Addis Ababa – The 1963 OAU submit

Addis Ababa’s symbolic importance lies in the fact that, It was the last African city to fall to foreign armies (with the complicity of the League of Nations), and its occupation lasted the least amount of time. The diplomatic battle to deicide the head quarter of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) took long time, since many African countries claimed to host it. Addis Ababa was probably the list developed and poorly built city in the 1960s. There were few shining buildings, fancy roads and apartments, unlike other African capital cities. But one thing was clear, it was a city built by Africans and its importance as a focal point of the struggle to end colonial occupation makes it the right choice to be the center for the organization of African unity and be the sign of absolute sovereignty.

Through the efforts of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, representing the Monrovia Group of African states, and President Sekou Toure of Guinea, acting on behalf of the Casablanca Group, the leaders of 32 independent African states were brought together at Addis Ababa in May 1963. After two days of speeches, a charter creating the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was approved on 25 May (Africa Day). The charter was signed within half an hour the next day as 30 heads of state and prime ministers mounted the podium in groups of four to non-stop thunderous applause. Addis Ababa was alive with excitement. Abdel Nasser, Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Leopold Senghor, and all the other great founders of Africa’s post colonial states were there. Together they went out and planted trees to symbolize African unity.

The city began its rise to megacity status between 1967 and 1975 when rural to urban migration in Ethiopia was at its peak. Now Addis Ababa being the fastest growing city in Africa, prevails as the glamorous seat of the African Union

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