President John Dramani Mahama has urged Africa to continue working to secure a better future for the next generation as the continent celebrated its 53rd African Union Day yesterday.
In a statement to commemorate the day, he also praised the role Ghana had played in the sub-region, saying it had ensured “a powerful and positive impact on the well-being of millions of people”.
President Mahama, former chairman of the African Union’s High-Level African Trade Committee, hailed the strides the continent had made in political and economic spheres.
“Africa is rising; there is no question about that. We are rising from violence and dictatorship to peace and democracy; we are transforming our economies from those based on the export of raw materials to modern ones, able to produce value-added goods and services; we are rising from misery and absolute poverty to a place of hope and improved standards of living.”
While acknowledging the difficulties that have plagued African countries, President Mahama insisted that Africa required more opportunities and not sympathy from the rest of the world.
“Of course, things are far from perfect in Africa, and we still have a long way to go, especially when it comes to sustainable solutions for our youth. However, our voice is now stronger and more respected in the world. We no longer need sympathy – we need fair partnerships and opportunities,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, a flag-raising ceremony was performed at the State House in Accra yesterday to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of the African Union Day.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hanna Serwaah Tetteh, and the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Ms Pavelyn Tendai Musaka, lifted the Ghana and AU flags respectively.
The ceremony was held on the theme, ‘African year of human rights, with special focus on the right of women’.
Addressing the gathering, Ms. Tetteh stressed the need for the various countries on the continent to move their diplomatic relations beyond governments, by building bridges for people to move freely beyond boundaries.
She said the bold and ambitious dream of the forefathers of the continent could be achieved faster with a much more united and participative African citizenry.
Ms. Tetteh urged the various governments to create the necessary environment for all stakeholders in the society, including traditional rulers and religious leaders, to participate in the development of the continent and the fight for the rights of women.
In their quest to develop the continent, she advised African leaders to take a critical look at the past and identify the areas they went wrong in order not to repeat past mistakes.
She alleged that some security officers, during their peacekeeping activities, treat women badly and took a swipe at the officials who engaged in such activities.
Ms Musaka, on her part, observed that women on the continent continued to face hurdles in their quest to participate in politics and governance.
She stressed the need to champion the rights of women and called for policies to encourage more women to seek education.
While commending the AU for maintaining peace and security, she said political conflicts, terrorism and border insecurity continue to be a challenge confronting the continent.
She urged the various governments to foster greater regional integration to stimulate intra African trade and economic growth.
The continent is endowed with vast resources and if optimally exploited can transform the continent into a major donor instead of donor dependent continent.