The foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 was a landmark accomplishment for Africans and a pivotal turning point for Africa, said the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth on Thursday 25 May 2023,at the Nelson Mandela Centre for African Culture, in La Tour Koenig. He was speaking during a diplomatic reception organised to mark Africa Day 2023 and the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the OAU, now known as the African Union (AU).
The President of the Republic of Mauritius, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun; the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration, and International Trade, Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun; several Ministers; the Ambassador of the Republic of Madagascar and Dean of African Missions, Mr Albert Camille Vital; and members of the Diplomatic Corps were also present.
In his keynote address, the Prime Minister recalled that “sixty years ago, our African brothers and sisters were determined to take their destiny in their own hands and construct a stronger and brighter Africa by eliminating colonialism’’. He thus expressed gratitude to the AU for their unflinching support to complete the decolonisation of the Republic of Mauritius so that it can effectively and fully exercise its sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago.
Commenting on the AU’s 2023 theme “The Year of the AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area”, the Prime Minister remarked that it is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063 that echoes the consensus that the future of Africa lies in intra-African-trade.
He indicated that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is the most appropriate mechanism to position Africa to respond to present geopolitical challenges. Mauritius, he reiterated, fully supports the implementation of the AfCFTA and takes pride to be one among the first African member states to trade under the AfCFTA initiative.
Speaking about Agenda 2063, the Prime Minister indicated that it is the concrete projection of how the continent intends to achieve its vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa while representing a dynamic force in the international arena.
The Prime Minister, moreover, pointed out that Mauritius, since the beginning of 2023, is presiding the steering committee of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). He underscored that Mauritius is leaving no stone unturned for the Post-Cotonou Agreement to be signed between the OACPS and the European Union at the earliest so that AU member states can benefit from trade and development cooperation.
Mauritius, he recalled, will be participating as guest country in the G20 Summit and will do its utmost best to bring forth the vulnerabilities of the AU and for the AU to join the summit as a member country.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister observed that Mauritius has become a model of financial and economic stability and a robust, trustworthy, and competitive financial centre. The country as an International Financial Centre has contributed to the continent with more than 450 investment funds in Africa, he pointed out.
For his part, Minister Seeruttun highlighted the fundamental values such as liberty, equality, justice, and dignity on which the OAU was founded. He recalled that Mauritius joined the OAU on 1st August 1968 and has since continuously worked to free the continent from any form of colonialism and for peace and unity to reign. The Minister reiterated the support of Mauritius to the AU’s endeavours for an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa.
As for Ambassador Vital, he said that on 25 May 1963, Africa created the OAU to reunite African countries under one organisation with the objective to construct and defend the territorial integrity of member states. ’’Today the AU has achieved its main objective and each of the 55 countries are independent,’’ he stated.