'Africa must unite:' vindicating Kwame Nkrumah and uniting Africa against global destruction.
|Abstract:||Over fifty years ago the prophetic Kwame Nkrumah called for and wrote a book titled Africa Must Unite. Many self-seeking African leaders described him as a dreamer of impossibility. A few decades after his clarion call, some European countries created the European Union (EU) for their greater unity, collective benefit and for providing global leadership. Since then, American and Asian states have also come together, challenges notwithstanding. Africa is yet to make any meaningful progress towards a union government in spite of public acknowledgement of this need by some of its leaders. The foot-dragging approach in the unification of Africa has given rise to rapid westernisation in the guise of globalisation to 'squeeze the hell' out of the continent in virtually all domains of existence. In the midst of these aggressive efforts, Nkrumah's visionary appeal is more pertinent and imperative today in the face of a weak African socioeconomic and political base. The time to unite is now and there is excuse for continuous rhetoric. This paper examines the salience of Kwame Nkrumah's clarion call for a United Africa and why this should be embraced forthwith by the astute leadership and people of Africa, on the continent and in the Diaspora.|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
(Criticism and interpretation)
African nationalism (Analysis)
|Author:||Kah, Henry Kam|
|Publication:||Name: Journal of Pan African Studies Publisher: Journal of Pan African Studies Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 Journal of Pan African Studies ISSN: 0888-6601|
|Issue:||Date: Jan 15, 2012 Source Volume: 4 Source Issue: 9|
|Topic:||NamedWork: Africa Must Unite (Nonfiction work) Event Code: 290 Public affairs|
|Persons:||Named Person: Nkrumah, Kwame|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: Africa Geographic Name: Africa; Africa Geographic Code: 60AFR Africa|
The image of Africa in the present global economy and society is
one of a continent at odds with itself. Within the continent are armed
conflicts such as those in Somalia, The Niger Delta region of Nigeria,
Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, West Africa, Yemen and North
Africa. The result of such conflicts has been displacements and refugee
crises, destruction of the environment, and ethnic cleavages among
others. Other problems of the continent are environmental pollution
through careless disposal of waste and oil spillage, unsustainable
exploitation of forest resources by unscrupulous logging companies and
the resultant challenges to climate change and global warming. The
persistent drought and the advancing desert from North Africa have made
agricultural productivity unreliable and also threatened human existence
In the social domain, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, malaria and cholera are some of the challenges for the health authorities in countries like Cameroon and Benin. Potable water has remained a scarce commodity in many parts of Africa leading in some cases to the death of many poor and vulnerable groups like old people, women and children. Other challenges of the continent are illiteracy, and attaining the millennium development goals. Besides, the dumping of waste and other second hand products from the North are becoming a social health hazard to the many vulnerable people of the African continent. Africa is also described as a continent that contributes very little to the knowledge economy, which is largely controlled by the western world. While this sounds too harsh for a continent with enormous potentials in human and natural capital, there is reason to say that Africa is rural back water or the periphery of the global community. The problem of human capital has been compounded by an alarming rate of brain drain. Many teachers, doctors and nurses trained by African governments to improve on the quality of education and health have without a conscience abandoned their jobs for menial jobs like selling fuel and distributing newspapers in countries of the North. This is pitiful and modern slavery in almost every sense of the word.
This bleak or gloomy picture of the continent, though exaggerated in some cases, makes it compelling for African leaders and other stakeholders to cast a critical look at where things went wrong. It is imperative for these stakeholders to unite their efforts to rectify the situation. Although there is a seeming consensus that the problems of Africa should not be laid on the doorsteps of colonial rule, which disoriented its path of development, one cannot deny the fact that Africa's sorry state today has its roots in the colonial period, during which time, its resources were plundered with reckless abandon. After independence, former colonial masters would not leave their former colonial territories. They became even more aggressive in the exploitation of these territories and controlled development from their European capitals. Kwame Nkrumah, who was a product of colonialism, was quick to observe the pre and post independence exploitation of Africa. On different occasions in Ghana and elsewhere, he unrepentantly challenged the evils of neo-colonialism, while at the same time calling on Africa to close ranks to save the continent from annihilation.
