GHANA Tuesday launched its version of the 50th anniversary of the formation of the African Union (AU), the AU @50.
The year-long celebration, which is on the theme: “Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance”, will be held nation-wide with various events.
The AU, previously known as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), was formed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1963.
The name was changed to the AU a little over a decade ago.
Launching the event, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, said Ghana had a long and rich attachment to the freedom, unity, dignity and development of the African continent.
“As we all know, our first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, not only stoked the fires of self-rule in Africa but relentlessly pursued the goal for a union of African states.
“Thus, under Dr Nkrumah and his colleague illustrious sons of Africa, a solid foundation of continental unity was laid for the eventual establishment of the then OAU in 1963,” she said.
Ms Tetteh said given the historic nature of the celebrations, Ghana would seize the opportunity to reflect on the past, the present and the future of African arts and culture that would enthuse and energise the people.
To that end, an Inter-Ministerial National Planning Committee of the AU@50, chaired and hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, was inaugurated on March 5, 2013 to plan and effectively organise various activities to commemorate the event.
“Accordingly, Ghana’s commitment to this continental organisation, its vision and mission has been and is still undoubtedly demonstrable. This sterling commitment encouraged Ghana to join other member states a decade ago to transform the OAU into the AU.
“Since the transformation, we have worked as countries and citizens of Africa to accelerate the pace of Africa’s development in order to catch up with other advanced parts of the world,” she said.
Ms Tetteh said the country should seize the celebration to renew its commitment to stay the course of unity, progress and democracy.
The minister later handed over Ghana’s AU torch to Professor Atukwei Okai, the Chairman of the National Planning Committee.
Professor Okai said the committee members were privileged to be considered to carry out the task which had been given them.
The Minister of Information and Media Relations, Mr Mahama Ayariga, said Africa had been strategically positioned to partner the rest of the world.
Events lined up for the anniversary include a concert on May 5, 2013, nationwide Muslim prayers on May 24 and nation-wide Christian prayers on May 26, 2013.
Story: Emmanuel Bonney