This year’s celebration of Africa Day has special significance as it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, the continent’s first regional organization and forerunner of the African Union.
As Africans pay tribute to the giants and visionaries of the 20th century who worked for Africa’s sovereignty and unity, we also look forward with hopes for an era of prosperity and peace.
The past decade saw unprecedented progress. The launch of the AU’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development and Peer Review Mechanism has helped to advance economic, social, political and institutional reforms. Similarly, the African Union is playing an increasingly more dynamic leadership role in preventing, managing, and resolving Africa’s conflicts through its revamped Peace and Security Architecture. Many countries have also sought to energize the private sector.
As we celebrate Africa’s achievements, we know numerous and serious challenges remain -- including conflict, environmental degradation, and the need for strengthened infrastructure and institutions. We must accelerate efforts towards the Millennium Development Goals, from maternal health to HIV/AIDS, and keep Africa’s needs and aspirations front and centre in discussions on the post-2015 development agenda.
As Africans write a new narrative for the next 50 years and beyond, the United Nations will proudly continue to work in partnership with the African Union and the peoples of Africa to help build a continent of opportunity and hope for all.