In commemoration of Africa Day (formerly African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day) is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now known and addressed as the African Union (AU) on May 25, 1963.
African Day is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as around the world to mark the progress of Africa and focus on the importance of youth empowerment across Africa.
The programme was themed tagged “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth”
Ambassador of Liberia, Prof. Al-Hassan Conteh while speaking at the 54th Africa Day anniversary, celebrated on Thursday 25 May 2017 at the Sheraton Ladi Kwali Hall, Abuja, Nigeria said that the annual event which is celebrated by all African countries, depicts the importance of unity among African countries and indigenes.
“Various African countries may have their different struggles but every country has grown and developed to where they are today and this has made Africa become a strong continent.
‘’It is important for African leaders to invest and create opportunities for African youths so as to ensure that the youths would be well equipped to take Africa to the next level in the future,’’ he said.
Also the Nigeria Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, further addressing participants as follows:
“It could be said today that Africa has largely succeeded in overcoming the challenges and threats of our unity but we are not yet through.
“We still have to address the issue of gender parity in the continent as this lays emphasis on educating the girl child.
“Africa will definitely stand a better chance at development when both genders are given the opportunity to be educated as educating both genders will lead to a more equipped youth and generation.
“They say when you educate a man, he might become successful but when you educate a woman, you are educating her whole family therefore granting the family success.
“We should also be focused on actively addressing the lingering issues of fighting anti-development and terrorism that are beyond the reach of any singled out state in Africa.
“We have year 2020 as a goal date to also silence the problem of conflicts in our continent as we have too many of them
`This day is a special day for Africans with reasons why we should roll out the drums to celebrate it.
“It makes us realise how far we have come and how much we have achieved since the days of colonialism.
“The first 32 African states to gain their independence created the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) but were later joined by 21 more countries and OAU was later known as African Union (AU) in 2002.
“In 2011, South Sudan became the 54th member state and Morroco became the 55th member in January 2017.
“We have achieved a lot in the past 54 years such as peace and stability, democratic governance, human development, promotion and protection of human rights, regional and continental integration and more which we should be proud of.
“Africa has also become a major economic region of viable investment promising high returns for investments,’’
All participants dropped a key note that Africa government must take concrete steps towards empowering the youths and bridged the gap of gender inequality and unlocked the potential of the Africa continent.