25th May 2020 marks the 57th Anniversary of the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). On this day 57 years ago the continental organization was established by its founding fathers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with the aim of encouraging political and economic integration among Member States, and to eradicate colonialism and neo-colonialism from the African continent. With the majority of the African states gaining independence in the 1950 – early 1970’s, the organization transformed into the African Union (AU) with the main purpose of accelerating the process of integration in the continent to enable it play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic, cultural and political challenge. On the 25th May 2020 African populations should celebrate its many achievements as a continent as well as reflect on the many challenges still impacting negatively on the development and integration of the continent and seek possible ways to resolve and minimize such. The African Union adopted its blueprint strategy, the African Union Agenda 2063: the Africa we want, in January 2015. The AU Agenda 2063 outlines seven (7) aspirations of which aspiration 05 is about the development of the arts and culture sector including its cultural and creative industries sector to enable its contribution to the development of the economy of the continent. However we are celebrating Africa day this year in an untypical environment as Africa and the entire world are grappling the Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic had a sudden and substantial negative impact in all sectors including the arts, culture and heritage sectors. The global health crisis and the uncertainty resulting from it profoundly affects organizations operations as well as cultural workers both employed and independent across the continent. The African Union has developed Continental interventions to fight COVID-19 which include:
- Implementation of the Common African Continental Strategy on COVID-19. Framework to fight COVID-19 and to strengthen health systems and mobilization of resources
- Establishment of the Technical Committee with participation of experts from all AU Member States; Socio-economic impact of the lockdown to African Economies to find holistic strategies to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19.
- Establishment of the Continental Solidarity Fund – COVID-19 Response Fund.
- Appointment by the Chairperson of the Union of four (4) envoys to play a leadership role in spearheading the mobilization of resources for the Anti COVID19 Fund.
- Capacity Building, training and pool procurement of services and equipment are coordinated by Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
- Establishment of the African Youth Front on Coronavirus as an African Union framework to engage young people to contribute youth-led solutions and co-lead Africa’s response to the pandemic. It is in this context that the African Union Commission (AUC) and the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) are organizing this online concert to advocate for contributions to the Africa COVID-19 Response Fund. The powerful role of African artists through their music and art in curbing the pandemic as well as in advocating for contributions by well-wishers to assist the Africa CDC operations cannot be overemphasized. The theme of the Africa Day celebration is ‘Silencing the Guns in the Context of COVID-19’
The objectives of the celebration of Africa Day are:
- To inspire action with key AU messages on the prevention, protection and response measures to contain Coronavirus on the continent;
- To use the power of music and the crucial role of African artists in advocating for the curb of COVID-19 on the continent;
- To engage African youth, especially young musicians, to join forces and work hand in hand with the AUC in curbing the COVID-19 pandemic;
- To galvanize solidarity from well-wishers on the continent and beyond to provide financial and in kind contributions to the Africa COVID-19 Response Fund;
- To establish a greater synergy between African artists and the work that African Union is doing in response to COVID-19 pandemic led by the Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC);
- THE VIRTUAL/ONLINE MUSIC CONCERT
The Virtual Music Concert was on Monday 25 May 2020 from 18:00 to 20:00 hours East African Time.
- PROGRAMME FOR THE CELEBRATION
- Pre-Event on 24 May 2020: A pre-event will be hosted by Ms. Aya Chebbi, AU Youth Envoy on 24 May 2020 to call up the young people and the continent at large to massively participate in the Africa Day Celebrations and tune in to the AU Virtual Concert on 25 May 2020.
- Virtual/Online Concert on 25 May 2020