Commemorative activities of the event took place at different levels and on different digital platforms as the continent battles against coronavirus pandemic.
T he entire African continent has commemorated the 57th edition of Africa Day in a rather difficult and uncertain circumstances. This is because of the outbreak of the coronavirus that has been ravaging not only African countries but the world at large. This explains why this year’s edition of Africa Day on May 25, 2020 was observed on the theme “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.” Commemorative activities took place at different levels but most on virtual platforms given the coronavirus pandemic. However, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Chadian born Moussa Faki Mahamat in his message stated that “There is an urgent need for Africa to chart its own course.” The COVID-19 pandemic, he noted, brutally reminds Africa of the imperative need to put a stop to dependency on the exterior. “This can be achieved through the twofold objective of living on our own resources, and resolutely focusing on our industrialisation process,” he stated. Africa, the richest continent on the globe yet so poor and dependent on the west for survival and Ambassador Faki Mahamat says its food dependency, insecurity, poor state of roads, ports, health and educational infrastructure are unacceptable and intolerable. “In spite of its huge economic potential, and its rich, young and dynamic human capital, most African States have difficulties in ensuring the welfare of their populations,” Ambassador Faki Mahamat regretted.
He saluted various initiatives taken by member States in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and praised the AU Solidarity fund put in place at the level of the continent. A fund which Cameroon has contributed the whopping sum of FCFA 1 billion. Talking about industrialisation in the continent, it should be noted that Cameroon has also taken bold steps through its Industrialisation Master Plan to foster sustainable development. AU as well as UN officials hold that sustainable development can only be realistic in Africa if guns are silenced. As Cameroon combats armed organisations in the Far North, South West and North West Regions, the government has already put in place development programmes to rebuild crisis-hit zones. It is already working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for a multi-billion project for the reconstruction of the North West and South West Regions. “On Africa Day, I reaffirm my total solidarity with the people and Governments of Africa in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and paving the way for recovery and a better future for all,” UN Secretary-General, António Guterres said in a statement while calling for debt relief and actions to maintain food supplies, protect jobs and cushion the continent against lost income and export earnings.