Africa Day 2023 – Reflecting On the Pan-Africanism for Socio-Economic Development

Africa Day, celebrated annually on May 25, serves as a significant occasion to raise awareness about Pan-African ideals and educate the population on the rich history of the continent.

This year, the day was marked under the theme “The Africa We Want” which highlights Africa’s journey towards achieving socio-economic and political development while shaping a positive narrative for the future.

Africa Day traces its origins back to the first conference of independent African states held in Ghana in 1958. During the period between 1958 and 1963, 17 African countries, including Rwanda gained their independence, making 1960 the celebrated “Year of Africa” due to the growing Pan-African sentiments across the continent.

Pan African Movement Rwanda held a momentous celebration of the 60th African Liberation Day, centered around the theme: “Accelerating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” (AfCFTA).

As Africa observes this day, voices of prominent Pan-Africanists in Rwanda shed light on the significance of this day and its theme:

Protais Musoni, Chairman of the Pan African Movement Rwanda Chapter, emphasized the importance of reflection on this day. He acknowledged the leaders who fought for Africa’s liberation and independence, stating that colonizers had rewritten the continent’s history. However, Africa has since reclaimed its narrative.

Musoni highlighted ongoing issues such as the exploitation of Africa’s natural resources by foreign entities and the need for Africans to exhibit patriotism. He suggested that the way forward lies in reflection, addressing present challenges, and uniting as Africans to find solutions.

Jean-Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, Minister of Trade and Industry, drew attention to the lingering greed within some African countries, specifically regarding the delayed implementation of The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreements.

Ngabitsinze stressed that sanctioning the terms would bolster Africa’s economy, as every country stands to benefit from this landmark initiative.

Shakilla Umutoni Kazimbaya, Director General of Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, emphasized the necessity of significant investments in infrastructure, education, and other strategic goals. She underscored the potential of such investments to accelerate the implementation of AfCFTA and foster Africa’s overall development.

Dr. Richard Sezibera, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Rwanda, highlighted the absence of a robust legislative framework as a hindrance to effective coordination and addressing trade barriers, tariffs, and non-tariff barriers within the continent. He emphasized the need for African countries to work collectively to establish such a framework for the benefit of all.