Rich cultural, natural heritage can transform Africa

Rich cultural, natural heritage can transform Africa

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Cultural heritage of Africa

Due to vast conflicts, climate change and economic shocks, African continent remains among the most vulnerable regions on the Earth. In times of Covid-19 pandemic when crises take devastating shape, many of the countries in Africa are already facing famine. Many more African regions and millions of people are hanging on the verge of hunger. Land degradation and desertification due to frequent drought conditions has made severe affects agriculture and food sector.

In such immensely hard times, there are some rare resources on the continent that have potential to transform the region. There impact can be huge if they are utilized effectively and efficiently. This years’ Africa Day was themed on arts, culture and heritage that can drive African transformation. The Africa Day marks the establishment of the Organization of African Unity, now African Union (AU), in 1963. Further, this day every year gives way to measure challenges and achievements of the Governments and peoples of the continent.

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Transformation by cultural heritage of Africa

This year’s event celebrated Africa’s wealth of culture, heritage, indigenous knowledge, possibilities, and beyond that. Launching the 2021 Africa Dialogue Series, Secretary-General AntĂłnio Guterres welcomed this year’s event focus on “cultural identity”. The UN chie urged the world to “not only defend diversity but to invest in it”. The UN chief emphasized on the continent’s “rich, diverse cultural and natural heritage”. Besides, he highlighted their importance for sustainable development, poverty reduction, and building and maintaining peace. Furthermore, referring the societies of today as multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural, Guterres, said this is richness, and not a threat.

Every community must feel that its culture and identity is being respected. The UN chief calls on the world to “redress the ills of the past that have bred mistrust and division”. Besides, amid the continuing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, he urged the world for “clear solidarity” with the continent. In many nations, government failed to deliver even basic services like healthcare, education, electricity, water and sanitation. While global slowdown has “exposed deep-seated inequalities and vulnerabilities”, this is endangering hard-won development gains throughout Africa and beyond. While the global economy targets at 6 percent growth, only 3.2 percent for Africa is a matter of concern.

African cultural renaissance, Pan Africanism

The Special Adviser on Africa, Cristina Duarte suggests stakeholders to “seize the opportunities” offered by the pandemic. This includes a change of mindset and have forward-thinking to approach the development of Africa’s development, she said. Moreover, Duarte emphasized on the need for an “African cultural renaissance” and encouraged for “the spirit of Pan Africanism. Understanding Africa’s immensely rich heritage and culture is the way to build our destiny and also own it.

The UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir said that we cannot overstate the societal impact of culture. Culture shapes our identities and gives meaning, purpose and a sense of belonging. It is imperative for social cohesion, he explained. The UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that the Africa Day has come in such trying times while we are fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences. The pandemic and its aftershocks have brought acute impacts on the continent.

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