On this very day, 9th of July in the year 2002, the African Union (AU) was launched in Durban, South Africa – effectively replacing the previous Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
Eighteen years later, July 9, 2020, a momentous event that is set to unite Africa, Africans and the Diaspora was launched from Lagos, Nigeria.
The introduction of the project took place via an online conference which allowed participant from different parts of Africa and the Diaspora, as far as Belize, Brazil, United Kingdom and the United States of America to join.
The occasion was also an opportunity for the unveiling of the national team leaders of the project, while a few of them spoke a few words of goodwill.
Billed as the “Biggest Pan African project since FESTAC 77,” the Wonders of Africa project was initiated by Amb. Ikechi Uko to identify 25 Must Visit Destinations in Africa and the Diaspora.
The aim is to get 3 million or more Africans to travel within Africa in 30 months.
The online conference opened with an introduction and brief welcome address by the host, Amb. Uko, emphasising that it’s an opportunity to start doing smart things and plan for the future.
He explained the six zones of Africa, which is North, Southern, East, West, Central and the Caribbean, according to the AU.
Participants were then encouraged to sit back and enjoy the unveiling of the project, as the content of the brochure was played.
Shortly afterwards, the national team leaders were unveiled via a video showing each one and their respective countries.
Some of the team leaders who spoke briefly included, Mrs. Olanma Ojukwu (Benin Republic) who expressed her delight on being a part of the project, speaking in French about some of the amazing things to see and do in her domain.
From the UK, Carol Hay of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), touched on her heritage as a direct descendant of slavery, linking it with the global issue of #BlackLivesMatter, and the importance of this project.
From Belize, Sharon Palacio also spoke about her excitement on being on the project.
Recalling her participation at the Akwaaba African Travel Market last year, she said she was looking forward to bringing her people to Africa to see their heritage, and taking Africans to see Belize.
Others who spoke; include Nkereuwem Onun from Nigeria, Ahmed Naaman from Ghana, Didier Bayeye of South Africa, Thabiso Magodielo, from South Africa; Walter Joe Syakalonga from Zambia and Hussein Jiwani from Kenya.
Participants who were not on the project, but wished to participate were encouraged to contact the organisers, as there were slots still open, while some countries do not presently have representation on the project. The conference ended promptly after an hour with the video of the team leaders played again. The next event is scheduled for August.