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Citizens across the continent of Africa came together on May 25 in celebration of the 54th annual Africa Day, with a theme aimed at highlighting accelerated economic growth through investments in youth.
The continent has one of the largest populations of people ages 35 and younger, and youth education in almost every African country has reportedly shown increase over the last 25 years, but not without obstacles in unemployment.
“Celebrating Africa Day, to me, is recognizing not only what Africa has contributed to the rest of the world, willingly and/or unwillingly through slave trades, wars and colonization, but also through trade, cultural and civilizational exchanges,” said Mohamed Saliou Camara, chair of the African Studies department at Howard University in Washington. “[And] also to see how much Africa has learned, acquired and borrowed from other civilizations.”
Formed in 1963 in honor of the creation of the Organization of African Unity — now known as the African Union (AU) — residents from all across the continent took part in elaborate festivals, dance performances and feasts in celebration of the strengths of Africa.
World Health Organization Elects First African Leader
The World Health Organization (WHO), a specialized agency of the United Nations specializing in international public health, recently made history with their election of their first African leader and director-general of the organization.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, physician and former health minister of Ethiopia, was elected on May 23 through a secret ballot to lead the organization.
In a heartfelt speech during elections, Ghebreyesus laid out his mission for the agency.
“Coming from this background, knowing survival to adulthood cannot be taken for granted, and refusing to accept that people should die because they are poor, I have dedicated my life to improving health, to reducing inequalities, to helping people everywhere live more productive lives,” he said.
The African Union represents 54 WHO member states.
Many Countries Represent Africa at G-7 Summit
Nation leaders from across Africa headed to the island of Sicily last week for the Group of Seven wealth nations (G-7) meeting for a solution to climate change.
Though no agreement was met due to lack of clarity by U.S. President Donald Trump regarding greenhouse emissions cuts, many participants were overwhelmed by the support geared toward Africa.
In opening remarks, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni shed light on the importance of the meeting.
“Perhaps the choice [to be in] Taormina and Sicily says much about how important our relations are with Africa,” Gentiloni. “Today our discussion on Africa will focus on the need for a partnership across all sectors … with innovation and development our core objective.”
Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union Commission chairperson, was also in attendance.