Today, May 25th, the African continent will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and its successor, the African Union. It was on this date in 1963, that 32 Heads of independent African States met in Addis Ababa Ethiopia along with leaders from African liberation movements to craft a way forward for Africa’s complete independence from imperialism, colonialism and apartheid.
The outcome of the meeting was the creation of Africa’s first post-independence continental institution, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The OAU was formed as a manifestation of the Pan-African vision for an Africa that was united, free and in control of its own destiny and this was solemnised in the OAU Charter which was adopted on May 25 #AfricaDay, 1963.
The celebration of the 60th anniversary is an opportunity to recognize the role and contribution of the founders of the continental organization and many other Africans on the continent and in the diaspora who have contributed greatly to the political liberation of the continent, and equally, to the socio-economic emancipation of Africa. It is an opportunity to share the information, knowledge and best practices of the past and to encourage each other to take on the vision of the AU, as well as to drive the realization of the “Africa We Want”, under Agenda 2063. It is also an opportune moment for the African Union to reflect on the spirit of Pan-Africanism, which connects the past to the present and to the continent’s aspirations for the future.
The programme of May 25th will begin at 10am East African time, with invited participants gathering at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. The continent will be able to watch the proceedings at https://livestream.com/accounts/2466140/events/10865910.
Featured agenda items include opening statements by: 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 Union (AU) for 2023; a session to honour the OAU founders; a group photograph; planting of trees to mark the 60th anniversary; exhibitions; and lunch, featuring dishes from the five regions of Africa, followed by entertainment.
The commemorative event will bring together, among others, representatives from AU Member States; the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC); the African Union Commission, AU Organs and AU specialized agencies; Regional Economic Communities (RECs); women and youth representatives; civil society organisations; development partners; UN agencies; diaspora representatives; invited guests; media representatives, and staff members of the AU and their families
A digital social media campaign under the hashtag #OurAfricaOurFuture is running on the African Union’s platforms i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the website.