Liberia yesterday joined other African nations in celebrating the 54th African Unity Day, with Foreign Affairs Minister Marjon V. Kamara describing the celebration as a milestone.
African Unity Day, which is also known as Africa Day, is celebrated annually on May 25, commemorating the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on this day in 1963.
As part of the celebration, African ambassadors gathered at the Foreign Affairs Ministry for the hoisting of the African Unity (AU) flag.
Minister Kamara said there is a need to recommit “ourselves as nations and peoples to accelerate the effort to achieve the goals and aspirations of the AU.”
She said Liberia has transitioned from political to economic independence, which is very important for the country and the people.
Because of this, she said, “as an organization, we have set up a roadmap to where we want to be in 2063 when the AU will celebrate its 100th anniversary. I want to urge everyone to make decisions that will positively affect the people of Liberia and the African continent.”
She added: “We are hoping that Liberians will join other Africans to also celebrate this great day and recommit ourselves. Each of us has a role to play as citizens of Liberia, and not only the government.”
Amb. Ibrahim Kamara, Special Representative of African Unity Chairperson and Head of the AU Liaison in Liberia, called on Liberians and Africans to be proud of Africa Day, which has been in existence for the past 54 years.
Amb. Kamara recalled the objective of the OAU, which was to help countries that were under colonial rule to liberate themselves from the vestiges of colonialism.
“After those challenges, new ones came into existence that Africa should now promote peace, security and stability which eventually will help strengthen the continent’s integration and development,” he said.
“The new AU is helping member states, including countries that are in conflicts, to play pivotal roles in helping to resolve them. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea were affected by the Ebola disease and AU played an important role in helping to eradicate the disease and mobilize resources for the three countries.”
Meanwhile, Minister Kamara lauded the ambassadors for showing up early to hoist the African Unity flag along with the Liberian flag at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
On May 25, 1963, leaders from 30 of the then 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The OAU was created to help bring about change, freedom and independence to many African countries.
In 1991, the OAU established the African Economic Community, and in 2002 the OAU established its own successor, the African Union.
Since the establishment of the OAU, a further 21 states have joined. South Africa became the latest and 53rd member on May 23, 1994.
Following the first Conference of Independent African States on April 15, 1958, African Liberation Day or African Freedom Day was celebrated in Ethiopia, South Africa and Ghana. This holiday was replaced by African Unity Day in Ghana in 1963.
Despite the name change to the African Union, the name and date of Africa Day has been retained, and Africa Day provides an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of the peoples and governments of Africa.
Today, it is a statutory public holiday in Ghana. It is also a public holiday in The Gambia, Mali, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.