Mr. President of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
Madam Director General of UNESCO,
Ladies and Gentlemen Ambassadors, Permanent Delegates of your various States to UNESCO,
Dear brothers and sisters of the African diasporas and Afro-descendants,
Today we celebrate the fourth edition of the World Day for African and Afro-descendant Culture.
Adopted unanimously in 2019 by the 40th session of the General Conference of Unesco, on the basis of a draft resolution introduced by Togo, the World Day for African and Afro-descendant Culture is intended to be an opportunity to celebration of the contribution of black arts and cultures to the richness of humanity, and an instrument for their promotion as an effective lever in the service of sustainable development, dialogue and peace.
This day is in line with the decade of people of African descent (2015-2024), by which the United Nations General Assembly reaffirmed the importance of the contribution of African cultures, as rich as they are diversified. , building a prosperous world.
January 24 is not a date chosen at random. It coincides with the adoption in 2006 of the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union.
In reality, African cultures are manifested today all over the world because they are carried not only by the inhabitants of the continent but also by the African diasporas, whether ancient or current. The ancient diaspora is the one that, throughout history, was forced to settle outside Africa and left a large and dynamic descendants there who aspire today to forge closer ties with the African continent. . From Brazil to Haiti, from Jamaica to the West Indies, African culture is expressed in its diversity.
It is always guided by this ideal of closely associating the African diaspora and peoples of African descent with the construction of a new, dignified and prosperous Africa that Togo has worked to ensure that the Heads of State and Government of the African Union declares the decade 2021-2031, Decade of African Roots and Diasporas. Beyond the promotion of culture, which is a vector of job and wealth creation, the decade of African roots and diasporas intends to mobilize the African diaspora, recognized as the 6th region of the continent, for its most adequate contribution to development process of the continent of which the 2063 agenda remains the basic framework.
It is also in this dynamic that Togo will organize next year the 9th Pan-African Congress on the theme: “Renewal of Pan-Africanism and Africa’s place in global governance: mobilizing resources and reinventing itself to act”. This will be an opportunity for all Africans concerned about the future of the continent to reflect on how to invent a new vision and a form of human association that can enable Africa to truly take itself in hand.
I would like here to launch a solemn appeal to all organizations and groups of associations of African diasporas all over the world to join these initiatives so that together we can lay the foundations of a new Africa. There is a page of history to be written and every African, every Afro-descendant can contribute to it. It is through the production of cultural content that we can gradually influence the narrative on Africa by highlighting our intrinsic values, which are often ignored by the rest of the world. All the cultures of the world are entitled to equal respect.
For this, we advocate Africanophony, which is not a rejection of languages inherited from colonialism but a promotion of our local languages, today highlighted by the UN through the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022- 2032). Africanophony is also dreaming of an Africa that does not blush for its cultural uniqueness and its civilizational contribution to humanity, it is dreaming of an Africa proud of itself, of its roots and which assumes its difference from the rest of the world; it is to dream of an Africa that makes its voice heard on the major issues of international news, especially those that concern it.
Lome, January 24, 2023