Africa Day 2021 (englisch) ­čÄą

Your Excellency, Ambassador Aden Mohamed Dileita, Dean of the African Ambassadors in Berlin,

Excellencies,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

58 years ago the Organisation of African Unity was established. In the light of newly achieved independence, the organization was meant to bring the African nations together and to tackle common challenges in unity.

Today, such a unity is more important than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge. And it is a challenge we can only overcome together.

The African Union and its member states have taken an exemplary approach in tackling the crisis: through solidarity and effective coordination on the continental and regional level.

But also aside from the pandemic, the AU is set to achieve the goal it has given itself at its inaugural conference in Durban in 2002: growing together as a Union at a pace aspired by its member states; and in areas where integration adds practical value: be it peace and security, trade or social development.

The deeper continental economic integration envisaged through the African Continental Free Trade Area is an important step in that regard. It is a flagship project of the African Union in the true sense of the word.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

in its agenda for 2021 the AU is not only focussing on short term crisis management. It also looks beyond.

One topic high on the agenda is art, culture and cultural heritage. This is an extremely important signal. Arts and culture form the basis of common values, of a mutual understanding across borders and of a sense of identity and community.

That is why international cultural cooperation is one of the pillar stones of our foreign policy. WeÔÇÖre glad to be a close partner of many African countries when it comes to preserving AfricaÔÇÖs rich cultural heritage.

But culture must also be part of our common future.

I have met many people who are willing and able to contribute to this goal during my visits to African countries: from start-up entrepreneurs in Silicon Savannah up to young artists in Nollywood.

IÔÇÖm convinced: we must be much more attentive and open to the perspective and the ideas of the next generation. In the face of a globalized world we can no longer afford not to listen to each other.

This is also important when it comes to tackling the long-term effects of colonialism. We must step up our efforts, for example by giving this topic much more space in school curricula, by fighting racism, but also through a joint dialogue on how to deal with objects from colonial contexts. As you surely have heard: we are working on it.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have a shared history. But first and foremost: we have a joint future. And weÔÇÖre determined to shape this future together.

Germany and the EU belong to the oldest and closest partners of the AU. And we will work hard to intensify our cooperation still.

I therefore very much hope that the EU-AU-Summit, which had to be postponed last year, can take place as soon as possible.

For now, on behalf of the German Federal Government, I wish you all a happy and festive Africa Day 2021!

 

Thank you!


The video of this speech can be watched here: