African Union chief calls for more interest in culture
Role of artists in preserving inherent African values during Africa Day celebration
The chairperson of the African Union Commission encouraged the continent Tuesday to take advantage of its unique cultures to accelerate its social-economic development and integration agenda.
Moussa Faki Mahamat made the request in a message on Africa Day, commemorating the founding of the then-Organization of African Unity on May 25, 1963.
He said Africa has long overlooked the role of culture in the promotion and formation of nations.
“I intend, during this mandate, to correct this tendency by taking an interest, more than I have done in the past, in African culture and thought. I have indicated that I will appeal to academics and sociologists from all cultural spaces to make their contribution to building a strong and achievable African consensus,” he said.
Mahamat said culture, arts, and heritage can contribute to an integrated prosperous, and peaceful Africa.
“The Union Africa is aware of the role that the arts, audiovisual and film industries play in the process of African integration and conflict prevention as well as socio-economic growth,” he said.
African leaders declared 2021 the “year of arts, culture, and heritage.”
It is geared at ensuring countries allocate necessary resources and adopt relevant policies and programs to establish a robust and more sustainable creative industry.
Mahamat stressed the importance of safeguarding the richness of African culture as per this year’s theme: Arts, Culture, and Heritage: Levers to build the Africa we want.
Africa Day, formerly African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day, is celebrated in different countries and is used to raise public awareness of the importance of African artists in preserving and promoting inherent African values, which Mahamat underlined as crucial to the continent’s growth.
In 2006, the African Union adopted the African Cultural Renaissance Charter in Khartoum, Sudan. One of the aims of the charter is to strengthen the role of culture in promoting peace and good governance.