The month of May will be marked by celebrations to mark 50 years since the establishment of the Organization for African Unity, now the African Union, around the theme: “Pan Africanism and African Renaissance.” To mark the Golden Jubilee, the African Union Commission’s Youth Division and its partner the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will be organizing a Youth forum in Addis Ababa from 22- 25th May 2013.
The main objective of the symposium will be to seize the opportunity of the OAU/AU 50th Anniversary celebrations and provide a platform for dialogue on the morning of 24th May between selected African Heads of States and young people on major policy initiatives. According to the organizers, this is of particular significance in view of Africa Youth decade 2009-2018. The forum will bring young people at the heart of social and political discourse to enable them to make contributions to current policy debates. More importantly, it is intended to promote a youth focused policy priority and support the vision of youth development among the urgent actions by African heads of states.
The organization of the golden jubilee is underpinned by the consciousness and principles of Pan-Africanism championed by Africa’s founders, which pointed towards the realization of a democratic, prosperous and politically stable continent. It especially recognized political freedom, particularly sovereignty and liberation, as being central to its socio-economic transformation.
According to the organizers, the continent has come a long way from the struggle for political independence to the post-colonial struggles for economic progress, “yet Pan-Africanism remains as relevant to Africa’s development project today as it did fifty years ago.”
Furthermore, a defining feature of Africa’s independence movements and unification was the commitment and struggle by youth led movements.
“Today, history offers this generation once again, a greater chance to reflect on the past 50 years and mobilize themselves to determine a renewed consciousness for the upcoming fifty years in fulfilling a democratic and prosperous continent by creating organic strategies for deepening sustainable development and resilient economies,” point out the two institutions.
Through this an opportunity has arisen, for young people to step forward to build on recent experiences and chart the way forward for Africa. As the new generation enamored with the idea and ideals of Pan-Africanism, young people can play a substantial role and serve as dynamic agents of structural transformation for the continent’s development
The forum will bring to the fore, the key questions of how Africa’s most powerful resource, its youth, can contribute to its socioeconomic transformation.
Source: Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) – Press Release – 20 May 2013