In this study, we rely mainly on content analysis of the works consulted to show how Africa has suffered from all forms of injustices because of its fragmentation. We have also critically read some of the statements, speeches and writings of Kwame Nkrumah to show that although his ideas may have made little meaning and relevance up to the time he was overthrown by the military in Ghana in 1966, they were visionary because they emphasised the destruction of Africa. This destruction has come from corporate groups, international organisations and governments of the developed North. This can be made more relevant by the interpretation of Nkrumah's earlier statements in the light of the present situation of Africa.
The major objective of this study is to examine the predicaments of the African continent in the world and how these predicaments are destroying the political and economic fabric of the people of the continent. The paper also examines the salience of Kwame Nkrumah's clarion call for the United States of Africa and how this call remains relevant today in the continent's search for a place in global interdependence and interconnectedness.
Kwame Nkrumah and the Africa Must Unite Option
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who became President of Ghana in 1957 and overthrown in a coup d'etat in 1966 actively contributed towards the liberation struggle and the need for African unity in speeches, statements and books. His major preoccupation was for Africa to take its own destiny into its hands. As a mark of his unflinching commitment to the United States or a Union Government for Africa, he declared on the occasion of Ghana's independence in 1957 that the country's independence could only make meaning if all other African people under colonial rule were liberated from the bondage of colonialism (Webster Boahen and Tidy, 1967:383). Several important meetings, which included two conferences of Independent African States and the All African People's Conference held in Accra Ghana in April and December 1958 respectively, took place in Accra. The following year, in November, a meeting of the All African Trade Union Federation Conference was also held in Accra Ghana. Within two years of its independence the capital city of Ghana became the centre of diplomatic activities, which led to the liberation of Africa countries from colonial rule. The 1959 trade union conference established practical ways, through which the rest of the countries still under colonial rule would be liberated and the independent African countries would unite.
Besides these conferences, Nkrumah put into practice what he preached by experimenting the Ghana-Guinea Union in 1959. Through this union, he hoped to lay a solid foundation for an eventual United States of Africa. In the declaration that consummated the Ghana-Guinea Union, both leaders said that it was the nucleus of a 'Union of Independent African States' and other countries were urged to join this union freely. In December 1960, Mali joined the Union which now became the Ghana-Guinea-Mali Union. In spite of this practical example of unification, there were no common frontiers between Ghana and the other two states. In addition, there were no common political and economic institutions in the three countries.
The dream of several cultural and economic ideals, including a common flag, a common anthem, common motto, union citizenship, a common defence and economic policy, a union bank, and coordinated language teaching and cultural activities did not see the light of day (Webster Boahen and Tidy, 1967: 383-4) before the collapse of the Union.
These hurdles and internal opposition to Nkrumah's government, which culminated in his overthrow in 1966, did not dampen Nkrumah's quest for a common position on all issues relating to Africa and the rest of the world. When he published his book Africa Must Unite in 1963, his other Casablanca group members of radical African states were against this and other proposals. Nkrumah in a speech to the Ghanaian National Assembly made his views loud and clear when he said, "This new Africa of ours is emerging into a world of great combinations--a world where the weak and the small are pushed aside unless they unite their forces" (Webster Boahen and Tidy, 1967:383). In many of his other speeches like the one delivered during an Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit conference in Cairo, Egypt, on 19 July, 1964, among other things, Nkrumah said unequivocally that:
We must unite for economic viability, first of all, and then to recover our mineral wealth in Southern Africa, so that our vast resources and capacity for development will bring prosperity for us and additional benefits for the rest of the world. That is why I have written elsewhere that the emancipation of Africa could be the emancipation of Man (Nkrumah, 1964).
