Africa Day is annually celebrated on May 25th throughout the world to commemorate the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now African Union (AU) in 1963. The celebrations, among others reinforce African solidarity, unity in diversity, challenges and successes, and the economic potential of the continent and its people.
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. Amongst those countries that attended were Ghana, Ethiopia, Sudan, Liberia, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia amongst others.
It is worth noting that there were only eight African countries who were independent at this time. The conference was an unequivocal assertion of Africa’s rejection of colonial and imperialist domination of the continent. It became the first Pan African conference to be held on the continent bringing together various African countries. Furthermore, the conference became a collective platform from which African countries sought to cooperate in the struggle against colonialism.
To further encourage and forge a common goal of fighting against colonial rule, 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.” Consequently, 15 April was enacted as called it African Freedom Day (or Africa Liberation Day), and this marked the beginning of what would later be known as Africa Day.