ITUC-Africa Message on 2013 Africa Day: Giving meaning to Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance

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The African Regional Organization of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) congratulates and salutes the African Union and African people on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which has since transformed into the African Union (AU).

Whilst we celebrate, we also note the stark realities around us that show that uhuru is still a long way for Africa and Africans. The goal of the African Union to promote an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens at home and abroad and representing a dynamic force in the global arena is sadly, largely in its infancy.

Africa is still a continent that has not achieved her potentials several years after independence. Sectarian and violent conflicts, sometimes leading to wars; market and government failures; the devastating incidence of HIV and AIDS; climate change; have all contributed to undermine our development.

Resource distribution, identity issues, ethnic and religious chauvinism, electoral outcomes, are some of the factors fueling violent crisis. The rise of terrorism in parts of Africa is another security threat that African leaders must commit to tame.

Working towards achieving Africa’s renaissance requires that Africans take our destiny into our hands to change our fortunes. We call on Africa leaders to commit to processes that promote effective mobilization of the people and resources towards Africa’s rebirth.

ITUC-Africa calls on African governments and the African Union to pay urgent attention and commit actions to designing and implementing practical and effective security architecture to rein in insecurity, conflicts and violent attacks.

On the economic front, Africa’s meager share of 2% of the global economy must change if we are to attain prosperity. This change can be achieved by pursuing economic growth through economic diversification based on industrialization. Presently, Africa’s mineral resources are exported raw with little, if any, value addition. This has contributed to loss of immense employment opportunities and foreign earnings. Raw mineral wealth exportation, for example, means massive job exportation.

The triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality are worsening hardship and misery amongst our people. Direct state interventions in social services will therefore be required to move many of our peoples and communities out of hardship and suffering. We urge African leaders to commit to skills and human resources development through investment in education and in science and technology. We are not unmindful that these investments will require massive financial outlay. Nevertheless, prudent fiscal planning underpinned by the elimination of leakages, especially public corruption would be key in achieving our goal.

We urge our governments to commit to genuine and urgent implementation of the provisions of the ILO Declaration on Social Protection Floor for All. Again, effective financing and the proper identification of the appropriate cocktail of social provisions needed by the people to improve their wellbeing will need to be agreed and rolled out.

On the political front, our considered view is that democracy is the only game in town and must be played on level grounds and in a manner that allows human rights and civil liberties in Africa to flourish. We call on politicians and political parties to abandon predatory politics marked with naked quest for power as means to access national treasuries and acquire personal wealth as against true stewardship and service to our people.

As we continue to strive for elections and political transitions to be free, fair and peaceful, ITUC-Africa strongly calls on the African Union to become decisive on the issue of establishing a continental electoral commission that will conduct and supervise elections in Africa. An African electoral commission will help to eliminate electoral violence, substantially reduce the cost of national elections and engender greater peace and stability on the continent.

Again we demand that accountability and justice are upheld where rights are abused. Governments must commit to investigate, prosecute and sanction persons culpable in the abuse of rights. This is a sure way to rein in impunity. Particularly, we urge African governments to improve the security and safety of journalists and media persons.

Finally, true and committed African leadership must be renewed. Africa needs visionary and exemplary leaders. We call on our leaders to rise to the need and demonstrate commitment, responsibility and responsiveness. The charge is for our leaders to become consistent in leading the African people forward to peace, progress and prosperity.

Forward with the march for an emancipated Africa!

Kwasi Adu-Amankwah

General Secretary

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