Africa Day is held on 25 May each year across the continent to mark the founding, in 1963, of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) – now known as the African Union. It is a celebration of the diversity of and a call to unity for the continent.
Africa Day acknowledges the progress that we, as Africans, have made, while reflecting upon the common challenges we face in a complex global environment. The African Union, comprising 53 African countries and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, aims to unite the continent to collectively address its challenges, such as armed conflict, climate change, under development and poverty.
Fast Facts about Africa Day
- Seventeen countries gained independence from European colonisers between 1958 and 1963, and to mark their liberation, several states starting celebrating African Liberation Day.
- The newly-liberated countries felt the need to express solidarity with one another, and in May 1963, 32 African countries met in Addis Ababa to form the OAU.
- Since 1963, another 21 states joined the OAU.
- The OAU was replaced by the African Union in 2002 to build on the OAU’s work by establishing a body that could accelerate the process of integration in Africa, support the empowerment of African states in the global economy and address the multifaceted social, economic and political problems facing the continent.
- Idriss Déby, President of Chad is the current chairman of the African Union.
- The organisation remains headquartered in Addis Ababa, although its legislative arm, the Pan African Parliament, is in Midrand, South Africa.
- While Africa Day is only a national holiday in a handful of African countries, it is widely commemorated.
Let us continue to embrace the vision of a united, prosperous, and peaceful Africa, a better Africa in a better world.
LEX Africa wishes you all a Happy Africa Day today and every other day!