The African Press Agency has announced that the African Union (AU) unveiled a new flag at its 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government taking place in Addis Ababa on 31 January 2010. To tunes of the AU anthem, the new flag was hoisted by the outgoing Chairperson of the African Union, Libyan President Muammar El Gaddafi.
It was during the 8th African Union Summit which took place in Addis Ababa between 29 and 30 January 2007, that the Heads of State and Government decided to launch a competition for the selection of a new flag for the African Union. They prescribed that the design should include a green background for the flag symbolising hope of Africa and stars to represent the Member States.
Pursuant to this decision, the African Union Commission (AUC) organized a competition for the selection of a new flag for the African Union. All African citizens were free to compete, including those in the Diaspora and the laureate would be awarded a prize in cash. The AUC received a total of 106 entries proposed by citizens of 19 African countries and 2 from the Diaspora. The proposals were then examined by a panel of experts put in place by the African Union Commission and selected from the five African regions for short listing according to the main directions given by the Heads of State and Government. At the 13th Ordinary Session of the Assembly, the Heads of State and Government examined the report of the Panel and one of the proposals to become the new flag. The flag is now part of the paraphernalia of the African Union and replaces the old one.
In keeping with the criteria laid down by the AUC, the new flag design has a dark green map of the continent superimposed on a white stylized sun with 53 points. Surrounding the central emblem are 53 gold five pointed-stars - one for each member state. (Morocco is currently the only country on the continent which is not a member state.)
No information has been provided as to who is the winning designer.
Bruce Berry, 1 February 2010
Flagcraft, the South African flag manufacturer, made the new African Union flag which was adopted on 30 January 2010. The colour pantones are: Green: 349C, Gold: 1245C
Bruce Berry, 6 April 2010
The darker shade of green matches the dark shade shown in photographs of the flag being raised at eh AU meeting, rather than the illustration in the AU media release. I note that the new drawing includes a fine white line outlining the map, particularly noticeable around Madagascar. I can see that this is a useful design improvement, but is this an enhancement that has been made by the flag manufacturer, or a design detail of the official flag that was not observed in the original illustrations? I also note that the small off-shore island nations are included - Cape Verde, Sao Tome & Principe, Equitorial Guinea (Bioko), Comoros, Seychelles and apparently Reunion, though presumably not the Canary Islands, Azores and Madeira.
New York (TADIAS) - One the evening of September 28th, 2009, Yadesa Bojia, an Ethiopian American artist based in Seattle, Washington, was babysitting his children while watching CNN when he recognized an image on his TV screen of one of his artworks. "That’s my design!" he exclaimed. He was looking at the new African Union flag created using a sketch that he had submitted for competition two years earlier. "By then I had almost forgotten about it because at that point I had not yet heard back from AU," Yadesa (a.k.a. Yaddi) recalled in a recent interview with Tadias.
Yaddi spotted the flag on Lary King Live whose guest was Muammar Gaddafi, the Chairman of the African Union as well as the head of the African Union Commission (AUC) at the time. The Commission was tasked to come up with an updated insignia for the continental body, and the interview conducted at the Libyan Mission in New York showed Gaddafi flanked by the new banner. "I could not believe my eyes," Yaddi said.
Immediately, Yaddi contacted the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa to enquire about the new flag. "What flag?" the perplexed women on the other end of the receiver replied. "Sir, I have no idea what you’re talking about."
"To top it off the next morning there was Gaddafi again on CNN wearing my design all over his clothing," Yaddi remembered laughing. "I was losing my mind."
Yaddi would eventually learn that his work was selected earlier that year by the Commission out of approximately 127 entries submitted in the span of two years from artists residing in several African countries and including two contestants from the Diaspora.
Three months after he first saw the flag on CNN, Yaddi finally received a formal letter from the African Union announcing the adoption of his design as the continent’s new emblem. The letter included an invitation along with a paid travel package for him and his family to attend the flag’s inauguration ceremony during the 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State held in Addis Ababa on January 31st, 2010.
The design depicts a green Africa, the color portray the hopes and aspirations of the continent, resting on rays of a white sun that symbolizes the people’s desire for friendship and co-existence with all countries around the planet. The map is circled by a ring of golden stars each representing member states, wealth and a bright future.
"I was told by an official from the Ethiopian ministry of Foreign Affairs that when Meles found out the winner was an Ethiopian, he told them to go find the guy," he said. "Once I got to Addis, on the second day of events, I was approached by the protocol chief who informed me that the Prime Minister wanted to see me. So my wife and I had the chance to meet with the PM privately who told me that he was proud of my work." He added: "In addition, I also met with President Zuma of South Africa and other leaders who were very complimentary of the flag. Not to mention the five hours I spent with President Girma Wolde-Giorgis at the national palace."