Africa Day 2022
Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent
This past Wednesday, May 25th, was Africa Day. This annual celebration, observed around the world, commemorates the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor to the African Union (AU), on May 25, 1963.
After World War II, particularly between 1945 and 1965, a significant number of African countries gained independence from European colonial powers as decolonization efforts gained momentum across the continent. Ghana became the first African country south of the Sahara to gain independence in March of 1957 and, one year later, the first Conference of Independent African States convened under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah. Members included Ghana, Ethiopia, Sudan, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia, as well as representatives of the National Liberation Front of Algeria and the Union of Cameroonian Peoples. Apart from being the first conference to be held on the continent bringing various African countries together, the AU became a platform to cooperate in the struggle against colonialism. In order to encourage this common goal, the conference called for the observance of an African Freedom Day once a year to mark “the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the determination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.” This celebration laid the groundwork for what has become Africa Day.
Since then, the AU has designated a theme each year to direct support and education surrounding specific issues facing the many peoples of Africa. 2022 was designated the year of nutrition, with the fitting theme of Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent. It is estimated that African countries are losing the equivalent of between 1.9% and 16.5% of their GDP due to child under-nutrition, and these children are at risk of losing 10% of their lifetime earning potential. You can find more details on this year's theme, objectives, and resources here.