AFRICA DAY CELEBRATIONS AND LESSONS FROM COVID-19 PANDEMIC

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President Cyril Ramphosa, Chairman of the African Union

This year’s Africa Day theme ‘Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development and Intensifying the Fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic’ is a reflection of the mood on the continent and a sharp reminder of the foundation of Africa Union (AU).

The AU was established with the aim of achieving greater unity and solidarity among African states and the people of Africa, and Africa Day is one of the platforms created to reflect on the strength and unity of Africa, as well as promote deeper regional integration.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which has occasioned a global lockdown, the African Union Commission (AUC) organized a Virtual Africa Day Solidarity Music Concert to advocate for financial contributions from well-wishers to the Africa Union’s Covid-19 Response Fund, as part of the Africa Day celebrations this year.

President Cyril Ramphosa, Chairman of the African Union, stated in his message that “The virus has shown how far we are from realising our developmental goals. But at the same time, this global crisis should enable a new Africa to come to the fore”.

The Covid-19 crisis in Africa is the much-needed wake-up call for African policy-makers and governments to re-evaluate the heavy dependence on external interventions in addressing the continent’s socio-economic and medical challenges. The pandemic also rams in the urgency of accelerating efforts towards Africa’s integration agenda, especially, the implementation of the Afri-can Continental Free Trade Area, AFCFTA agreement.

In solidarity with the AUC celebration of AU Day, the United Bank of Africa, the Pan-African bank currently operating in twenty African countries, under the chairmanship of Mr. Tony Elumelu, organized a high-level virtual panel session, made up of global leaders, to address policies taken by African leaders to mitigate the socio-economic risks which African Businesses are faced with.

The Covid-19 crisis is a reminder that there are common challenges that African countries cannot resolve on their own, but working together as a unit, the challenges can be overcome. COVID-19 crisis should be a catalyst for greater collaboration on all the challenges Africa is faced with.

Mr. Tony Elumelu Chairman United Bank of Africa

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