African Union celebrates 50th year since founding, leaders to map out socio-economic gains

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African nations this week mark the 50th year since the founding of a continentwide organization, now called the African Union, that spearheaded efforts to liberate the continent from colonial masters.

African leaders will start the writing of Agenda 2063, a blueprint they say will bring socio-economic and political transformation to the continent. Ministers of foreign affairs began a two-day meeting on Wednesday.

The weeklong celebrations culminate Saturday at the Ethiopian capital where African leaders will be joined by foreign dignitaries including United States Secretary of State John Kerry.

Konjit Sinegiorgis was a young diplomat in May 1963 when the founding congress was held. Sinegiorgis says the organization of African Unity "brilliantly" discharged its primary mandate, which Sinegiorgis says was to "liberate Africa from the shackles of colonialism and apartheid."