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Africa Day to be formally marked in Leicester for the first time

A graphic of Africa for Africa Day, 25 May

AN IMPORTANT day that unites African communities around the world each year is to be formally celebrated in Leicester for the first time.

Africa Day will be marked tomorrow (Tuesday 25 May) with an online discussion featuring prominent members of the African community.

Kwasi Kwarteng MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and HE Mr T Melesse Desta, the Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK, are amongst those taking part.

Also invited by the African Network Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) and the African Business Chamber – who have organised the event – are Keith Vaz, the former MP for Leicester East, Bosun Tijani, who’s the founder and CEO of CCHuB and Eugene Nizeyimana, the CEO of the African Business Chamber.

The panel will discuss ways to create conditions for economic recovery in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, looking at the opportunities for investment in communities and collaboration within communities that will ensure equal access to education, apprenticeships and technology.

Cllr Ashiedu Joel – who was born in Nigeria and is the first Black African woman to be elected to the city council – will chair tomorrow’s discussion on behalf of the African Network LLR.

“Although Africa Day has been celebrated enthusiastically around the world since the 1960s, it’s barely marked in the UK,” she said.

“We felt it was time we did something locally that brought the friends and the families of our African communities together to show them that we want to work together for the good of the whole city.

“We want to talk about the positive contribution that Leicester’s many diverse communities make to life in the city and encourage them to play an active part in Leicester’s growth and recovery.

“I hope that lots of people will listen in to the online discussion and let us know how they think we should mark Africa Day in future years.”  

City Mayor Peter Soulsby has given his support to the event and will give a keynote speech in Tuesday’s online discussion.

“I’m very pleased that Africa Day is being commemorated this year, as it formally recognises the contribution made to the city of Leicester by the diverse African communities who have made their home here,” he said.

“I hope that people will welcome this opportunity to engage in this virtual discussion about the city’s future, and that it will help to garner support for a wider celebration of Africa Day in Leicester in the years to come.”

The meeting will start at 6.30pm tomorrow (Tuesday) and people can join the Zoom call and submit their questions and comments via the group chat.

To join the Zoom call and/or email your questions in advance, contact Cllr Joel at

Anyone unable to join in will find a summary of the discussions on the African Network LLR’s website after the event at and also at

Africa Day dates from 25 May 1963, when the Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union) was created.

The organisation was founded to help bring about change, freedom and independence to many African countries.

Today, Africa Day celebrates the successes of African nations and African people, and is marked by African communities around the world on 25 May each year.