In these statements, one realises that Nkrumah knew that the benefits of unity were many and included the recovery of the vast mineral wealth of the continent to benefit Africa and not those who wanted to exploit them.
Similarly, in his notes on Africa Must Unite, Kwame Nkrumah argued convincingly that:
No single part of Africa can be safe, or free to develop fully and independently, while any part remains un-liberated, or while Africa's vast economic resource continue to be exploited by imperialist and neo-colonialist interests. Unless Africa is politically united under an All-Africa Union Government, there can be no solution to our political and economic problems (Nkrumah, 1963).
The war against exploitation and destruction of Africa was the pre-eminent in Nkrumah's speeches and writings. He lamented the division between African leaders and saw failure in division and success in unity for all African states and people. This clarion call for unity against imperialist and neo-colonialist interests fell on deaf ears and today, the IMF, WB, EU, China, the United States of America and multinational corporations are wrecking havoc on Africa, without any regard for the peoples' well-being.
Some of Nkrumah's visionary speeches foresaw the global destruction of Africa and called for the people to rise up to the challenge through a united effort. In an address to the conference of African Heads of State and Government on May 24, 1963 he again re-echoed the urgent need for a "new strategy to combat imperialist aggression" not on the individual level of the different African countries but on a "continental scale." Nkrumah reminded Heads of State and Government that "the masses of the people of Africa" wanted unity to become reality in all of Africa. Treading down the path of history Nkrumah in a moving speech at the OAU summit conference in Cairo on 19 July 1964 cautioned African leaders to watch out for the balkanization of the continent. He meant real business when he argued, "If we allow ourselves to be balkanised, we shall be re-colonised and picked off one after the other." On another occasion (www.panafricanperspective.com/nkrumahquotes.html), this great son of Africa was literally weeping when he said that:
Kwame Nkrumah described neo-colonialism as a monster that must be resisted if Africa was to make strides in its efforts to overcome its socio-cultural, economic and political predicaments.
Many are these visionary statements in his numerous publications. Today, what Nkrumah predicted or saw developing towards the complete destruction of Africa is turning out to be a reality. The economies of Africa are very weak and fragile. There is a global siege on its forests from the south to the north in what spells an "environmental disaster or collapse" to quote the venerated African scholar Ki-Zerbo (2007:5). Through the guise of market liberalisation, international financial institutions are causing havoc and suffocating the masses of African countries in order to satisfy to their own whims and caprices. The emergence of China as a third force in global politics and economics is sapping the continent of its remaining oil wells. She is also supporting autocratic regimes all in a bid to make profit from their investments. Western democracy and its costly implementation in elections organised across the continent has pitifully seen western governments declaring some of them as free and fair when there is evidence pointing to the contrary. This is what has happened in Guinea, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Burkina Faso, and may likely happen in Nigeria and Cameroon that will conduct elections next year 2011.
It is against this backdrop that Kwame Nkrumah's statements and writings make sense to the younger generation of Africans who unfortunately are found in a very difficult situation of having to reverse the hands of the clock. Had the African nationalist leaders listened to their contemporary, Kwame Nkrumah, instead of seeing him as an ambitious person who wanted to be the leader of a united Africa, the continent would have united into a single bloc soon after the independence of the different countries with all the benefits such as better negotiation. The creation of the EU in 1992 was almost three decades after Nkrumah's appeals for Africa to unite if it could overcome balkanisation, re-colonisation, disunity, domination and destruction.
