25.05.2004 General News

Low public awareness on Africa Day

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Accra, May 25,GNA - Many Ghanaians have little or no knowledge about the "Africa Day" celebration, which is being observed in Ghana as a statutory public holiday.

The Day, the second to be observed in the country marks the formation of the Pan-continental body- African Union (AU) that replaced the Organisation of African Union founded on May 25, 1963. A survey conducted by the Ghana News Agency in Accra revealed that a number of people approached the holiday with indifference because of the low public awareness about the significance of the Day. Most respondents were vague about the importance of the Day, and the relevance of the AU to Ghana.

The few who had knowledge about the Day commended Ghana's First President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and other founding fathers of the OAU for promoting the ideals of Pan-Africanism.

Ghana's Head of State and Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), President John Agyekum Kufuor and his peers were also lauded for their efforts in promoting peace and stability in the Sub-Region and championing the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

Thirty-two African Heads of State established the OAU in Ethiopia to facilitate efforts at decolonisation, liberation from external forces and protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states. The Day was marked in Ghana with a Flag Raising Ceremony in Accra and Inter-denominational prayer sessions.

This year's celebration coincided with the launching of African Security Council by the AU to ensure a robust body to mediate in trouble spots on the Continent.

President Joachim Chissano, Head of State of Mozambique and Acting President of the AU and a number of government representatives of the AU have converged in Ethiopia to discuss the possibility of sending peacekeeping missions in conflict areas on the Continent. By 2010 the AU hopes to have a rapid reaction force of 15,000 for immediate deployment.

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