49 years ago today, leaders from 30 of 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This charter established the Organization of African Unity (OAU), and later in 1991, the OAU established the African Economic Community. In 2002 the OAU became the African Union. Africa Day is held on the day of the signing of the OAU charter, but it is more to commemorate African unity and the accomplishments of the last 49 years.
While celebrating the 50th anniversary next year will certainly be met with pomp and circumstance, the 49th anniversary of the OAU is no small occasion. Some formidable accomplishments include:
- Producing 6 of the fastest growing economies in the world
- More female Members of Parliament than in the UK (16 countries)
- The creation of a new nation, South Sudan
- 18 Nobel Prize winners
- The development of new, successful markets in technology, energy, and commerce
- Gains in bringing clean water, agriculture programs, and free market systems to rural communities
- Over 10 female Heads of Government or Heads of State
There have been struggles, big and small, but Africans have taken them in stride and worked together for a unified and prosperous future.
Cheers to many more decades of success.