Happy Africa Day!

Ambassadors of the Vienna-based Africa Group and ambassador of South Africa take part to Africa Day celebrations

May 31st, 2024
Alice Gnappa, News from Berlin
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South Africa showcased its culture, cuisine and fashion at Africa Day hosted at the United Nations in Vienna. The celebrations have taken place on the 27th of May and witnessed the presence of The United Nations’ general director, Ghada Waly, which opened the event with the speech partially reported here:

“[…] I am honoured to join you on this very special day, and to add the voice of the UN Office at Vienna to all of those celebrating Africa.

And I am very pleased to note the focus of today’s theme on education in Africa.

Announcing 2024 as the “Year of Education” was a very timely and very welcome step by the African Union.

Needless to say that Africa, along with the rest of the world, is going through extremely challenging times, from conflict, to poverty, to climate change. Education holds the key for a brighter future, for and by Africa’s people and particularly its young people. […] It is also a cornerstone of Agenda 2030 and is the subject of Sustainable Development Goal 4.

Today, around forty per cent of Africans are under 15 years of age, making Africa the youngest continent in the world. So we need to provide adequate and accessible education to Africa’s youth. By educating Africa’s youth, we equip them to face the challenges and seize the opportunities of the 21st century. And we empower them to lead us towards new perspectives and solutions, and to succeed where we have failed. By educating Africa’s youth, we make their talents available in business, academia, and all walks of life, including in the halls of these United Nations, where Africa remains underrepresented. By educating Africa’s youth, we establish stronger foundations for the rule of law across the continent. And we shield people from vulnerability and endow them with future opportunities to work and to live in dignity. […]

Equality and inclusion must be at the core, to reach disadvantaged children, and particularly African girls, whose belief in their future depends on our own belief in them. Education is the strongest and most impactful policy to reduce inequality. This is a fact. Accountability and transparency are also key in education systems to make sure that those systems meet commitments. And the principles of justice, integrity, and the rule of law should be incorporated into education, to plant the seeds for a more prosperous Africa. At the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, we are championing those principles in all of our work, including through our GRACE initiative, which promotes the role of education and youth empowerment in countering corruption.

As the first African to lead UNOV/UNODC, my commitment to the continent as a whole is unwavering, as we continue to work with all African countries through our Strategic Vision for Africa for more peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.

And this year, early estimates suggest our delivery will continue to rise, reaching $120 million, with more than 540 staff in 42 offices across Africa serving its people.

We continue to promote regional cooperation and advocate for Africa-owned and led solutions.


Educating Africans is not about saving Africa – it is about saving the world.

Africa’s potential is unmatched, but too much of it is untapped.

From renewable energy to global food security and so much more, Africa can be a gateway to a better future for all of humanity.

But we need Africa’s people, and especially its vibrant youth, to lead us through.

And we can only empower them to do so by investing in their education, and by striving for peace, prosperity, and equality across Africa, so that every one of them can learn, grow, and reach their full potential and well-deserved place.


News from Berlin