Ethiopia, the Melting Pot of the Upcoming Celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the African Union!

Image: African Union Logo

By Tsehaye Debalkew, Washington D.C.
January 8, 2013

The Golden Anniversary of the 50th year of the birth of African Unity will be colorfully celebrated come May 2013 in the city of Addis Ababa as others are fond to refer to it as the second New York City, punctuated by a series of multifarious activities and round table discussions deliberating on the tremendous sacrifice paid during the pre-independence colonial era and the achievements cherished in the post-political independence of the continent.

The round table discussions to be held it is presumed that the venue of the splendid headquarters of the AU in the hub of the continent’s capital, Addis Ababa, shall include study papers highlighting the socio-economic development attained, the challenges surmounted and the opportunities seized upon, by the African people during the last five decades.

Fifty years ago, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was established with the cardinal objective of promoting the unity, solidarity and cooperation of African States to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa, the AU said in a Press Statement on the Celebration of the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Organization of African Unity/African Union recently. Since its inception, the OAU has not only contributed to the total liberation of Africa from the vestiges of colonialism and apartheid but also has provided a unique framework for Africa’s collective action, it added. However, in light of the changing global order and the need to accelerate Africa’s integration, member States felt it necessary to transform the OAU into the African Union. African countries, in their quest for unity, economic and social development under the banner of the OAU, have taken various initiatives and made substantial progress in many areas which paved the way for the establishment of the AU.

Photo: As a further elucidation of its true current faith to African Unity and over-all development, Ethiopia has provided 130,000 square meters of land with lease and exempt taxes for materials freely imported for the construction of the now standing edifice that of the Headquarters of the AU.

The African Union is no doubt playing a crucial role in addressing the multifaceted challenges confronting our continent and raising Africa’s profile on the world stage. The advent of the African Union (AU) can be described as an event of great magnitude in the institutional evolution of the continent, inter alia, as accelerating the process of integration in the continent to enable it play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems and safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States and supporting the promotion of international cooperation within the framework of the United Nations.

It is in order to reminisce here, the pioneering and crucial role that Ethiopia played towards the realization of the political independence of the continent, itself being the only torch-bearer of independence by defeating a colonial aggressor in the last quarter of the 19th century during the famous battle of Adwa, that has remained as the acme of the empowerment of Black people the world over and enjoying its independence as the continent’s hope and inspiration.

Image: African Union Building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

It is appropriate to convincingly underscore the succinct and unrelenting effort by Ethiopia at the actualization of the African Union. Ethiopia has continued to play a pivotal role in promoting and expounding African interests true to its central place as the Headquarters of the African Union, and as a pioneer in the long and arduous liberation struggle for the independence and sovereignty of the continent.

The central role that Ethiopia has and continues to play in advocating African issues has elevated her stature in the continent earning it the necessary trust and confidence in its diplomatic engagement globally.

To cite just a recent example of corroboration of Ethiopia’s peaceful efforts to amicably utilize the Nile water with the intent of it’s just and fair distribution leading to the implementation for the Nile Co-operative Framework Agreement/CFA/ is but an illustration of its vehement belief in the empowerment of the African people in unison to utilize their common resource for a unified development.

The five-year implementation contour of the envisioned Growth and Transformation Plan /GTP/ and the concomitant drive and commitment is designed to put an everlasting historic emblem and a reverberating generational finger print by realizing the Grand Renaissance Dam, Africa’s biggest dam ever which is quintessentially attributable to the unanimous recognition by the continent as the right venue to accord Ethiopia which is now on a sure path of fast development. The crucial role, that it continues to play in the African political, economic and diplomatic landscape true to its traditionally held and hailed position in anchoring the African cause has continued unabated.

Other multi-faceted involvements in Africa by Ethiopia in ensuring peace and security have also leveraged its healthy diplomatic ties within the continent by spreading the necessary auspicious and propitious environment earning it the celebrity as a key continental player. An emblematic and emblazoning feature of Ethiopia’s and critical direct military involvements have been the series of its unhesitating participation in warding off the obstacles for a continental unity in the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, Somalia and the Sudan in Africa and bolstering the African image by its historic involvement in other parts of the world as a founding member of the UN.

Its traditional support for African liberation has been rightly chronicled in the annals of pre African independent countries from South Africa to Namibia to Mozambique, to Zimbabwe and others.

As a further elucidation of its true current faith to African Unity and over-all development, Ethiopia has provided 130,000 square meters of land with lease and exempt taxes for materials freely imported for the construction of the now standing edifice that of the Headquarters of the AU.

The new complex covers 112,000 square meters of land and comprises a 20-storey main office building, a 2,500 person-capacity conference centre and a sub-conference building with 41 conference rooms. What is more, the circular building incorporates environmentally-friendly design concepts and energy-saving technologies, a living caricature for Ethiopia’s determination to join the club of countries of the much touted and timely Green Economy!! Drawing unmitigated experience from its success story of supporting the African cause through and through the Ethiopian people whose traditions of welcoming guests with open arms mind and heart are anxiously waiting for the arrival of our African brothers and sisters and other invited guests the world over to accord the Ethiopian welcoming ululation and fanfare from the nations, nationalities of the Democratic Federal System.

Daunting challenges remain in front of the much touted march of a unified Africa. But the panacea for such ills is not out of the bounds the continent has ushered in. It is this proven unity that is the ultimate guarantee for the triumph of the African people, because as the African Adage has it “United We Stand Divided We Fall”