The Dilemma of Africa in a Global Order
The socio-political and economic picture of Africa as reported in western-centred discourses is bleak. Among the socio-political issues discussed are the absence of or an eroded sovereignty, armed conflicts, civil wars and genocides, galloping unemployment and poverty, the AIDS pandemic, brain drain, illiteracy, manipulation of African leaders through the African Union (AU) and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) by the West and the fact that many of these leaders spearheading the activities of NEPAD have never been unifiers (Osundare, 1998:231; Hope Sr., 1999: 53; Melber, 2001:12; Akokpari, 2001: 188; Akokpari, 2004: 243; Taylor, 2006:9; Oke, 2006:333; Banseka, 2007:34; Ki-Zerbo, 2007:4-5; Bigsten and Durevall, 2008:12) According to Cheru (2008:6), Africa's proportion of poor people--over 46%, is the highest in the world. Conflicts have led to displacements and have aggravated the sufferings of the poverty stricken population, where death tolls have risen sharply.
Armed conflicts have taken place in Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Sudan, and Somalia, among others. The case of Somalia, for example, is a very sad one--considering that the country has been taken over by Islamic militias loyal to the Al Qaeda cause of fighting against western imperialism and exploitation since the deposition of Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991. These conflicts have led to displacements and have aggravated the sufferings of the poverty stricken population, where death tolls have often risen sharply.
There are many African leaders who still strongly believe that the problems of Africa can solely be solved from outside Africa although they do not say it but their reliance on former colonial masters is a pointer to the fact that they do not have an independent mind of their own. Some of the problems of the continent are internally generated and add to an international economic system that is already unfriendly to Africa (Callaghy, 1994). This perception has also been contradicted by the belief among other African leaders that American colonialism has been responsible for the woes of Africa (Ayittey, 1992: 23) yet nothing is being done to defend the interest of Africa as a continent. As long as African leaders and policy makers look entirely towards the West for solutions to their problems, the continent will remain backward, divided and exploited with impunity by the North. Narman (1993: 53) rightly and forcefully argues that development will be meaningful if it emerges from the society of the poor because these people will contribute to its success. He is at odds with the North's double dealings with developing areas when he states emphatically that:
It is not conceivable for us in the North any more to believe that we can remain in our position of economic and political dominance in relation to the poor people and at the same time claim to have a positive attitude towards their potential development. Either we renounce our privileges or we admit to our lack of a philosophical commitment. It is very unethical to try to have it both ways (Narman, 1993:53).
The recognition that the North has been very unfair to the South, including Africa, is a clear indication that Africa will continue to have real problems if it looks to the North for solutions to its numerous problems--many of them created by the insincerity of the North towards its partners on the continent.
Still other concerns that are linked to the socio-political weakness of Africa include the confusing relations between the AU and NEPAD, manipulation of the African Peer Review (APR) mechanism by African leaders within NEPAD, which was set up by them to promote good governance in African countries (Akokpari, 2004:259; Taylor, 2006:9). Other authors like Oke (2006:332-39) argue that there is a confused cultural amalgam which, much to the disadvantage of Africans. Besides, there is self enslavement because things are copied from Europe and America with little or no critical examination and implementation. There is also the absence of political will by African governments to implement decisions taken at meetings and conferences of the AU. Elections are smoke screens because they are aimed at maintaining the big man in office (Taylor, 2006: 34-36). African states are segmented (Lumumba-Kasongo, 2007:16) and theatres of war for western hegemonic influences (Konings, 2007a:17-22; Konings, 2007b:341-367; Garth le Pere, 2007:6-7). Furthermore, many of them are too bureaucratic for any meaningful policy reform and change (Hope Sr. 1999:68).
In the economic domains, Africa's share in world trade is marginal and increasingly dependent on the global market and International Financial Institutions (IFIs) for its precarious survival. The environment is frequently traded for hard currency to the detriment of the future population; foreign development aid and structural adjustment have failed in many cases. Of the large percentage of foreign aid inflow to Africa, much of it has been for consumption rather than capital investment. Many of the economies of sub-Saharan Africa are unable to adjust to the external and internal shocks that they have experienced. The external debt of Africa is crippling. In 1994, for example, this debt had risen to over US $313 billion and the amount rose to US $321 Billion three years later. Other marked characteristics of an economically weak Africa are a deepening capital flight, declining agricultural productivity and foreign direct investment, soaring budget deficits, socio-economic inequalities, deteriorating physical infrastructure and expanding environmental degradation. (Akokpari, 2001: 188 & 204; Asante-Darko, 1999: 40 &54; Hope Sr., 1999: 52-53; Reid, 2009:337).
