Celebrating a vibrant continent

African ambassadors share hopes for enhanced partnership with Israel.

africa 88 (photo credit: )
africa 88
(photo credit: )
Today the 25th day of May marks the anniversary of the founding of the African Union (AU) 45 years ago by the leaders of the newly independent nations of Africa. Africa Day originated in 1963 as a commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity and was known then as African Freedom Day. It became known as Africa Day in July 2002 when the Organization of African Unity and the African Economic Community joined forces to become the African Union. Since then, the day has come to represent a celebration of Africa's diversity, beauty and mystery. Africa Day strives to bring unity and pride to our continent. Over the past 45 years, Africa has had its fair share of challenges and opportunities. There have been liberation wars of independence, civil wars for unity, floods, famine, pestilences, diseases, natural disasters, man-made disasters, hunger even genocide. In spite of all these, Africa has remained undaunted in its quest to improve itself and join the other major players in the global arena. Thus at the turn of the 21st century, African leaders came together and adopted a new strategy called The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). In launching this initiative, African leaders expressed their desire to shed the cloak of a never-do-well continent and enter a new era of bi- and multilateral relationships that are consistent with global best practices. NEPAD has been a clarion call to all who care to listen that African nations are willing to welcome any genuine development partners to collaborate in meaningful and sustainable development. Indeed, NEPAD gives a new face to Africa whereby the continent is ready to engage with anyone who can meaningfully help bring and make life worth living for its teeming population. As we celebrate this 45th year of the AU, African missions in Israel wish to use this occasion to once again reiterate to their Israeli partners that Africa has a lot to offer. To support its developmental efforts, Africa desires genuine collaboration in the areas of technology, sciences, agriculture, water management and usage as well as renewable energy. Being conscious of the enormous strides that Israel has attained in the field of solar energy, Africans are willing and prepared to partner with it to tap their abundant solar energy to power industries and illuminate homes. Indeed, Africans are not unaware of the dangers prevalent in the volatile Middle East region and the ever-present war of attrition between Israel and her neighbors. Conscious of the continent's extensive goodwill and network of relations, Africa's nations are willing to continue to support international efforts to broker better understanding to this seemingly intractable crisis. As we celebrate the anniversary of our continental organization, we invite our Israeli friends to come forward and engage with us in our effort to build a viable and united continent of Africa that can boldly hold its own in the comity of nations. The op-ed was jointly authored by H. E. Nana Owusu-Nsiah - ambassador of Ghana and dean of the African Diplomatic Corps; H. E. Mr. Henri Etoundi Essomba - ambassador of Cameroon and dean of the Diplomatic Corps; H. E. Mr. Ahmed Ould Teguedi - ambassador of Mauritania; H. E. Mr. Jose Joao Manuel - ambassador of Angola; H. E. Ms. Felistas Vunoro Khayumbi - ambassador of Kenya; H. E. Mr. Mohamed Assem Ibrahim Mohamed - ambassador of Egypt; H. E. Rev. Fumanekile Fumie S. Gqiba - ambassador of South Africa; H. E. Mr. Tesfamariam Tekeste Debbas - ambassador of Eritrea; H. E. Prof. Raymond Sessie Koudou - ambassador of Cote d'Ivoire; H. E. Mr. Fesseha Asghedom Tessema - ambassador of Ethiopia; H. E. Mr. Dada Olisa - ambassador of Nigeria; H. E. Mr. Kimboko Makengo - ambassador of Democratic Republic of Congo; and Mr. Guy Nestor Itoua - charge d'affaires of the Republic of Congo.