On 25 May 2020, Africa Day, ACCORD’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr Vasu Gounden, was invited to be a resource person at the Africa Day, Silencing the Guns virtual conference under the theme, Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development. Hosted over a period of three weeks, due to COVID-19, the Africa Day events started on 25 May 2020 with this High-Level forum, and subsequent sessions taking place on 01 June 2020 and 08 June 2020. The Virtual Conference was organized by the Department of Peace and Security of the African Union Commission (AUC) under the Silencing the Guns Initiative. It will focus on thematic issues related to silencing the guns, in order to address some of the key developments and challenges in implementing the initiative in the wake of COVID-19.
Africa Day is observed annually on 25 May, to commemorate the founding of the precursor of the African Union (AU), the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which was created on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The day provides an opportunity to look at the political and socio-economic achievements of African governments and African citizens.
The objective of starting the virtual conference on Africa Day was to engage stakeholders towards the development of country-level and sub-regional programmes of action towards silencing the guns in Africa, with particular attention to the current global context; to sensitize and generate interest among African Citizens about the nexus between development and peace; to generate innovate ideas on how Silencing the Guns can be used to move the continent forward, towards a more integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa; to increase visibility on how the AU’s work relates to African citizens in reference to Silencing the Guns; and to provide policy and programmatic recommendations to advance the Silencing the Guns agenda. The expected outcomes of the virtual conference is a commitment to implementable programmatic actions towards silencing the guns on the continent and increased dialogue among stakeholders (governments, youth, women, private sector and media, among others) on Africa’s common destiny.
Dr Gounden was a discussant in Session one focusing on the Implications of COVID-19 on Silencing the Guns in Africa, which was moderated by Dr. Kambudzi Admore, the Director of the Peace and Security Department at the AUC. The focus of the discussion was on country-level strategies to tackle the effects of COVID-19 and to explore what is at stake.
Silencing the Guns is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063, Africa’s blueprint for its long-term socio-economic and integrative transformation. Participation in the virtual conference is relevant to ACCORD’s strategic goal to reinforce institutional capacity of the AU and RECs.