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Let’s be deliberate about African unity and seek own solutions

OPINION
By George Maangi | August 7th 2021

Africa has come a long way especially after colonialism. Our fore-fathers had foresight as evidenced by the three pan African groups articulating the next steps for the newly independent continent.

History has that the Monrovia group carried the day with its push for a new organisation to be formed and be just a forum where African Heads of state can discuss common interests and problems of their countries.

This birthed the Organisation of African Unity, the predecessor of the current African Union.

This perspective was supported by the Brazzaville bloc effectively ending the tussle with the Casablanca group which was rooting for a Pan-Africanist and Super National Organisation for the people of Africa whereby a central or unified African government would take over the sovereignty and powers of all independent African states and exercise it on their behalf.

From what we now know, one feels that the Casablanca bloc’s idea would have been a better trajectory.

By now we could have institutionalised our unity and the continent would not be viewed as the world’s problem child.

Recently, the ambitious African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) rekindled the unity project as envisioned in the early 1960s.

This initiative is an unprecedented stride 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 across 55 countries.

Unity begins with economic integration and the AfCTA brings the continental quest closer.

We do acknowledge our challenges but of greater concern is the cynicism that many of us find ourselves in.

The defeatist attitude especially among the youth is gaining traction, yet they are the future for the continent and as such, the narrative needs to change.

Many Africans relate with corruption, poverty, poor health and many other human insecurities. These shared concerns should unite the entire continent in seeking sustainable solutions.

We appreciate support from our global partners, but we must learn how to fish for ourselves, and quickly.

A week ago, I attended a debate organised by the Daystar University model United Nations where I was confronted with varied thinking on African unity.

In the robust debate one thing stood out. That the continent’s unity is possible but it is still work in progress as circumstances have not facilitated its full realisation.

That the continent has shown its potential through its strides thus far, but there is more that ought to be done to actualise what the founding Pan-Africanists had envisioned.

Visionary leadership, political will and unquestionable pan- Africanist spirit lead the pack in what can propel the continent onto formidable unity.

The diversity that we pride in should give the platform for coalescing our strength around the clarion call of solving our African problems through our own deliberate effort.

The continent has produced best minds and dedicated individuals who unfortunately did not live to steer Africa to higher levels.

However, these minds should be the inspiration for the current African generation.

Just like Teniola Tayo reiterates in her article, ‘How I Feel about Africa as the World’s Problem Child as an African’, the world might see Africa as its problem child but we should not see ourselves that way, but as a people who can chart their own successful path.

We need to forge forward regardless and this calls for self-belief even as we work towards the Continental Agenda 2063.

We should change the narrative by telling and living our story. Our current leaders, for intance, should lead the way by being defensively African.

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