Debates by Africans from all walks of life are reaffirming pan-Africanism as a guide to action and the foundation for Africa's renaissance, African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said on the eve of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU).
Addressing the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Thursday, Dlamini Zuma said that, as in May 1963, the eyes of the continent and the world were focused on the deliberations of the continent's foremost governance body.
"Like in 1963 when the founding states took their first steps into political independence, in 2013 we see Africa taking off towards peace and prosperity. Through these celebrations, we will reclaim the African narrative as we reflect on the past, assess our present state and plan our future."
Dlamini Zuma said that, as the AU Executive Council worked on the 50th anniversary proclamation, "we must be mindful of the inputs from our people ... We must be mindful of our people's expectations that we should emerge from this summit, as our founders did in 1963, with a mission that will unite Africa and set her on the path to peace and prosperity."
She expressed optimism that Africa's natural resources, its unused arable land and water, its potential for energy generation and its long coastlines, rich in marine resources, would be used to achieve the 2063 agenda.
The AU Executive Council meeting will provide the framework for the proclamation on the 50th anniversary of the OAU/AU and the implementation of the Africa 2063 vision.
The draft proclamation comprises inputs from civil society, including the youth assembly, business forum, women, African editors, and academicians.
It frames the African Union's key objectives for the next five decades around the themes of African identity and renaissance. This includes agendas for integration, for social and economic development and prosperity, for peace and security, for democratic governance, and for self-reliance and Africa's place in the world.
"In each of these areas, the proclamation must spell out the continental mission and strategic objectives for the next 50 years in a bid to help Africa to comprehensively deal with the challenges ahead," Dlamini Zuma said.