In his acceptance statement on assuming the chair of the African Union (AU) for 2020, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared that the AU would “deal with countries outside our continent that are fighting proxy wars”.
At the time, militant groups destabilising Libya and South Sudan were being sponsored by foreign powers.
President Ramaphosa’s speech was also in line with the 2020 AU theme: “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.”
The AU later agreed to extend the implementation of the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps for Silencing the Guns in Africa for a period of 10 years, from 2020 to 2030.
This year, Africa Day comes at a time when a proxy war in Eastern Europe is now affecting global food security and economies.
The African Union Commission commemorates “Africa Day” on May 25th each year to acknowledge its successes and to encourage the progress that Africa has made under a specific theme while reflecting on the common challenges that the continent faces in a global environment.
The African Union’s theme for 2022 is: “Strengthening resilience in nutrition and food security on the African continent: Strengthening agro-food systems, health, and social protection systems for the acceleration of human, social and economic capital development.”
The year 2022, which has been declared the year of nutrition by the AU, is now a year of food shortages as a result of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict.
We have said it here before that Moscow wants to neutralise US hegemony, while Washington is pushing for Russia’s containment.
Africa has had its fair share of proxy wars, and in this volatile period of “Cold War II” it is very easy to get caught up in a war that is not ours.
President Ramaphosa, who handed over the AU reigns to President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo last year, explained that other challenges facing the continent include trade imbalance and dumping of substandard products in Africa.
The AU is also still fighting for freedom for the people of Western Sahara and Palestine, and the restoration of Libya which was destroyed by Western powers.
President Ramaphosa also warned that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) should never be used in the interest of “economic colonialism and imperialism”.
“We must all ensure that the AFCFTA does not become a conduit for products with minimal African value addition to enter and penetrate our local markets under the guise of continental integration.
There must be a reasonable standard set for what constitutes a product made in Africa.
“The era of economic colonialism and imperialism under which Africa is a pit stop in the global assembly line, has passed,” he said.
His message rings true today.
Africa must be vigilant.
Africa must never be a proxy, a dumping ground for substandard products, an economic colony or “a pit stop in the global assembly line”.
Today is indeed a day to encourage the wins that Africa has gained and reflect upon common challenges.
African solutions for African problems!