July 19, 2018

Celebration of Africa Day 2018 in the Netherlands

The Ambassador of Ghana Ms. Sophia Horner-Sam, Ms. Rose J. Sumbeiywo, Chargé d’affaires du Kenya, Mr. Amokrane Mourad, Chargé d’affaires Algeria, H.E. Ms. Vestine Nahimana, Ambassador of Burundi, H.E. Mr. Jean Pierre Karabaranga, Ambassador of Rwanda, H.E.  Ms. Irene Florence Mkwawa Kasyanju, Ambassador of Tanzania, The Ambassador of Morocco, Dean of the African Group,  H.E.  Mr. Abdelouahab Bellouki  and the Ambassador of South Africa, H.E. Bruce Koloane.

By Roy Lie Atjam.

22 June 2018 – The African Group of Ambassadors in the Netherlands, hosted dignitaries, the African diaspora, and many other guests to the 55th anniversary of “Africa Day”,this in commemoration of the foundation on 25 May 1963 of the Organization of African Unity which is now known as the African Union since its name change on 25 May 2001.

For memorable Marian van Noort’s pictures, please open the link below: https://www.flickr.com/photos/109407424@N02/albums/72157698357808664

H.E. Mr. Oji Nyimenuate Ngofa, Ambassador of Nigeria and the Ambassador of South Africa, H.E. Bruce Koloane.

The theme this year, “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation” the messages of determination and resilience did not hamper an evening full of festive cheer, a wide range of national culinary tastes, and a spontaneous dance party ended the fabulous evening. More than 350 individuals joined in the celebration.

Addressing the event, H.E. Mr. Abdelouahab Bellouki, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, expressed pleasure that the African countries are celebrating “Africa Day” 2018.

H.E. Jean Pierre Karabaranga, Ambassador of Rwanda and spouse Mrs. Vibviane Uwicyeza Mironko. with Rwanda’s diplomats and members of the diaspora.

Furthermore, Ambassador Abdelouahab Bellouki mentioned the fact that the African Union is moving ahead. In March of this year more than 44 African countries, signed an agreement on establishing a Free Trade Zone.

H.E. Mr. Abdelouahab Bellouki’s integral welcome remarks reads:on behalf of the Group of the African Ambassadors, it is a great honor and pleasure for me to welcome you all to this wonderful celebration of Africa Day 2018.

H.E. Ms. Irene Florence Mkwawa Kasyanju, Ambassador of Tanzania in the Netherlands with Tanzania’s diplomats.

This year, the Group of the African Ambassadors decided to celebrate with a delay the Africa Day. This is because the date of the celebration of Africa Day, which is annually on May 25th, coincided this year with the Holy month of Ramadan.

Africa Day is annually celebrated to commemorate the founding of the Organization of African Unity in 1963. This day is particularly special and significant in many aspects, as it marks the solidarity, unity in diversity and common strategy for the development of the African continent and the prosperity of its peoples.

H.E. Mr. Oji Nyimenuate Ngofa, Ambassador of Nigeria, Mr Amokrane Mourad, Chargé d’affaires Algeria, Ambassador of Egypt, H.E. Amgad Ghaffar and the Ambassador of the Sudan Mr. Dr. Hassan Ali Hassan Ali.

In 1963, African leaders were committed to helping bring about change and freedom to many African countries and restore dignity of African peoples. It is therefore our responsibility to continue that pledge for the unity of the continent and for the political and economic emancipation of its peoples as well as cooperation among them.

The celebration of Africa Day is very particular this year, declared the African Anti-corruption Year, as it focused on this important theme: “Winning the fight against corruption: A sustainable path to Africa’s transformation.”

This theme was adopted by the Assembly of Heads of States and Government of the African Union, meeting at their 30th Ordinary Session on 28 January 2018, who decided to join efforts to speed up the fight against corruption.

The Ambassador od the Sudan, Mr. Dr. Hassan Ali Hassan Ali and spouse Rana, with the embassy team.

As you know, there is an African Union Convention on preventing and combating corruption, adopted on 1st July 2003 and entered into force on 6th August 2006. Among its objectives: Promote and strengthen the development in Africa by each State Party of mechanisms required to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption and related offences in the public and private sectors.

