Africa is celebrating its 60th year anniversary since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now the African Union (AU).
The late Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, among other African nationalists, founded the Organisation of African Unity, (now African Union) in Ethiopia in 1963 to forge unity and development in the continent.
Since its formation, the continental body has been instrumental in enhancing and promoting development, unity and peace through various transformation mechanisms. Various policies have been put in place for regional cooperation to boost trade, social engagements and free movement.
As the immediate past President (Presiding Officer) of the African Union Economic Social and Cultural Council (AU ECOSOCC), it is notable that many African leaders today are committed to enhancing development, peace and stability in the continent.
Progress has been made to ensure that stability is maintained, peace prevails and meaningful development is realised in Africa. However, a lot more still needs to be done to silence the guns in the continent. Bad governance, massive corruption, unemployment among the youth and disrespect to human rights are some of the major challenges still posing major threats to development in the continent. Dictatorship, manipulating respective country constitutions to cling to power, military coups, political power struggles as witnessed in some African countries like Sudan, are serious drawbacks to Africa’s image and progress.
There is a lot of potential for Africa's economic growth. The AU’s Agenda 2063 aims at taking Africa to the next level of its development. Africa is no longer a dark continent and its leaders through the AU should ensure that Africa achieves its next level of development. Other non- state actors such as the Civil Society, the private sector, the professionals, the media and scholars, among others, should be in the lead to make sure that Africa stays on the right path.
By Denise A.O.Kodhe
Director General, Institute for Development and Leadership in Africa (IDEA for Africa), Former Presiding Officer (Former President) African Union Economic Social and Cultural Council and Member of the Advisory Group of the African Human Security Index (AHSI).