Happy Africa Day!
May 25th celebrates the creation of the Organization of African Unity in 1963. This intergovernmental group aimed to establish peace and better the lives of Africans. In 2002, this organization was replaced with the African Union, and includes all African nations. This shift was partly due to a need to focus on economic, rather than political challenges. Defeating colonialism is no longer a unifying factor, and now many African nations are struggling with how to best approach inter-continental trade, appropriate tariffs, and free travel across borders. The African Union aims to address these and other challenges to create a unified, peaceful and prosperous Africa.
Africa Day often has a theme: last year it was unity, this year it’s youth. Or more specifically “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in Youth.” Many African Nations, (And Tanzania is a good example of this) have very young populations, with a large percentage under 30. These young people have the potential to be a huge economic force, if provided good nutrition, healthcare, education, and economic opportunities.
Africa Day celebrations vary widely. Some African nations have declared it a public holiday, however it is celebrated across the continent with concerts, parades, and parties. Members of the African diaspora celebrate too. Celebrants often wear traditional dress, and prepare dishes from their nation of origin.