President Hage Geingob, in his commemorative message on the occasion of the 60th Africa Day, at Parliament Garden yesterday called for a peaceful, integrated, and prosperous Africa driven by its citizens. The President emphasised that Africa Day serves as a moment for reflection on progress made and areas for improvement, while encouraging Africans to continue promoting unity, pride, and the values that make Africa the "tree of life".
In his address, delivered on his behalf by Minister in the Presidency, Christine //Hoebes, President Geingob highlighted the historical significance of Africa Day and reflected on the achievements of the African Union (AU) in championing the emancipation and development of the African people.
Africa Day is celebrated annually on 25 May.
President Geingob emphasised that the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, which later became the AU, marked a new trajectory in African history. The OAU's establishment was rooted in the ideals of Pan-Africanism and aimed to unite the continent's newly independent states. Today, Africa Day serves as a reminder and celebration of the continent's progress over the past 60 years.
“In 1963, the founding fathers of OAU who gathered in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa faced an uphill battle in their fight for decolonisation of the African continent. The oppressed people of Namibia, who at the time were fighting for independence were represented by the Founding President, Sam Nujoma, who attended as an observer. For that reason, Namibia holds the OAU in high esteem for the pivotal role it played in accompanying the Namibian people towards independence,” he said.
President Geingob also reiterated the importance of realising the vision outlined in Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. While he acknowledged that Africa still faces numerous challenges that require collective efforts to ensure the prosperity of its people, he highlighted the importance of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, in addressing these challenges and emphasised the need for Africans to work together towards economic emancipation and development.
“The diamond anniversary of Africa Day is a fitting occasion for Africans on the continent and those in the diaspora to celebrate the achievements of the OAU/AU as an enduring continental body, which has successfully championed the emancipation of the African people from colonial oppression to become masters of their own destiny and development,” he said. President Geingob paid tribute to the OAU's crucial role in Namibia's fight for independence. He commended the OAU's Coordinating Committee for the Liberation of Africa for their support and solidarity in the liberation struggle against colonialism and apartheid. The President emphasized that Africa's political freedom was a necessary condition for pursuing economic freedom and development.
Reflecting on the past six decades, President Geingob acknowledged Africa's journey towards sovereignty, territorial integrity, and collective security. He highlighted the continent's resilience in overcoming pandemics, socio-economic challenges, and geo-political crises. The President mentioned the AU's focus on accelerating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a testament to the progress made by the continent.
He underscored the importance of enhancing governance architectures to address the needs of the modern world effectively. He emphasised that Africa's recent leaders have ushered in an era characterized by democratic elections and constitutional order, with the AU and regional economic communities playing a vital role in upholding democratic principles.