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M.C.T. Kogda Somda: Statement at the Celebration of Africa Day

Statement by Ms. Marie Claire Tihib Kogda Somda, President of the United Nations African Ambassadors Spouses Group, Spouse of Ambassador, Permanent representative of Burkina Faso to United Nations, at the celebration of Africa Day in New York, June 26, 2013

Madam Tihib Marie Claire Kogda-Somda

It is a real pleasure for me to speak on behalf of the African Ambassadors Spouses Group to welcome you at this double commemoration of Africa Day and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, which became the African Union a decade ago.

I take this opportunity to express the gratitude of African Ambassadors spouses for the honor done to them each year to take part in the celebration of this day.

Allow me also to thank Universal Peace Federation, which joins us for celebrating this important event.

At this historic moment, we need to have a pious thought for the pioneers of the creation of the Organization of African Unity, those who fought for the liberation of Africa and laid the foundations of its unity. This is an opportunity for us to pay them tribute, because they deserve both our admiration and gratitude for having dedicated their efforts and even their lives to the ideal of African unity.

On this anniversary of the Organization of African Unity / African Union, we should also be allowed to magnify the continent once conquered and Balkanized but which has rediscovered its dignity and its path to progress. Hence the theme of the celebration: "Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance," which is timely.    

A famous African singer who left us last May, GG Vickey, sang these words: "Glory to you African people, your destinies are blessed. In defiance of all prejudices, proud and always smiling, African built Africa in joy. Long live with a bright future. At the cost of their sweat and even their blood, your children will make you the most beautiful country."

What hope, what determination that artistic wisdom inspires! Africa has huge advantages in terms of human resources with the youngest population in the world with a lot of energy, creativity, and talent which is a growth potential for the economic revival of the continent. However, it is necessary to mobilize this potential, strengthening mechanisms for job creation through employment strategies which give more attention to rural development, investment in agriculture, and women's empowerment.

Africa is also full of huge economic potential that can be exploited through investment, industrialization, and trade. This will improve employment prospects as well as basic social services, especially health, education, and sanitation.

The African economy is promising. It was even stronger in the last decade, making more and more of the continent an emerging market and a potential hub for global growth.

The transformation of the Organization of African Unity into the African Union in 2002 was inspired by a more comprehensive and realistic approach to integration.

Richly endowed with natural resources and with an exceptionally young population, Africa has everything to succeed. Africa needs the world, as the world needs Africa. Let's work together to make our continent a haven of peace and an island of prosperity, not only for the present generation but also for those to come.

Long live African unity.

Long live the friendship between peoples.

Long live strong international cooperation.

Thank you.