Fellow Africans on the Continent and in the Diaspora,
9 September 1999, a date with evocative historical resonance of the first political milestone drawn up by our Heads of State and Government on the road leading to the establishment of the African Union.
This year, against the backdrop of the still undissipated echo of the celebration of the Sixtieth Anniversary of the inception of the OAU, we commemorate this important Continental initiative within the context of heightened tensions, both in terms of international geopolitics and in our Continent. The Russia-Ukraine conflict, which is fuelled by the resurgence of East-West rivalries, seems to reset a scene reproducing a strategic and military configuration characteristic of the Cold War period.
The immediate consequence of such a bellicose atmosphere is expressed in the desire, latent or manifest, of the different powers, acting in the direction of their own interests. There are fears that Africa will, once again, become an arena of confrontation and hegemonic struggles.
Internally, the democratic process, which showed signs of reassuring acceleration, is, today, facing the compromising assaults of a reversal imposed by the worrying resurgence of Unconstitutional changes. These painful episodes give the bitter feeling that our history unfolds in a cyclical way, with backward movements, bringing to the forefront historical phases considered to be gone forever.
“In this first quarter of the 21st Century, Africa must ask itself the question again. Who are we? Where are we going?”
In the face of the current empirical state of Africa, replacing the discouragement of an evolutionary trajectory in Africa is essential for survival in the present and projection into the future.
In this first quarter of the 21st Century, Africa must ask itself the question again. Who are we? Where are we going? By which routes? Who are our partners? What distinguishes us from them and what do we expect from them? What do we need to take up effectively, with dignity and fully our individual and collective destiny?
In its bright side, PanAfricanism provides the key to answering these identity questions. It calls upon the Continent to set, as the ultimate horizon of its action, the quest and the construction of its Unity and its integration.
It is on the basis of this supreme objective that all our actions, programmes and strategies for development, protection of our climatic environment, drastic reduction of poverty, achievement of our prosperity and therefore, emancipation of our women and the fulfilment of our youths should be geared. As such, PanAfricanism remains our ideology, the soul of our movement. How to achieve this unity, according to which practical modalities?
The first and decisive step to be taken on the road to the renaissance of PanAfricanism is the concrete promotion of our solidarity. The basis of our solidarity is pegged on an abundant creation of wealth, with the aim of meeting better the basic needs of our peoples, through an inclusive economy of the main strata of society historically left behind. Raising the general standard of living of our peoples would thus be the best resistance to all risks, for the benefit of the realization of higher ends.
From this perspective, the diversification of our economies offers itself as the royal road to extricate our Continent from the throes of a cash economy, whose breathing rate depends on the speculative whims and caprices of the various world stock markets.
Our leaders have understood this well. They have, in fact, taken appropriate measures to accelerate the industrialisation process, with a view to transforming the economy of the Continent. It is now a matter of prioritising its implementation at the National, Regional and Continental levels.
Such reforms could well benefit from a powerful boost in favour of the direction given to the Second Ten Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063. This takes into account, by correcting them, the shortcomings noted in the First Ten Year Plan.
Africa, therefore, is moving forward and the political will to move it forward at a more significant pace is not lacking. The operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area falls within this framework. Numerous other indicators confirm this strong trend of an Africa conscious of its objectives and which fights with determination and commitment to escape the rut of a multifaceted dependence.
Circumstantial elements, under their negative facade, can arouse a dubious attitude. They are not enough to reverse the direction of our march and even less to slow down the unity momentum rooted in the advent of the African Union.
I call upon all Africans, on the Continent and in the Diaspora, to find their only satisfaction in the permanent awareness of our objectives of development, integration, freedom and active solidarity.
I thank you.