The 25th of May is Africa Day. Arterial Network, as a pan-African network of arts and culture, will be celebrating Africa Day through its affiliates across the continent.

The celebration of this day offers an opportunity not only to consider the enormous challenge of building unity between the diverse societies in which we live, but also to consider how arts and culture are important to our societies – the value that they bring in terms of social cohesion, peace, educational activities, awareness-raising, in order to drive the necessary changes.

There are many positive steps which demonstrate the central role of arts and culture for growth and development in Africa, evidenced in the conscious shaping of cultural and creative industries in some countries.

Culture is an essential element for the success of Agenda 2063 – the African Union’s vision document for the continent. Aspiration Five envisions an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics, and that Pan-Africanism and the common history, destiny, identity, heritage, respect for religious diversity and consciousness of African people’s and her diaspora’s will be entrenched.

However, these goals cannot be achieved without fulfilling Aspiration Three, which envisions an Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.

Celebration of Africa’s rich cultural life and heritage must therefore go hand in hand with dedicated efforts to make Africa a prosperous continent based on inclusive growth and sustainable development (Aspiration 1); a continent where development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth (Aspiration 6).

Also, according to the vision of the African Union, the continent can be transformed through the following critical enablers: – Changed attitudes  and  mind-sets, to  rekindle  and  strengthen  Pan-African values of self-reliance, solidarity, hard work and collective prosperity, and build on  African  successes,  experiences  and  best  practices  to  forge  the  African model of development and transformation.; –

A Pan-African perspective, through solidarity, integration, implementation of our programmes and pooled sovereignty on critical issues of continental and global dimensions.

Africa must join forces to bring its potential to full fruition, so that we can celebrate the continent, not just today, but every day.

Together, let us work for a united and prosperous Africa!

Mamou Daffé



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