11 January 2013

Africa's Challenge

editorial

2012 was obviously not a very good year for Africa.What the continent went through in 2012, which of course we would not belabor on, is a manifestation that after over four decades of independence, all Africans still wear the same uniform and achieve the same development -poverty.Anybody with an insight of the history of Africa is aware that the People of Africa who are scattered in over 113 countries have the same capacities, value and dignity as other human beings. They cherish liberty, justice, development and peace just like any other people. Just like other societies and peoples, Africans have in great measure contributed and are contributing to the advancement of civilization and humanity.

The fundamental question therefore is how and why Africa of today got engulfed in a tragedy of mental, economic, political and social exploitation and oppression to the point that our lot has come to constitute the wretched of the earth. Whatever the differences in answers, one denominator remains constant: the time has come for African students, policymakers, state technocrats and the rank and file of society to assume their rightful roles to ensure that Africans are emancipated from conflict, underdevelopment, poverty and all other ills that today engulf the continent.

The fact remains that there is no need for Africans to be poor and underdeveloped because our continent is potentially extremely rich. Our mineral resources, which are being exploited with foreign capital only to enrich foreign investors, range from gold and diamonds to uranium and petroleum. Our forests contain some of the finest woods to be grown anywhere. Our cash crops include cocoa, coffee, rubber, tobacco and cotton. As for power, which is an important factor in any economic development, Africa contains over 40% of the potential water power of the world, as compared with about 10% in Europe and 13% in North America. Yet so far, less than 1% has been developed.

What then is the African challenge?No matter how complex the crisis of Africa is, there is only one carriageway to the solution, which is the building of a Union of African states. All what the continent needs is to unite for economic viability, progress and development.Of course, critics of African unity often refer to the wide differences in culture, language and ideas in various parts of Africa. This is true, but the essential fact remains that we are all Africans, and have a common interest in the development of Africa.

The difficulties presented by questions of language, culture and different political systems are not inseperable. If the need for political union is agreed by us all, then the will to create it is born; and where there's a will there's a way. Besides, experience of four decades of independence has indicated that the greatest contribution that Africa can make to world development is to avoid all the dangers inherent in disunity. A Union of African states will project more effectively the African personality, and will command respect from a world that has regard only for size and influence.

Africans must therefore wake up from their stupor and move forward to progress, peace and prosperity. We should at all times recognise that all black people whether they are born in India, Russia, England, America, Haiti, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya or Gambia are Africans and they all belong to the African Nation. We all share the same reality. We suffer the same conditions. We have the same destiny. We need to organise and unite if we want to reverse that undesirable condition in which we are so that we will be the controllers of our destiny and our resources.

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