Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

“Africa Day” emerged from the challenge faced by the countries of the African continent to confront decades of plunder and colonialism, and its symbolism began and continued from the images that the continent experienced in its struggle to draw its own identity.

Despite the long years since Europe began to impose its centrality on Africa, but the entitlement to African countries still exists and seems more dangerous seven decades after the emergence of the Organization of African Unity.

Historical scene

On May 25, 1963, the leaders of 30 out of 32 independent African countries signed the Constitutive Act of the Organization of African Unity in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This occasion marked the beginning of “Africa Day,” which appeared in the sixties of the last century, when liberation movements were spreading rapidly across all countries of the world, and Africa symbolized a special international situation that represented an exit from all the consequences of the past with all the oppression that this continent had witnessed, so it appeared again. To the international scene of events after it was a lost geography amid the struggle of Western companies and their competition for African wealth.

Thinking about the Organization of African Unity developed through international transformations. In 1991, the African Economic Community was established as part of the Organization of African Unity, and in 2002 the African Union appeared instead of the Organization of African Unity.

The celebration of Africa Day continued, which gained new importance after concerns about liberation were transformed towards development and breaking the economic monopoly of international financial organizations such as the World Bank. The influences left by the Europeans on the continent had serious repercussions that later emerged through political conflicts within the continent, and through the intervention of companies. Transcontinental influence on existing forms of governance.

In practice, choosing May 25 to celebrate Africa Day is not only an opportunity to highlight the achievements and challenges facing African countries, but also an opportunity to read a number of historical influences brought about by the emergence of the Organization of African Unity, and three basic things are noted here:

  • The first: the historical nature of the founding period, which carried with it a broad trend not only at the African level but also within Asia and Latin America to break the Western monopoly and seriously think about the importance of creating international blocs.

This stage involved political thinking by leaders who began searching for a new African role, despite the political differences that distinguished the countries of the continent.

Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, who hosted the founding meeting of the Organization of African Unity, played a pivotal role in gathering the leaders of African countries and encouraging them to sign the founding charter. Other leaders helped create the environment for the emergence of this day, starting with Patrice Lumumba, who was assassinated before the founding of the Organization of African Unity, but he participated in the Accra Conference in December 1958, which served as a prelude to the establishment of the Organization of African Unity, passing through the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who participated in establishing the organization, all the way to Kwame Nkrumah, the Ghanaian president, who was one of the most prominent advocates of African unity, and Nkrumah was among Presidents who signed the organization’s charter.

  • The second is the diversity of forms of domination on the African continent. In the 1960s, African countries did not only suffer from economic domination, but there was also a settler colonial form in South Africa and Rhodesia (currently Zimbabwe and Zambia).

This diversity in the form of colonialism complicated the mission of the Organization of African Unity, as it is not limited to enhancing cooperation, but also confronting colonial systems that were operating within the continent to break any attempts or experiments that could lead to an end to settler colonialism.

The organization created a state of pressure within international forums, especially within the corridors of the United Nations, to eliminate the remaining forms of this colonialism.

  • The third matter appeared in African political transformations. The contradictions in the orientations of countries bearing all the traces of colonial stages made the Organization of African Unity in the 1960s and 1970s a real challenge to liquidate the repercussions of long decades of colonialism and domination.

The unified form of the continent appeared on “Africa Day” despite all the conflicts that the continent has witnessed since the founding of the Organization of African Unity, but at the same time it acquired a different status during the years that witnessed, for example, unprecedented Libyan support for the organization during the era of President Muammar Gaddafi, even though Libya was One of the founding countries, but after 1971 it played a strong role in the later stages and was behind the establishment of the Sahel-Saharan Community on February 4, 1998, which included six countries: Libya, Mali, Niger, Sudan, Chad, and Burkina Faso.

The group formed a comprehensive economic union that implements an integrated development plan with the national development plans of member states, and includes investment in the agricultural, industrial, social, cultural, and energy fields.

Russia and the African continent

Russia has a long history of cooperation with African countries dating back to the Soviet era, and it was not far from “Africa Day” from the Accra Conference in 1958 until 1963, and its interest in the continent was different from European countries because it viewed it as part of the general international struggle to break Western hegemony.

This matter did not change in the post-Cold War stages, as it is an essential partner in supporting African countries and in making “Africa Day” have a depth in the lives of African societies. Russia has recently increased its interest in the continent, as the volume of Russian-African trade grew by 30% last year to reach To about $25 billion.

The Russian position on all African issues is clear from the statements of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, during his African tour in July of last year, where he stressed the importance of strengthening friendly relations with African countries and building a multipolar global system based on equality and the rule of international law.

Lavrov also stressed that Russia gives special importance to strengthening friendly relations with partners in Africa, considering that the second Russian-African summit in St. Petersburg in 2023 created the conditions for increasing fruitful and mutually beneficial cooperation.

Lavrov’s statements constitute a strategy that Russian President Vladimir Putin explained at the second African-Russian summit. He rejected the exploitation of the climate, the protection of human rights, and the so-called race agenda for political purposes. He called for the effective involvement of Africans in international organizations and indicated that Moscow seeks to strengthen relations with Africa in various fields. areas, and that the era of unipolarity in the world has ended and that Russia and Africa are in solidarity in their quest towards a multipolar world.

“Africa Day”… International roles

The United Nations’ Africa Day represents a true test of its commitment to the continent and its support for development and stability endeavors, as it organizes a wide range of events and activities aimed at highlighting the progress made by African countries.

The United Nations organization holds conferences that bring together international decision-makers, experts, and representatives of civil society to discuss issues such as peace and security, economic development, climate change, and human rights. The discussions aim to identify opportunities and solutions to the problems that hinder progress on the continent and examine how the international community can support Africa’s efforts more. effectiveness.

But the United Nations remains captive to the international system and policies that govern the permanent members of the Security Council. It is governed by a closed system and traditional forms of support operations.

The United Nations’ approaches do not differ much from the vision of the European Union, and especially the United States, which has a dual role on the continent: the first is to seek to achieve strategic superiority at the level of its international presence, while the second is to control the movement of raw wealth, of which the African continent is a mine, so it does not appear. Within a traditional presence, the United States has justifications related to combating terrorism that allow it to move broadly on the continent, and through it hinder the independence of African politics in general.

Africa Day is an annual reminder that the continent is still seeking to write its history in the hands of its people, away from the Western models that have tried to impose themselves on the continent. It is a day that celebrates progress, highlights the challenges facing the continent, and emphasizes that Africa’s future must be decided by Africans themselves. In their quest for a more just and equal world, where international relations with Africa remain a major focus for achieving stability and development on the continent, with the continuing challenges resulting from the colonial legacy and Western hegemony.

Written by Mazen Bilal

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