Forging African unity paves path for progress

As Africa continues to strengthen internal solidarity and international cooperation, it will undoubtedly make a more significant contribution to global peace and development.

Africa Day, observed on May 25, is a day symbolizing the African struggle for independence and unity. It commemorates the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, now the African Union (AU), which heralded a new era of collective strength and development for the continent.

This photo taken on Feb. 14, 2024 shows the headquarters of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Xinhua/Michael Tewelde)

This year, celebrations of the day were held across the continent and around the globe. In African nations such as Uganda, people donned traditional attires and engaged in joyful festivities. Similar events were also held in cities like Beijing to demonstrate solidarity with Africa.

The continental event marks the celebration of “our common legacy, unity and strength as Africans” and “it is a moment to contemplate our shared experiences and recommit ourselves to constructing a fairer, prosperous and united Africa,” said the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The shared experiences of African nations are rooted in their long history of colonialism and economic exploitation by Western countries, which reduced Africa to a supplier of raw materials and a market for foreign goods.

The establishment of the OAU marked a pivotal moment for African nations, leading to significant resolutions against imperialism, colonialism, and hegemonism. It played a crucial role in defending national sovereignty, developing economies, supporting the independence of African colonies, strengthening unity among African countries, and contributing to global peace.

Beyond its original significance of commemorating the triumph over colonialism and the attainment of national liberation, Africa Day now also symbolizes the continent’s continuous pursuit of peace and development. Today’s celebrations often emphasize goals such as development and prosperity, echoing Africa’s collective vision.

In his commemorative speech, AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said the African continent “has freed itself from the yoke of colonialism and the appalling system of apartheid. Its intellectual, scientific and cultural resources have been immensely developed, diversified and enriched.”

The AU, embracing the OAU’s legacy, is uniting and leading African nations to vigorously promote integration and the establishment of a free trade area, accelerating progress toward the vision outlined in the AU’s “Agenda 2063,” and striving to build a peaceful, united, prosperous and self-reliant new Africa.

This, indeed, will not only benefit the African people but also create new opportunities for countries worldwide and provide new momentum for global economic recovery.

Africa is expected to account for one-quarter of the global population in 2050, with more than half under the age of 25. This youthful demographic, combined with abundant natural resources, offers immense potential for the continent’s development.

The accelerated rise of the Global South is becoming a new trend on the international stage, and a continuously developing Africa is becoming an important pole in global political, economic and cultural development. In September 2023, the AU was invited to join the Group of 20, further enhancing Africa’s representation and voice in global governance.

As Africa advances toward unity and self-reliance, China has always been by its side, providing strong support.

In 2023, the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue was successfully held in Johannesburg, where both sides decided to support each other in exploring modernization paths and jointly create a favorable environment for realizing their development visions.

This fall, the new session of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will be held in China. Over the past 24 years since the forum’s establishment, trade between China and Africa has increased more than 20 times, and China’s investment in Africa has grown by over 100 times.

China’s support for Africa’s independence and development has fostered a positive international environment and boosted Africa’s confidence in its external cooperation. During his visit to China earlier this month, Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation January Yusuf Makamba praised China as a trustworthy friend and expressed a shared commitment to promoting a fairer global economic order.

Over the past six decades, African countries have made remarkable progress in their journey toward independence, unity, and integration, demonstrating African strength in preserving multilateralism and safeguarding the common interests of developing countries. The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the steady advance of the AU’s Agenda 2063 serve as testaments to this progress.

As Africa continues to strengthen internal solidarity and international cooperation, it will undoubtedly make a more significant contribution to global peace and development.

- Xinhua