natural resources, rapid urbanization, dynamic economies, and a supportive diaspora.

The 2024 Africa Day celebration included generous offerings of cuisine from several countries, live authentic music provided by Angola and Morocco, and an enormous cake cut by Ambassadors.

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika! God bless  Africa

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