|2009 Africa & Ecowas Day Celebrations|
Government policy on promoting regional integration is to give it a new impetus by using the fast track approach, particularly at the sub-regional level
. Africa Day falls on 25th May while ECOWAS Day is on 28th May 2009.
This year’s Africa Day celebrations would subsume ECOWAS Day Celebrations since ECOWAS is a building – block of the AU and incidentally the two days fall within the same week.
On the continental level, the AU has provided this year’s theme as follows: “Towards A United, Peaceful And Prosperous Africa.”
Under this theme, the current burning issue is Union Government and the re-emergence of the debate of the two traditional schools of thought: “union government now” and the “gradualist approach”. Also critical are the challenges of peace and democratic consolidation.
On the sub-regional level, apart from the above, emphasis is being placed on the elimination of obstacles to free movement of goods and persons, the consolidation of cross-border security, and regional infrastructural development, particularly the energy sub-sector.
However, the theme for this year’s ECOWAS Day Celebrations in Ghana is focused on Eliminating Obstacles to Free movement While Fighting Cross-border Crime.
On the continental level, in line with the AU theme, planned activities would seek to involve the general public in the debate on the way forward for African Unity, as well as the challenges and responses to democratic consolidation, to be led by experts on the matter, while at the sub-regional level, sensitisation programmes will revolve around free movement and across-border security co-operation.
Proposed activities to mark Africa Day, including ECOWAS Day, are therefore captured in the attached programme which was earlier endorsed by the African Group of Ambassadors on 7th May 2009.
It is also envisaged that while the programme will mainly run for one week, other relevant activities will be planned to cover the rest of the year and implemented subject to the availability of funds. Details of these are to be considered by the National planning Committee.
In so doing the momentum will be maintained over a more prolonged period of about 5-6 months and would also hopefully factor in the centenary celebrations (September 2009) of our Founder and great pan-Africanist Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
It is further envisaged that this year’s celebrations, and indeed subsequent ones, will involve an enhanced participation of Civil Society and the private sector both in the planning and execution on the relevant activities. The evolving partnership established with the Ghana Musicians Union (MUSIGA) aimed at using the powerful tool of music in promoting African unity and development, is one such example.
Africa & Regional Co-operation Department
15th May, 2009