05/26/2009 11:09 PM
Abu Dhabi: Africans believe that Africa Day celebrations organised by their embassies in the capital will promote unity among Africans and the image of the continent.
As part of celebrations held at the National Theatre on Monday evening, an exhibition portraying the culture, heritage and potential of African countries impressed the visitors.
"This shows the positive pictures of Africa when you don't hear much good news about the continent," said Kofi Tarkwa, an architect from Ghana.
"Such attempts may attract more foreign investment to the continent." He said he dreams of a united Africa but thinks that the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) has not achieved much in economic integration. Although African unity is still a distant dream, sub-regional groupings are strengthening in the continent, like the grouping of French-speaking countries, according to Tarkwa who was educated in the UK and came to Abu Dhabi seven months ago.
"It was nice that, apart from Africans, many other nationals including Emiratis visited the stalls set up by the embassies in the exhibition," Elina Haikeny Mendes, an executive secretary from Angola, said.
After tasting 'macua', an Angolan fruit, many people were asking about it, she said. She too believes that such attempts would boost trade with Africa. "It may attract more businesses to the continent."
About 24 African nations have embassies in the UAE, and they organised the celebrations to commemorate the establishment of the OAU on May 25, 1963, Yacoob Abba Omar, South African Ambassador, told Gulf News.
"The day is very important for the whole continent& as we all are committed to African unity." He said many countries on the continent are making big strides on the economic front and establishing peace. "We look at the challenges we face together," Omar said.
The exhibition and celebrations give a real picture of Africa to other nationals, Mohammad Gello, Kenyan Ambassador, said. "Many people think Africa is one country [without knowing there are 53 countries on the continent]."
Artists from several African nations performed dances. Dr Francis Danboyi, a psychologist, and Dr Serah Theuri spoke on 'Africa UAE relations' and 'exploring Africa as a land of opportunities' respectively.