Pomp and jubilation mark African Union’s 50th anniversary

Democratic Repubic of Congio President Joseph Kabila (R) joins Cote D'Ivoire President Ouattara to celebrate AU's 5oth anniversary as war  tensions build up in his country.
Democratic Repubic of Congoo President Joseph Kabila (R) joins Cote D’Ivoire President Ouattara to celebrate AU’s 50th anniversary as war tension builds up in eastern DRC.

But Hailemariam singled out Beijing, expressing his “deepest appreciation to China for investing billions … to assist our infrastructure endeavours.” Saturday’s celebrations will be followed by a two-day AU summit meeting, to tackle the range of crises the continent faces. Mass dancing troupes perform musical dramas yesterday to some 10,000 guests in a giant hall in the Ethiopian capital, choreographed by the same team who organised the lavish opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 World Cup and this year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

The AU has budgeted US$1.27 million for yesterday’s celebrations, according to official documents seen by South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies (ISS). AU Commission deputy chief Erastus Mwencha said he did not have the exact figure but that some US$3 million would be spent at yesterday’s festivities and on other events over the coming year.

Musicians expected to perform for African leaders include Congolese music legend Papa Wemba, Mali’s Salif Keita and British-based reggae band Steel Pulse, with giant screens set up across Addis Ababa also showing the festival. Development indicators on the continent – including health, education, infant mortality, economic growth and democracy – have improved steadily in the past 50 years.

Africa is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world according to the IMF, and has attracted huge amounts of foreign investment in recent years, with Kerry praising the “economic possibilities, growth and development” on the continent. At the same time 24 out of the 25 nations at the bottom of UN human development index are in Africa.

One thought on “Pomp and jubilation mark African Union’s 50th anniversary

  • May 26, 2013 at 8:14 pm
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    50 years of what? It is shocking that African leaders would meet i Ethiopia to celebrate what they term as 50 years of Africa’s success. Unless I am missing something here, I do not see 50 years of success when two African leaders are wanted by the International Criminal Court for crime against humanity and other crimes committed against their own people. Uganda police has taken over two media houses and have shut both down for a week now. Congolese with the support of Rwandan government are slaughtering each other, Darfur has not seen peace in nearly a decade, Northern Uganda is barely recovering from 20 years of internal carnage, in Kampala, when it rains, one needs a kayak to move about, African governments invest more in defence for the purpose of fighting and killing their own people, most government hospitals throughout the continent are nearly empty, Somalia has not had a government in 2 decades, African leaders still flying around world capitals in the West to beg for aid money, Africa’s natural resources are being extracted by foreign companies and 80% of the income goes overseas and public transportation is a mess throughout the continent. With all these, one wonders what African leaders are celebrating in Ethiopia this week. It would have been best if they gathered there to mourn the death of the continent’s orderly politics as economic development!

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