The economic picture is far from healthy. There is gross mismanagement and corruption. Besides, US and EU policy discriminates against the interest of African primary producers. Since the continent has specialised in the supply of cheap labour and raw materials, this has drained it of its resources, which would otherwise have been used to effect meaningful development in the continent. The sub Saharan African countries have faced higher tariffs on trade with other developing economies. The greatest economic weakness of Africa is that it produces only a marginal share of the world output. This marginalisation in world trade increased slightly because of economic and financial globalisation that has been made possible by the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF's financial gangsterism of Africa impels one to think that the IMF is not a monetary fund but monetary fine. One of the recent problems for the continent is trade dependence and the importation of cheap commodities from China to Africa. (IMF) (Melber, 2001:12; Oke, 2006:333; Melber and Taylor, 2006:6; Chentouf, 2006:26; Lumumba-Kasongo, 2007:15, Bigsten and Durevall, 2008:12&20).
In addition, African economies have shown weaknesses through their almost total openness, that is, too much of an anarchic and negative integration into the world economy. This has led to the arrival of low cost consumer goods, threatening the local manufacturing capacity and employment. Many African governments have not created the enabling environment for an agricultural revolution and the accompanying industrialisation--still dismally very low. The unfair trading practices of the developed countries have made it difficult for African countries to successfully penetrate export markets of these developed countries. This has been compounded by the fact that during the past three decades smallholder farmers have been squeezed out of the market--partly because state policies do not support them. (Lumumba-Kasongo, 2007:16; Konings, 2007a: 20; Konings, 2007b: 341; Havnevik Bryceson Birgegard Matondi and Beyene, 2007:65; Cheru, 2008:10&29).
Significantly, in spite of the adoption of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) by the American government under Bill Clinton, which openly emphasised the relevance of the African dimension for its external trade relations, there was scant respect for it. Both AGOA and EU/ACP initiatives and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) reflect the unwillingness to engage in fairer trade with African countries (Melber, 2007:8). This has only further polarised Africa as powerful and more influential economies and emerging economies like India, Brazil, and Russia, Malaysia and Mexico are making their presence in the continent in a substantial way, adding to the pressure of unfair trade in resources and the occupation of markets of their African partners.
On the whole, the poor showing of Africa in the global economy is a result of the ongoing processes of globalisation (Larsen and Fold, 2008:9). Ki-Zerbo (2007:4) laments the situation of the African continent but argues that if Africa is in crisis, it is simply part of a world crisis to which the continent is structurally subjected sometimes with the complicity of its leaders. Several sporadic attempts have been made to reverse the trend of things but these have been far too little and from a disjointed perspective. What Africa need in this global age is to take a bold step forward by uniting all the economies and leadership for common good? The time is compelling now as it was when Kwame Nkrumah wrote his book Africa Must Unite and started this venture by embarking first on a Ghana-Guinea Union in 1959 and then the Ghana-Guinea-Mali Union.
The United States of Africa: A Reality of Now
A lot of damage has already been done to the African economies which in spite of Nkrumah's lampooning, failed to get the attention of his contemporaries. Africa has been on the periphery of international economic events for a considerable time and has struggled with unfavourable international terms of trade (Lundahl, 2004:12; Reid, 2009:300). This has only worked to the disadvantage of the continent's economic sector. As long as individual African states engage in trade with the EU, China, India, Brazil, the US, La Francophonie, the Commonwealth of Nations and Japan among others, the more they will be exposed to their unfair trading practices and exploitation of their human and natural resources with no sure and successful way of resisting it. The absence of a united bloc has made Africa to suffer from the financial crisis of 2010 which started from the United States of Africa. They are also easily exploited by the double standards of the G8 and G 20 grouping of the most successful economies on earth because of the absence of a common economic policy.
