Sierra Leone’s Ambassador and Dean of the African Group of Ambassadors and Charges d’Affaires in the United Arab Emirates, UAE, Rashid Sesay has addressed this year’s Africa Day Event in the UAE, where he called on his fellow Africans to stay together as a unified family to pursue the common goal of making Africa a destination for growth, economic development, and stability.

The Africa Day is an annual event to celebrate the formation of the African Union (AU), and has over the years also served as a unique platform for celebrating the achievements of the AU. The African Union Theme for this year is “Educate an African fit for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa.”

Ambassador Sesay said that 61 years ago, the great visionary leaders within the African continent saw the need to create the African Union as a Pan-African vehicle to promote regional integration, peace, unity, and cultural diversity within the continent adding that since the establishment of the AU, it had been visible in championing numerous peacekeeping missions as well as mediation efforts.

“At global level, the AU has played a critical role in relentlessly projecting the African position and interests within international and multilateral bodies. It is worth noting that the AU has been vocal in calling for reforms at major platforms, including the United Nations Security Council to ensure that the interests and voices of the 1.5 billion people in our continent are well represented,” he said.

The Dean, on behalf of the African Group, also commended the UAE for its strong interest in Africa. He said that in recent times, there had been significant increase in trade and investment flows between the UAE and several countries, in addition to mediation and humanitarian supports to conflicts and disaster affected African countries. He described the UAE’s friendly posture towards Africa as undoubtedly an example of an effective partnership that was based on mutual respect and trust.

President of the Republic of Mauritania and Chairman of the AU, His Excellency Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani, who delivered a goodwill message via video, said that the Africa Day provided an opportunity to honor the forefathers whose vision still inspired their reflection on shared future and energized their actions to fulfill collective aspirations.

Also at the event was His Excellency Sultan Mohammed Al Shamsi, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Development Affairs and International Organizations and other Ambassadors and members of the Diplomatic Corps in the UAE.