Africa Day 2016 Public Lecture at the African Union to Review the State of Politics and Democracy in Contemporary Africa

Members of the diplomatic community, scholars, policy makers, international as well as multilateral and civil society actors came together to commemorate Africa Day through an enriching public lecture under the theme Africa at 50+ Still Searching for the Political Kingdomrdquo;

Every year the African Union celebrates Africa Day, and as part of this year’s commemorations the AUC Department of Political Affairs, in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS), University of Addis Ababa and the African Peace Building Network (APN) of the Social Science Research Council held a public lecture to review the state of politics and democracy in Africa and the role African Social movements are playing in building and delivering a just, transparent, accountable, inclusive and empowering democratic order to citizens across the continent.

The commemoration of Africa Day is a significant occasion to celebrate Africa’s history since the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and provides a moment to reflect on challenges, opportunities and prospects towards continental integration. The adoption by African leaders of Agenda 2063 is a manifestation of Africa’s determination to achieve unity, prosperity and peace. Achieving that vision can only be realized through good governance, participation of citizens, investing in education, science and technology and inclusion of the diaspora among othersrdquo;, said Dr. Aisha L. Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs. She further stressed the need to change our mentality and take the opportunity to reflect on the past, present and future in order for a paradigm shift towards a more prosperous Africa.

On the Africa Day event, Professor Fantu Cheru chair of the APN Advisory Board and Senior Researcher of the African Studies Center in Leiden, Netherlands delivered a lecture on Africa at 50+: Searching for the Political Kingdomrdquo; stressing the need to understand and learn from history. He highlighted that even though the past decades have heralded extraordinary progress for Africa, a lot still remains to be done. Prof. Fantu reaffirmed the five objectives of the creation of the OAU/AU: Decolonization; Nation Building; Democracy; Development and Regional Integration, , calling for the need to tackle democracy and development simultaneously as they both go a long way in shaping the continents future. The main message emerging from the lecture and ensuing debates was the imperative to enhance inclusion and participation of African citizens in strengthening democratic governance in Africa beyond holding regular elections, respect for human rights and rule of law, as well as accountable and visionary leadership.

Source: African Union Commission (AUC).