To rise above a peripheral status in the world economy, Africa needs as a matter of urgency embark on economic renewal and integration of the continent first within the continent and then into the global economy (Adebayo 2007: 5) on a very competitive and not a weak basis. This can only be meaningfully done if all African states give up their individual sovereignty for a United States of Africa with a common economic policy and not competing and weak economic policies of individual states. In this way, they can successfully confront the colossus of a country like China and make gains from trading with such a country than destruction of their economies as is the case now.
The galloping debt crisis on the different countries of Africa is a continuous cause for concern because makes African countries vulnerable to the powerful economies of the West. African countries have continued to borrow from western controlled financial institutions and western governments with no immediate prospects of paying back these huge sums of money sooner. This has led to the mortgaging of resources meant for generations yet unborn. In the face of this African countries have continued to stagnate through the repayment and/or servicing of debts and increased borrowing at a very high interest rate.
There is need for African governments to tone down on borrowing because of the many strings often attached to loans. They can possibly successfully do this through unity because this will offer the richer and more viable regions to make available the abundance of their resources to those regions that are less viable. This will ensure overall development of the entire African continent. The different regions should also deliberately pull together their money and other resources with the sole aim of developing the entire continent and not necessarily isolated regions because this will not benefit Africa on a macro level. Communication, infrastructural and other developments will follow and mobility would be boasted between the North and South as well as the East and West.
By every stretch of the imagination, sub-Saharan Africa has performed poorly in the ongoing processes of globalisation (Larsen and Fold 2008:9) and the simple reason is their lack of competitiveness due to divided and weak economies. There is also a continuous legacy of externally-oriented dependency of African states which has lasted as long as these states became independent (Lee Melber Naidu and Taylor, 2007:6) in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980 and 1994. Most of these African countries were made to rely on primary production of goods and to import manufactured goods from the West. Since independence, they have not departed from this vision which is now redundant and can never move Africa forward economically.
Such dependence on an export-oriented economy must not be allowed to continue. Besides, Africa must produce its own fabric as is already the case in a number of countries including Nigeria to export to the global community. The continent cannot continue to be consumers in this competitive global world but to become aggressive producers to conquer the home market in the medium and short term and begin to reach out to the wider world in the long run. A very high level of competitiveness can be attained by merging different economies for a single but greatly diversified economy of Africa. Most African economies at the present time are relying on one or two commodities which make them vulnerable to changing market conditions and falling prices in the world market for these commodities. Diversification and sharing of experiences will stabilise these economies and they will be able to prevent their exploitation.
Now is the time for the new African leadership to rise above pettiness and individualism to build the Africa of today and tomorrow for their citizens. History will judge them right for yielding and listening to the visionary Nkrumah, who though dead, lives on, proving his works are truer to the predicament of Africa today than ever before. If these leaders fail to learn from the failure of their peers to unite the continent, then history would have repeated itself again and Africa will stagnate while other regions of the world make great leaps forward through united action.
There is turmoil in the socio-political domain in different African countries. This is because of the corruption, embezzlement, injustice, nepotism, dictatorship among other factors. This has sapped several African countries of their scarce economic resources because of the effort made to quell the revolts. Political upheavals include those in Sudan, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Niger, Cote d'Ivoire, and Angola among others. Some of these crises are due to a tussle for the control of resources and ethnicity as is the case in Sudan and Cote d'Ivoire.
One sure way out of this political impasse is for the different African leaders to agree and actually consummate a United States of Africa with a single political leader at the head while the others serve as regional governors. A continental government will eschew pettiness like regionalism and nepotism for more challenging political issues like good governance, decentralisation, collaboration between regional leaders and the president of Africa as well as the maintenance of sustainable peace. Such are broader issues which can make Africa stand tall and proud in the comity of nations and to seek to partner with others at the political level as equals and not an underdog. Africa must come together under one umbrella and act as one country in their dealings with the rest of the world. Africa must not continue to be a "featherweight ... a serious patient... deplorable or disastrous" and precarious (Adesida and Oteh, 2001:10) on the international scene (Ki-Zerbo, 2007:4).
