Message on the occasion of Africa Day from President James Michel

Sun, 25 May 2014 | Foreign Affairs

On the occasion of Africa day on 25th May 2014, Seychelles again joins with the rest of Africa, Africans living in the diaspora and the rest of the world to commemorate a very special occasion.

The 25th of May is a key date in the African calendar as it is an occasion to not only pay homage to the founding fathers of our Union but to also understand the message of hope and determination that this day carries for an Africa ever conscious of its pivotal role in a highly complex world.

On this day, we pay tribute to all those who fought and continue to fight very hard for the political and economic emancipation of our continent. FetAfrik, as it is known in Seychelles, is being celebrated here on the islands with a number of specific activities where Seychellois are getting the chance to appreciate other African cultures besides our own. But FetAfrik, is more than a celebration of cultures.

It is a vivid reminder of a continent so diverse in views, so blessed with resources and so full of promise. Through the various activities, FetAfrik also demonstrates Seychelles' continuous efforts in promoting the rapprochement of cultures and the reconciliation of nations.

In celebrating Africa's considerable achievements today and the spirit of African unity, we also renew our commitment to Panafricanism and African renaissance while looking at the greater role that Africa is destined to play in world affairs. Last year, we honoured the African Union which for 50 years has dedicated itself to securing Africa's rightful place on the world stage, and to achieving a better life for all the peoples of Africa.

I applaud the African Union for focusing on an African Agenda 2063 that will set our continent on the path to the future we all want:  dynamic, equitable and sustainable growth that benefits all Africans. Last year we also saw the passing of a great African Statesman - President Nelson Mandela. His legacy continues to inspire all Africans.

For the youth of Africa, Africa Day should be especially significant as our continent has the youngest population in the world. Seen through the eyes of her children, the future of Africa is bright. In this international year dedicated to Small Island Developing States by the United Nations, I am particularly proud to join the islands of Africa and of the wider African family in renewing our commitment today to work towards the progress of our continent.

As we approach the end of the MDGs, we as Africans, need to contemplate on what we have not been able to achieve and how are we going to set about accomplishing our priorities for post -2015. With Africa being the second engine for global economic growth after Asia, it is no longer acceptable that many African countries might not reach the various MDG targets set. The time has come for Africa to free itself from these paradoxes and renew efforts that will make broader social and economic progress realistically attainable for all Africans.

The theme chosen by the AU for 2014 “The year of Agriculture and Food Security” is therefore apt as we need to further our commitment in combating hunger, starvation and malnutrition,  which continue to make a mockery of human dignity.

This year we mark the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) and we acknowledge the role it has played to boost agricultural productivity in Africa.

The time has however come for us to look towards the oceans to secure the long-term well-being and food security of Africa. Recent events have also been a reminder of the importance of empowering the African woman and promoting gender equality.

The protection of the African girl is of pivotal importance while we must also ensure that the African boy is not left behind. On this day, we are also reminded of the ever pressing need for African leaders to unite to fight against all forms of terrorism, which is increasingly putting in peril our peace and stability.

On Africa Day 2014, let us once again reaffirm our commitment to peace, unity, democracy and prosperity for all.


President James Alix Michel

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