Lusaka – Zambia on Tuesday joined other African countries in commemorating this year’s Africa Day with President Edgar Lungu urging African countries to promote innovative cultural development to enhance economic development.
The Zambian leader said the theme for this year’s commemoration, “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”, calls on countries to recognise the importance of arts, culture and heritage in achieving sustainable socio-economic development and integration of the continent.
“The time beckons us to leverage arts, culture and heritage to foster socio-economic development. Our arts, culture and heritage resources have socio-economic value. They offer a direct source of livelihood to many of our people,” he said.
According to him, African arts and culture played a key role in the continent’s liberation struggle, adding that the forefathers used artistic and cultural expressions to mobilise themselves.
“This greatly contributed to the struggle and attainment of our freedom. The use of artistic and cultural expressions in nation-building is still relevant today,” he said.
He further said arts and culture were playing a role in creating awareness on issues affecting society such as disseminating information on COVID-19 and other health promotion messages.
The Zambian government, he said, has put in place a number of policies and legislation aimed at contributing to the transformation of arts and culture from just being a way of life to a viable economic industry.
“The favourable policy and ethical framework are also providing innovation and encouraging the participation of stakeholders in our cultural heritage,” he said.
He said the government has ratified various international protocols aimed at enhancing the development of arts, culture and heritage.
The main event in Lusaka, the country’s capital, started with the laying of wreath in honour of people who died in fighting for the country’s liberation at the Freedom Statue.Africa Day, formerly known as African Freedom Day and African Liberation Day, falls on May 25. It is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963. The OAU is the predecessor to the African Union. – Xinhua