ANC: Africa's economic independence is still an ideal

President Jacob Zuma arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, ahead of the anniversary celebrations. (AFP)

President Jacob Zuma arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, ahead of the anniversary celebrations. (AFP)

The 50th anniversary of the forming of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) is a good opportunity to assess the progress made in living up to the founding principles of African unity, the ANC said on Saturday.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said this assessment should include what still needed to be done to achieve an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

May 25, known as Africa Day, is celebrated because on that day, in 1963, leaders of 32 independent African states signed a charter establishing the OAU, which was the precursor of the African Union (AU).

"The historic task for political independence may have been completed in most countries of the continent however, the quest for economic independence and development is as urgent and critical an ideal," he said in a statement.

"The development and prosperity of Africa in the interest of her people as a whole must define the work of the AU and all member states, consolidating the wealth and resources of the continent to benefit the masses of the people who still suffer under the debilitating consequences of poverty, underdevelopment and deprivation."

Mthembu said African countries had some of the fastest growing economies in the world and these represented opportunities that must lead to the realisation of the African agenda.

"It is our hope that the AU shall lead the charge for the socio-economic integration of the continent. Through interconnected and strengthened regional economies, Africa shall be well poised to take its rightful place in the global economy."

Advancing economic development
President Jacob Zuma arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday ahead of the anniversary celebrations.

Zuma would attend the celebrations to take place from Friday to Monday.

He would also attend the 21st ordinary session of the AU assembly on Sunday and Monday.

He was accompanied by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele.

The theme of the AU summit was "pan-Africanism and the African renaissance".

Mthembu said the ANC was happy that South Africa, working through Zuma, was playing a role in advancing economic development and integration of the continent.

"It is our wish to see even greater urgency on this front, working in concert with other progressive emerging economies of the world," he said.

"It is the African Union that must be the guardian of the vision of an Africa driven by its own citizens, seeking and finding African solutions to African problems." – Sapa

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