50 Years of the African Union
2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) also known as the African Union (AU). This is an important milestone for an entity that has helped increase political and economic cooperation across the African continent.
The AU is using the anniversary to reflect on Africa’s progress over the last 50 years, and to chart a course for the next 50 years – specifically, a new agenda focused on achieving the vision of “an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and taking its place in the global arena.”
Most important to our work at The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), the AU has been a leader in pushing African countries to prioritize health.
For example, the AU has been a prominent force in the fight against HIV and AIDS, including its role in the Abuja Declaration in 2001 (where African governments pledged political and financial commitments to fighting HIV/AIDS ) and the creation of AIDS Watch Africa to the development of the 2012 Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity for AIDS, TB and Malaria Response in Africa.
As a result, Africa has made tremendous strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS, exemplified by the update from UNAIDS documenting this incredible progress while continuing to stress that more action is required to ensure that future generations are free of HIV.
In just a few days, EGPAF will partner with the African Union will celebrate health, women, and Pan-Africanism in Nigeria alongside the Abuja Plus 12 Special Summit.
The influence and impact of the African Union was recognized by the U.S. Senate last week when it passed a resolution highlighting its 50th anniversary and reinforcing the importance of the relationship between the AU and the United States.
At EGPAF, we are proud to call the African Union a friend and partner in our fight to eliminate pediatric AIDS, and we wish them a very happy anniversary.
Rhoda Igweta is Senior Public Policy Officer for the Foundation, based in Nairobi, Kenya.