In a general sense, Africa must take its destiny into its hands and ensure economic and political autonomy in the face of all opposition as long as Africans know that this is the sure but hard way to success. Africans must take the lead in charting their future because no other people will do it for them. Experience since colonialism shows that this will never be done by other people except Africans who should be able to shun individualism for unity and survival of the continent. Integration as Bond (2002) recommends cannot be the only answer for Africa's problems but unity will best serve their interest. African leaders should go beyond thinking afresh (Mkapa 2005) to act afresh for its unit.
All these problems and suggestions notwithstanding, what will happen if African countries decide to continue to tread the path of division and individualism? Theirs will eventually be self destruction. The 21st century has shown how countries are increasingly coming together to reap the benefits of greater cooperation and unity. On 1 January 2011 Estonia became the latest European country to join the Eurozone and benefit from currency stability. The colonial, neo-colonial experiences have taught Africa just one lesson which is to unite for socio-economic and political advantages. There is wisdom to heed to Nkrumah's clarion call which remains relevant today more than ever before.
The late Kwame Nkrumah was very right when he wrote and spoke about the need for Africa to unite in the face of a systematic war of destruction of the continent by the capitalist West. This cannot but be truer today where the level of destruction of this continent has attained an alarming proportion. In the past, the continent suffered from exploitation by Europeans, but today the competitors have increased their presence and activities in Africa from the North to the South. The hardest hit region is sub-Saharan Africa. In the continent are players such as the European Union, an umbrella organisation representing Europe, and the United States of America and China who, today, are more concerned about their economic and energy needs than ever before. The list of these modern exploiters is long and also includes Japan, Brazil and India which are emerging economies. Apart from these countries, there is also the overbearing presence of Britain, France, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations, a neo-colonial tool in the hands of America. The Security Council has also become a Western tool to impose on weaker countries--even when China and Russia oppose their resolutions.
Until the present leadership become visionary like Nkrumah or even more visionary than him by uniting the continent and embarking on projects that can reverse the image of Africa, the continent is literally on its way to a slaughter house. The time to act is here and now. The leaders of giant of a continent need to surprise the world and, for decades, embarrass and baffle those who think that they have found a fool of a continent which they will drain dry. If no concerted action is taken now, posterity will have nothing to feed on because all the wealth and resources of the continent would have gone for good.
In spite of these, there are existing internal hurdles to achieving unity in Africa and preventing it against a global onslaught. Among these are unaccountable regimes, unbalanced regional planning, identity and belonging issues like ivoirite presently tearing Cote d'Ivoire apart, wrong educational policies, poor redistribution of resources and above all a deliberate policy of exclusion. These are some of the deficiencies that have made it difficult for Africa after fifty years of independence (for many of them) to heed to Nkrumah's call for a United States of Africa.
Which strategies can move the continent towards the path of unity? There are several things that should be done to unite Africa. Among these are to prevent the West from dictating to African countries their priority needs because the people know what their priorities are. A new crop of leaders with one agenda, the unification of Africa is necessary. At present, many of these leaders are paying leap service to the idea because they want to maintain the sovereignty of their countries. Different policy experts need to meet from different African countries, design and present for implementation a common economic policy which cuts across national boundaries. These and other uniting policy frameworks will certainly make Africa to unite and be salvaged against the present destruction unleashed from the West.
Henry Kam Kah, University of Buea, Cameroon
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The cajolement, the weedlings, the seductions and the Trojan horses of neo-colonialism must be stoutly resisted, for neo-colonialism is a latter-day harpy, a monster which entices its victims with sweet music.
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