World Bulletin/News Desk
Ethiopian Ambassador to Turkey and the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in Ankara Dr. Mulatu Teshome Wirtu called upon the African states on Friday to work hard in union to free Africa from conflicts and poverty.
Speaking at the African Day symposium held at the Ball Hall of Ankara's Hacettepe University on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the African Union in 1963, Ambassador Wirtu stressed that Africa needs to rededicate its efforts to ensure lasting peace and stability, accelerate economic growth and deepen governance reforms.
The theme of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the African Union was set as Pan Africanism and African Renaissance to mark the achievements and challenges in Africa's present capabilities, opportunities and threats for the next 50 years, as Wirtu said.
"The African Union was established 50 years ago when the Founding Fathers signed the founding charter with the ideal of Pan-Africanism to promote common understanding between the peoples of Africa uniting ethnic and national differences. The African Union, originally adopted as the Organization of African Unity (OAU), was primarily established to fast-track the total liberation of Africa, from colonialism and all forms of discrimination, including apartheid," stated Wirtu.
Wirtu specified the objectives of the African Union as being to "promote the unity and solidarity of African states, coordinate and intensify inter-Africa cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for African peoples, to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of African states, to eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa, and finally to promote international cooperation in line with the Charter of United Nations and Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
Pan Africanism and African Renaissance reflect the historical roots of the continent, Wirtu noted, pointing out the ancient history of the rise and fall of great civilizations, modern history of slavery, colonialism and apartheid, and the resistance to these evils.
Wirtu defined the key developments within the history of the African Union as the decolonization of the continent and national liberation struggles, the construction of modern nation-states and the Pan Africanism movement based on solidarity and political, social and economic independence. Since 1980, the Union has shifted its focus to structural adjustment, regional cooperation and integration. The OAU was transformed into the African Union in 2002 to make the union more effective and keep pace with the global political and economical developments.
Highlighting the recent momentum in the African continent, Wirtu expressed that "It is encouraging to see in the last few years that out of top ten world countries with the fastest GDP growth rates, seven countries are in Africa."
"I call upon African sisters and brothers to work hard united as one in order to build Africa free from the scourge of conflicts and abject poverty and to raise the standards of living for African people," Wirtu urged the African states.
Wirtu also conveyed his gratitudes, on behalf of African Ambassadors, to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag and the Rector of Hacettepe Unişversity Murat Tuncer for their efforts to grace and host the African Day Symposium.
African Day is celebrated every year to mark the birth of the organization of African Unity, the African Union in its current name, on May 25, 1963 in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia and the African Union.Last Mod: 24 Mayıs 2013, 15:30