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25.05.2004 General News

Common language for Africa advocated

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Accra, May 25, GNA - Mr Atukwei Okai, Secretary General of the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA), on Tuesday advocated African Common Language Policy to enhance communication among Africans as a vital ingredient in ensuring the success of African unity.

He said some proponents had indicated Swahili as a possible adoptive language, but cautioned that the choice of a language should not be done at the expense and marginalisation of another.

Mr Okai was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the relevance of the African Union, after a flag-raising ceremony in Accra to observe the 41st Africa Day on Tuesday.

He said African Union was not just a slogan, and added that a Language Policy, backed by political will and commitment would ensure a long-term foundation of the real unification of the peoples of the Continent.

He said the Language Policy would need to recognise and support the development of the mother tongues of Africans and among other things a continental level common language.

Mr Okai said the need for a continental language was as practical as the need for air for survival.

He praised the founding fathers of the African Union, formerly the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) for the foresight in the formation of the Union, and added that the push for a continental language sounded remote, but required the vision and determination like that of Osagyefo Dr Kwame to push it ahead for a success.

Mr Okai said Dr Nkrumah's vision and push for African unity, when he was even a student in London similarly sounded remote, but that had resulted in the decolonisation of Africa.

The Africa 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.

Thirty-two African Heads of State established the OAU in Ethiopia to facilitate efforts at decolonisation, liberation from external forces and to 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 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 to conflict areas on the Continent. By 2010 the AU hopes to have a rapid reaction force of 15,000 for immediate deployment.