While more than 200 million Africans are starving – at least 10% of them to death – and another 300 million lack safe drinking water and 640 million others lack basic sanitation, and the continent is being torn apart by unending armed conflicts and extreme suffering, the African Union (AU) is preparing to splash huge loads of cash to celebrate its 50 years of existence in style.
The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was created on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with 32 signatory governments, and ‘restructured’ on July 2002 and renamed African Union, apparently inspired by the European Union model, image and operations, although none of this has been materialised 11 years later.
The AU, surprisingly undisturbed by the troubling events challenging the continent from Cape to Cairo, has invited 75 heads of state and governments worldwide to join it next week in Addis Ababa, where champagne, liquor and food will be served with pride, and gifts will be distributed with extreme pleasure, and rhetoric flowing freely.
The Addis Ababa-based organisation said in a statement today that its 50-year anniversary festivity will be a memorable, people-centred and global year-long affair that will include a commemorative summit, celebrations, sporting and cultural events and a gala dinner.
The celebrations will kick off on Sunday 19 May 2013, with a preparatory meeting of its Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC), the statement said.
These events will coincide with the Special Commemorative Summit on 25 May 2013 on the theme Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance – two big themes many Africans have not been able to understand the meaning and savour the political, social and economic impact on their lives in the past half-century. The celebrations will also include the hosting of the 21st Assembly of the Heads of State and Government on 26-27 May 2013 which will be concluded with the adoption of a ‘landmark’ proclamation, the AU said, without elaborating on the nature of the landmark proclamation.
The AU also said that about 450 journalists from Africa and abroad have been accredited to receive live feed from all proceedings through the web and Ethiopian TV based broadcast.
For more information on these events and media accreditation, log in www.au.int.