Another objective is to promote, facilitate and regulate cooperation among the State Parties to ensure the effectiveness of measures and actions to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption and related offences in Africa. Also, an African Union Advisory Board on Corruption was created.

The focus on combating corruption comes at a critical juncture as African citizens consistently place corruption among their top concerns and priorities. This scourge is the most pressing governance and development challenge that most African countries are confronted today.

The eradication of corruption in all its forms is equally important than the other challenges for the development of the African countries, as it is a powerful obstacle to sustainable economic development.

A report issued by the United Nations Commission for Africa (UNECA), says that during the period 2000-2015, there was an annual illicit financial flows between Africa and the rest of the world average $73 Billion, from trade misinvoicing alone.

This illicit financial leak could be reinvested in our countries, in our local firms if the corruption could be stopped. This important amount would provide jobs, relaunch our economy, and therefore reduce poverty. Corruption is a destroyer of human prosperity. We should endeavor constantly to eradicate this plague.

Our role and duty, is also to change the vision that most people have on Africa, as being one of the most affected by corruption as the non-governmental organization Transparency International maintains it. The fight against corruption must be our priority, it has to be persistent, and we must not rest even if improvement is visible.

The Africa Day’s theme of this year send a strong signal that Africans are convinced that the fight against corruption can actually be won and this provides a great hope for African citizens.

There are many levers that we can use to gain the fight against corruption. First, we must strengthen the principles to fight corruption as a guarantee of transparency in the public account and public procurement contract. Similarly, the involvement of all the population, the responsibility as well as honesty must be the values shared amongst our populations and their leaders.

Alongside these values and to render their expression easier, we have to implement efficiently our laws and make sure that no-one is above them.

As we are educating our youth we have to make sure they will continue fighting this scourge that is corruption and be even wiser than we are by continuously raising their awareness.

Profound and multidimensional changes are under way in our continent.

Africa is 30 million square kilometers of opportunity. It has the youngest population on earth. By 2050, there will be 2.5 billion inhabitants on the Continent, half of whom will be under 25 years of age.

These young people will constitute an enormous asset. Young Africans are a precious element in the achievement of development; through them, we have an incredible opportunity for emergence – one on which our Continent ought to capitalize.

H.E. Ms. Vestine Nahimana, Ambassador of Burundi with Burundais and friends of Burundi attending the event.

As we commemorate Africa Day, we can’t celebrate only the past or the present, but we also need to reflect upon the common challenges we face in a global environment and our aspirations for Africa we want to fulfil. Among these pressing challenges there is undoubtedly the achievement of the goals assigned in the Agenda 2063 established by the African Union.

A decisive accomplishment took place recently. The creation by the African Leaders of the largest free trade area in the world, with the youngest population on the planet. It is a landmark event which attests to our shared determination to build a new Africa for the future.

This initiative brings in new prospects, practices and solidarity mechanisms. A continental free trade area stimulates capacities and enhances knowledge and insight. More than anything else, however, it fulfils the desire and ambition of our young people to build a strong, integrated Africa.

This initiative expands and builds on the countless measures taken by our respective countries to promote intra-African trade. It will boost investment, stimulate economic growth, enhance continental interconnectivity and inject fresh momentum into African integration. This is a pragmatic step towards an integrated, prosperous Africa which is attuned to international realities.

These important goals remain at the heart of the aspirations of the African citizens.

Indeed, what is more wonderful than a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development; an integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance.

Africa Day 2018

What is more wonderful than an Africa of good governance, democracy, and respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.

What is more wonderful than a peaceful and secure Africa, an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics; an Africa where development is people-driven, unleashing the potential of its women and youth. In fact, none of our aspirations will be met if disease, poor health, armed conflicts, climate change or terrorism continue to affect millions of our citizens.

Our commemoration of Africa Day reminds us, as Africans, that we have all the responsibility to succeed in developing a better Africa, and a better world. This must be our shared responsibility. This must be our vision. This must be the right thing to do.

Before opening our celebration, I am very glad to see you all looking happy, and some dressed in wonderful colors representing our rich and diverse African cultural heritage.

On behalf of the African Ambassadors, I would like to wish you all, a Happy Africa Day.

God bless Africa, a continent we want to be prosperous and great always.

 

 

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