Africa Day is the annual commemoration on May 25, 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). On this day, leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Over 17 African countries gained independence from European colonisers between 1958 and 1963. The newly-liberated countries felt the need to express solidarity with one another, and in May 1963, leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to form the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU).
Ghana became the first African country south of the Sahara to gain independence on 6 March 1957. Just over a year after its independence Ghana under the leadership Kwame Nkrumah convened the first Conference of Independent African States on 15 April 1958. The conference called for the observance of 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.”
“I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me.” ― Kwame Nkrumah
The OAU became the African Union because of the increasingly economic, rather than political, nature of the challenges faced by the continent in the 1990s. The African Union was officially launched in Durban, South Africa, in 2002.
The African Union now comprises of 54 member states, bringing the continent of Africa to collectively address the challenges it has faces such as armed conflict, climate change, and poverty.