President Michel's Contribution to the African Union 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book
STATE HOUSE, VICTORIA, MAHE,
REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES
"lt is an honour to contribute to this cornmemorative book to mark the 50th anniversary of the OAU/AU, together with other African leaders.
I would like to seize this opportunity on behalf of the people of Seychelles and my Government to extend my sincere congratulations to the African Union on this milestone and to commend the AU for its continuous devotion and determination in steering Africa towards its aspirations for peace and prosperity.
Seychelles is convinced that the OAU/AU history as an organisation for the liberation of Africa further inspires its future as a driver of African growth, prosperity and development" Our organisation is at the forefront of our African renaissance in the spirit of pan-Africanism.
Fifty years ago, the dream of the founding fathers of the OAU was that of a united Africa where African States could intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the people of the continent" This was at a time when Africans were on the very brink of emerging from the shadow of colonisation and independence was a reality for many and a tangible prospect for others.
As the smallest African state, Seychelles reflects with pride on its own path to independence - a path that was illuminated by the efforts of the OAU, and of all those visionary leaders that blazed a path ahead of us.
ln celebrating this 50th anniversary, I would also like to salute the legacy of our former President France Albert Rend, who first fanned the flames of independence in 1964, and eventually led his nation to independence in L976. We are forever grateful to his determination to ensure that the Seychellois people's voice could be heard. Before independence, the OAU was one of the key conduits for this voice. lt was indeed our voice.
Fifty years today, the AU still signifies to all of us the spirit of equality, unity and hurnan dignity that inspired the independence movements.
The global context and political paradigm in thoie 50 years have changed considerably, but we have been able to adapt to the changes and have become more than ever committed to working together towards our common goals.
Our forefathers, in their search for justice, unity and dignity laid the foundation for a strong union of African Nations and this is the basis that we have been able to build on since May 1963. We should be proud that the African Union has today found its place as one of the most respected intergovernmental organisations in the world.
From its inception to its current status, the African Union has faced and continues to face many challenges but a lesson learnt over the years has been to turn these challenges into opportunities.
As we celebrate the half-century existence of our Organisation, it is clearly an exciting time to be African and above allto be part of the African Union. Never before hasAfrica been afforded with so many prospects to decide on its own future. Never before has Africa's future been intrinsically linked to that of the whole world.
Africa's success can provide impetus to the whole world.
It is crucial that we therefore take time to reflect on our future and of what we can do together for the next fifty years.
While our struggles for liberation are still fresh in our minds, we are conscious that we must still continue to strive for Africa's full economic liberation
We must find ways - innovative ways - to create new opportunities for sustainable development. The 'Green' and 'Blue' economies are real opportunities for us, new economic growth that is friendly to the earth's ecosystem. Africa's oceans can also bring a new frontier of resources for our people. We must ensure that we claim the benefits of our natural heritage and ensure that we bequeath these riches to our children, so that they may also benefit.
We must also continue to invest in the youth of Africa to better enhance their potential. We should look to them not only as the future leaders of Africa but as drivers of our economies today. To be capable leaders, we must create the mechanism to help them achieve that end. Education should be at the core of our policies and must benefit both boys and girls equally. We must create the right frameworks that will allow the young people of Africa to excel.
We must also strengthen our resolve to end the cycles of violence that continue to plague certain parts of our continent despite the increased peace and stability of the majority of our countries.
Our past is critical to our actions in the present and will be responsible for the future that we wish to have. Our role is to continue the work that our forefathers have started fifty years before.
It is with much pleasure that I again join with my African brothers and sisters in congratulating our organisation on its 50th anniversary."
JAMES ALIX MICHEL
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES