Africa Day commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (now known as the African Union) on this day, 25 May, in 1963.
By Sofiya Ruda and Linda Bordoni
25 May is a day in which to celebrate how far Africa has come against the odds and to recognize how much more needs to be done to ensure justice and peace for all of its children.
The origin of the observance lies in the collective African resistance to colonialism and economic exploitation, and Africa Day was, and is, intended to highlight the continent’s continued collective struggle against adversity.
Fr. Giulio Albanese, a Comboni missionary priest and Africa expert spoke to Vatican Radio and reflected on the gifts of Africa, the interconnectedness of humanity, and the common destiny of mankind.
Listen to Father Antonio Albanese
“I firmly believe that Africa is really a blessing for humankind, because Africa is a continent with a thousand potentials, a sort of container of ancestral wisdom, and it is not poor at all. It is not a poor continent but an impoverished one,” he said.
This is because, he said, savage exploitation, especially as far as raw materials are concerned, have pillaged it.
This means, he said: “The real need is justice.”
Foreign powers, Fr Albanese continued, must invest – both for the present and for the future – in civil society, in associations, in movements, in groups of lay people “who want to change the rules of the game.”
“In other words, we have to look at Africa in a positive manner.”
A continent looking to the future
Africa, the missionary priest added, is projected towards the future also for demographic reasons.
“This is a young continent: we have to take into account that the population, the entire population of the continent, at the present moment, is one billion, four hundred million people,” he said, explaining that this means “that this continent is growing day by day, and the average age is about 20 years old.”
That’s a huge difference from Europe.
“It means that it is a very young continent, and if we make a comparison with Europe, there is a real gap.”
A common destiny
By the year 2050, Fr Albanese concluded, “Africa will have a population of 2 billion five hundred million people, while Europe will be less than 5% of the entire world population.”
Increasingly, he affirms it is clear that we are all connected.
“I think the message that must be delivered in this occasion is to understand that we together have got a common destin