By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK As the continent commemorates the 44th anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Africa Day, the youth in Namibia and Africa at large have been urged to embrace the continent’s values and not to always view the west as the best. Yesterday, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Manuel Alexandre Duarte Rodrigues, accompanied by High Commissioner Afua Daaku of Ghana, Ambassador Ndounga Patrice of Congo-Brazzaville, Ambassador Youcef Delileche of Algeria, and Deputy High Commissioner Lily Sambu of Kenya, briefed the press on the importance of the day. Africa Day will be celebrated under the theme: “Let’s strengthen Africa’s place in the world through strategic, balanced and responsible partnerships”. At this platform, Ghana’s High Commissioner Daaku expressed her disappointment at the lack of recognition by today’s youth of what the continent can offer rather than embracing Western values at the expense of their own native values. The diplomats further expressed concern over the “brain drain” of professional expertise from Africa to overseas. “Not everything that comes from abroad is best for us. Let us develop our own values,” she appealed. She added that the interests of the youth remain at the heart of the African Union (AU). Through different educational initiatives, the organization encourages young people to acquire skills in different fields to enable them to survive, and to strive to fight different problems that plague Africa today. On developing the continent’s economies, Daaku said that through the Economic Commission for Africa – an organization that assists Arican member states to reinforce promising trends and overcome the obstacles to accelerated growth and socio-economic development – regional initiatives will be strengthened to the benefit of the continent. The formation of the African Economic Community (AEC) – an organization of the African Union that establishes grounds for mutual economic development – has enabled member states to identify ways in which they can improve the economies throughout the continent. The stated goals of the organization include the creation of free trade areas, custom unions, a single market, a central bank and a common currency, thus establishing an economic and monetary union. Pillars of the AEC include the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), the East African Community (EAC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAG), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Arab Maghreb Union (Amu/UMA). Diplomats stressed that African leaders should implement policies and ensure that Africa is restored and becomes one union – the United States of Africa – by 2017 as envisaged by Libyan leader, Muammar Gadhafi, following the example set by the great revolutionary and Ghanaian president, Kwame Nkrumah. While the idea faces resistance from some member states, Daaku says other challenges such as funding and language, among others, would have to be addressed before this aspiration can become a reality. The AU, an organization consisting of 53 African states, was established in 2001 and was formed as the successor to the amalgamated AEC and OAU. The AU aims to eventually have a single currency and a single integrated defence force, as well as other institutions of state including a cabinet for the AU Head of State. The purpose of the union is to help secure Africa’s democracy, human rights and a sustainable economy, especially by putting an end to intra-African conflict and creating an effective common market. In Namibia, the Africa Day celebrations – which fall on Friday, May 25 – will be held at the Country Club Resort and Casino in Windhoek. Manuel Rodrigues, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, will address the delegates who will be entertained by Zambian and Egyptian dance shows.