The African Day was recently celebrated in the continent and by African expatriates across the world with a message of unity and prosperity.
Expatriates from various African countries form a large community in Qatar. Every year the African expatriates in Qatar organise different events to mark the day on May 25. It was different this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant physical distancing phenomenon. Different African communities, however, celebrated the day virtually using different social media platforms and highlighting what needs to be done for a prosperous and peaceful future of Africa.
As the concerns of outbreak of the novel coronavirus in African countries continue to increase, António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, has lauded the collective efforts of African Union in the fight against corona. In his message, he said: “I welcome the African Union’s support for my call for a global ceasefire to fight the Covid-19 pandemic – an imperative that also reflects the AU’s 2020 theme: “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.” Armed groups in Cameroon, Sudan and South Sudan have responded to the call and declared unilateral ceasefires. I implore other armed movements and governments in Africa to do likewise. I also welcome the support of African countries for my call for peace in the home, and an end to all forms of violence, including against women and girls.”
Like the rest of the world and African countries, African expatriates in Qatar are eager to have a better future for the continent. “Now is the time for Africa to mobilise total manpower for economic, industrial and tech reconstruction,” said Victor Ikoli, President of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation – Qatar.
He added: “On 25 May 1963, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was formed during the fight against colonialism and apartheid. Africa Day is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the successes of the OAU (now the AU) from its creation till date. The day is normally celebrated with music, dance and poetry. This year is different for everyone and everything. In Qatar, we saw African expatriates sharing their message of the day on social media and holding online sessions to further highlight the importance of the day.”
The Nigerian expatriate further said: “Our solidarity and unity will see us through in the fight against the global pandemic. Our perseverance, innovation and commitment will boost our continent’s cultural and economic potential. African countries have done well in the fight against Covid-19 which reflects in the numbers of cases and deaths in the continent. The African Union has formed a comprehensive pandemic strategy, established an African Union Response Fund and strengthened the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.”
The Nigerian community leader also highlighted the need for Africans’ unity and the African solution to the problems of the continent. “A recent research published by African Development Bank indicates that Africans require visas to fly to just under half of other African countries (49 per cent). Upon arrival, they could obtain visas in just over a quarter (26 per cent) of states and in a quarter (25 per cent) of countries, they did not need visas.”
Ikoli feels he and his fellow African expatriates are lucky to be in Qatar. “We live and work peacefully here. The country offers equal opportunities for all individuals. We always celebrate the day with cultural and literary activities but the novel coronavirus pandemic has denied the opportunity this year.”
Kumlachew Ketsela Mengistu is chairman of Ethiopian community in Qatar. He said: “The African Day was celebrated virtually. The day is the annual commemoration of the African Union. It has been 57 years since the foundation of the African Union. It was a great startup with the 32 African states in Addis Ababa with the main aim of promoting unity and solidarity. There are a lot of achievements through these years but still Africans are far behind to establish United Africa.
“For Ethiopians, since the head office is in the capital city, it is like a reminder that our elders visualised ahead of time and started pan-African movement. The Africans shall work harder towards creating a great united Africa.”
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