Africa day 2019: reaping the fruits of the efforts made 56 years ago by the Founding Fathers of the Organisation of African Unity

What a pleasure to once again welcome the celebration of Africa day 2019, at Diplomat Club Wassenaar – Kasteel De Wittenburg.
Fifteen African countries were represented this year, illuminating the castle as usual with their radiance, vitality and good spirit, their stunning national dress in a myriad of styles, colours and fabrics with artful embroidery and intricate headgear.

H.E Mr. Jean Pierre Karabaranga, Ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda, who recently became Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, warmly welcomed the four hundred guests present, stressing it is indeed becoming a tradition to celebrate this special event at Kasteel De Wittenburg, in close collaboration with Diplomat Club Wassenaar.
Ambassador Karabaranga thanked his colleagues for the close collaboration in organising this successful event.

H.E Mr. Amgad Abdel Ghaffar, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, delivered the keynote speech as representative of the Chair of the African Union.
Ambassador Ghaffar expressed his gratitude at so many attending the celebration of “African History, accomplishments and culture” and for the efforts made by the founding Fathers of the OAU 56 years ago, which are now showing their fruit.

Highlights of the speech were the implementation of the ambitious 2063 agenda and the importance of also making use of the private sector in developing, amongst other things, infrastructure. As Chair of the African Union, Egypt is also focusing on Peacebuilding and Peacekeeping and will be hosting an International high-level forum for Sustainable Peace and Development coming December, and during the next months will launch the African Union Centre for Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development (AUC – PCRD).2

Ambassador Ghaffar also mentioned the role of African women in the continent’s development process, and the importance of preparing the continent’s youth for their future role. Sports plays a role in this and Egypt is proud to host the African Cup of Nations, which will kick off on the 21st of June 2019.
His speech ended with a quote from H.E the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdelfattah Al Sissi, on the commemoration of Africa Day 2019:

” We have to commit ourselves to fulfilling the dreams of the OAU Founding Fathers and the aspirations of the great peoples of Africa to build a stable and prosperous continent that is capable of ensuring a decent life for all its people and serving the entire human civilization through its culture of tolerance and love.”
Click here for the full speech

A Nigerian comedian took the stage delighting the guests with his humour.

Next to take the floor was Mr. Pieter-Jan Kleiweg de Zwaan, Deputy Director General for Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, who delivered a warm address highlighting how he too feels African.
His youngest daughter, named Aminata, was born in Africa. Looking at the beautiful photos on display he added how, beyond the clear attractions, he also appreciated the digital aptitude of the continent, as well as their progress in achieving the millennium development goals, their involvement in Peacekeeping with African soldiers shoulder to shoulder with Dutch troops and – regarding the recent issues in Sudan – complimenting them on taking responsibility for human rights abuses made there.

Thereafter it was time to enjoy the sumptuous buffet as 44 dishes were presented, prepared in close harmony with the staff of the 15 African Embassies.
The room vibrated to the sound of drums, of laughter, of connections being made and renewed. The assembly was also entertained by a street dance performance by a group of gifted artists and children from the Ivory coast and Tanzania. The African sunshine shone till the last of the guests had left.

Hosts Africa Day 2019:
HE Mr Jean-Pierre Karabaranga (Rwanda), HE Ms Irene Florence Mkwawa-Kasyanju (Tanzania), HE Mr Abdelouahab Bellouki (Morocco), HE Mr Oji Ngofa (Nigeria), Mr Pieter-Jan Kleiweg de Zwaan (Deputy DG MFA), HE Mr Million Samuel Gebre (Ethiopia), HE Vusi Bruce Koloane (South Africa), Mr Alle Dorhout (Director Africa MFA), Ms Halima Fonda Haga (CA Cameroon), HE Ms Vistine Nahimana (Burundi), HE Mr Amgad Abdel Ghaffar (Egypt), HE Mr Elyes El Ghariani (Tunisia), Mr Mourad Amokrane (CA Algeria), HE Mr. Hassan Ali Hassan (Sudan), Ms Rose Sumbeiywo (CA Kenya), Ms Ana Carla Sousa: (CA Angola), HE Ms Sophia Horner-Sam (Ghana)

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