Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham writes for The Hill on finding “African solutions for African problems” and the importance of “Africa Day,” celebrated each year on May 25:
Each year, May 25 — the anniversary of the founding in 1963 of the Organization of African Unity — is observed internationally as “Africa Day,” a celebration of pan-African unity not only across the continent, but also among the African diaspora and Africa’s international partners. Locally, this year’s commemoration, coordinated by Washington’s African Ambassadors Group, will take place on May 28, due to the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Irrespective of its precise date, Africa Day, as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted in his message for this year’s observance, is an opportunity to celebrate the continent’s achievements as well as to reflect on its challenges.
While the emergence of Africa as an economic force, currently in one of the longest stretches of uninterrupted economic expansion in the history of the continent, as well as recent democratic gains — most notably in the generally peaceful elections in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and biggest economy, and the smooth transition set to take place this Friday between outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan and President-elect Muhammadu Buhari — point to the bright prospects for tomorrow, while the ongoing political and military conflicts, seemingly endless stream of migrants headed to Europe and the persistent high poverty rates in many African countries underscore today’s problems.