“The sleeping giant is on its way” stated AfDB President Donald Kaberuka during the opening of the 50th anniversary of the African Union in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Saturday 25 May 2013, as leaders from across the continent marked the progress made over the past five decades. He added that the first fifty years achieved political freedom and laid a basis for socio-economic development. Now the agenda must be economic transformation.
Mr Kaberuka gave the dignitaries present, a profound look at Africa’s past and future trajectory for the next 50 years. Africa’s GDP has increased from US$ 600 billion to US$ 2.2 trillion since the year 2000, he said, and the continent “now offers the highest risk adjusted return on investment… our economic managers are doing a reasonably good job navigating the difficult global economic slowdown”.
The AfDB President, together with a large number of African Heads of States, was joined by UN leader Ban Ki-moon, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and US Secretary of State John Kerry at the African Union headquarters on Saturday.
Mr Kaberuka noted however that despite strong economic growth, economic transformation remains a challenge for the continent. He advanced further stating that a “quality growth” of 7% is what Africa needs for the decade to come. He emphasized the importance of a quality growth as one “which is not only strong, but sustainable, fair, addresses inequalities, and leaves no one behind”
On May 25, 1963, the AU’s predecessor, the Organization of African Unity, or OAU, was established with the goal of forging a common identity for the continent as Europe’s colonial rule of Africa fell apart. Since then, the African Union has shifted focus to an organization spear-heading Africa’s development and integration.
“This historic day marks not only a great leap forward in the Pan-Africanist quest for freedom, independence and unity but also the beginning of our collective endeavor for the realizations of Africa’s socio-economic emancipation,” said Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
“When we talk about African solutions to African problems, it is because we know that we can only permanently silence the guns if we act in solidarity and unity,” said AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, adding that the continent had a “bright future”.
Statement issued by the African Development Bank (AfDB).