Egypt has been at the heart of the epic struggle for freedom by the people of Africa, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr said during his speech at the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity.
Amr said Egypt has made its resources available to support the independence of the people of Africa. “Egypt has hosted African liberation movements… and radio stations were launched from Cairo in African languages to call on the people of the continent’s nations to revolt and liberate,” Amr said.
Amr also said Egypt is proud to be one of the founding members of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and that Egypt will continue to support the partnership’s various projects.
Former head of the African and Arabic Research Centre Helmy Al-Sha’rawy said Egypt has only managed a limited part of NEPAD and is not a major player in the partnership.
Amr said Africa is now being viewed as a rising continent in terms of economic development, after being considered a hopeless case a few years ago. However, Al-Sha’rawy said Egypt has not been present during the economic competition in Africa, not just competition from countries like the United States, but also by countries “from our own level like Iran and Malaysia”.
Amr ended his speech with hopes that the anniversary will be a chance to renew determination for work that achieves the aspirations of the African people for a better future.
Al-Sha’rawy said he believe that many Africans blame North African Arabs for many of their problems. “Some expected Egypt to solve this… but not of the political players after the 2011 revolution contributed to making Africans feel real change,” he said.
The African Union came into existence in 2002, replacing the Organisation for African Unity which was formed in 1963. Amr’s speech was delivered in Cairo, in a celebration hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The African Union said the theme of the 50th anniversary commemorations will be “anchored by the theme of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance”, building on past, present and future experiences of the African people.
Celebrations of the anniversary are set to be held in member states of the African Union throughout the year.