• 25 May, 2024
  • UZA Information and Media

2024 Africa Day

Africa Day, which marks the founding of the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union, in 1963, provides an annual opportunity to reflect on the challenges and successes of the governments and peoples of Africa. This year's theme is "Educate an African Fit for the 21st Century: Building Resilient Education Systems for Increased Access to Inclusive, Lifelong, Quality, and Relevant Learning in Africa.”.As the world enters  a new era, Africa’s vast potential and resources reflect on its own progress and future in a rapidly changing world.

The independence movement that swept Africa five decades ago ignited the desire for an independent, united and prosperous continent. This resulted in a new focus on the continent's development needs and heightened emphasis on good governance in the management of the continent's human and natural resources. By consistently reminding the international community of its responsibilities towards the most vulnerable, and affirming that we are all members of a global family of nations, Africa has helped to reshape the global agenda. In this sense, Africa has emerged as an important arena for growth, positioned for innovation and prosperity. Our forefathers envisioned a united continent that was not only prosperous but respected the human rights of its people and enabled everyone   within it to achieve their full potential.

Africa is growing as many of its countries  develop, setting the pace for what appears to be a golden age for the continent. Overall, the continent’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to average 3.8% and 4.2% in 2024 and 2025, respectively. Recent growth has been due to growth in sales, commodities, agriculture, services and manufacturing. West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa and Southern Africa, are expected to reach a combined GDP of $29 trillion by 2050. Strides have also been made in technological advances, education and governance which largely made the real difference .

With a young population, vast natural resources and improved governance, the once stagnant continent is on the rise. Africa  produces highly educated citizens through innovative infrastructure and systems  that produce a skilled workforce and entrepreneurs essential for development. Countries like Rwanda, Seychelles,  Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Tanzania have done well in this regard. These highly skilled and educated citizens have also been a critical factor in driving  growth, innovation and good governance. The impact is particularly felt in sectors such as agriculture,  manufacturing, business, education itself and technological advancements including the race for artificial intelligence. Great progress has been made, and Africa is on its way to taking its rightful place as a  major player in global affairs.

Although great progress has been made and the growth is remarkable, there is a need to accelerate this growth and extend its access, benefits and opportunities to the larger African population. Governance issues continue to be an unfortunate  factor hampering the progress  made. Corruption, conflict and bad governance have frustrated growth in some parts of Africa, weighing on the pace setters. Imagine a truly united and progressive Africa with all countries on board? Imagine a continent without conflict, corruption and bad governance? This is the challenge we must overcome to reach our destined golden age. The African Union deserves credit for working tirelessly in addressing these challenges. Through various peacekeeping missions, good governance initiatives and focus on human rights, the AU is making progress with its member states   that will certainly have a positive  impact on Africa's development in the not too distant future.

Transformative change across the continent is incredibly possible in a united, borderless Africa. By facilitating seamless trade, boosting investment and sharing resources, such unity could promote unmatched economic growth and allow nations to leverage their unique advantages. Additionally, it would strengthen political stability and African nations' ability to collectively bargain on a worldwide scale, enabling them to more effectively advance their interests. Socially, an integrated Africa could foster cross-cultural dialogue, lessen interethnic strife and increase access to healthcare and education, all of which would contribute to the continent's eventual prosperity and cohesion. Africa could open the door to an unprecedented future of solidarity and development by stepping beyond the borders of the colonial era.


Africa is poised to capitalise on its potential. On this Africa Day, let us celebrate a continent that has emerged from the chains of slavery and colonisation to become the scene of a new era of innovation, growth and development.