Let’s deliberate on African unity and seek our own solutions
Africa has come a long way, especially after colonialism. Our ancestors were far-sighted, as evidenced by the three Pan-African groups who articulated the next steps for the newly independent continent.
History has made the Monrovia group victorious with their push for a new organization to be formed and just a forum where African heads of state can discuss the common interests and problems of their countries.
This gave birth to the Organization of African Unity, the predecessor of the current African Union.
This perspective was supported by the Brazzaville bloc effectively putting an end to the standoff with the Casablanca group which rooted for a pan-Africanist and super-national organization for the people of Africa through which a central or unified African government would take over sovereignty. and the powers of all independent countries. African States and exercise it on their behalf.
From what we know now, we feel that the idea of the Casablanca bloc would have been a better trajectory.
Now we could have institutionalized our unity and the continent would not be seen as the problem child of the world.
Recently, the ambitious African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) has revived the unity project as envisioned in the early 1960s.
This initiative is an unprecedented step towards African unity as it creates the largest free trade area in the world given the number of participating countries and connects 1.3 billion people in 55 countries.
Unity begins with economic integration and AfCTA brings the continental quest closer together.
We recognize our challenges, but of most concern is the cynicism many of us find ourselves in.
The defeatist attitude, especially among young people, is gaining ground, but they represent the future of the continent and, as such, the narrative must change.
Many Africans face corruption, poverty, poor health and many other human insecurities. These shared concerns must unite the entire continent in the search for lasting solutions.
We appreciate the support of our global partners, but we must learn to fish for ourselves and quickly.
A week ago, I attended a debate organized by the Daystar University model United Nations where I was confronted with various reflections on African unity.
In the heated debate, one thing came out. That the unity of the continent is possible but that it is still under construction because the circumstances did not facilitate its full realization.
That the continent has shown its potential through its advances so far, but that much remains to be done to achieve what the founding Pan-Africanists envisioned.
Visionary leadership, political will and an unmistakable Pan-Africanist spirit lead the pack in what can propel the continent towards tremendous unity.
The diversity of which we are proud should provide the platform to join forces around the bugle call of solving our African problems through our own willful effort.
The continent has produced the best minds and dedicated individuals who unfortunately did not live to lead Africa to higher levels.
However, these spirits should be the inspiration for the current African generation.
Just as Teniola Tayo repeats in his article, “How I Feel About Africa as a Problem Child of the World as an African”, the world might see Africa as its problem child, but we shouldn’t see ourselves that way, but as a people who can chart their own path to success.
We must move forward regardless and that takes self-confidence even as we work on Continental Agenda 2063.
We should change the narrative by telling and living our story. Our current leaders, for example, should lead the way by being defensively African.