The continent of Africa, despite being the richest on earth in terms of resources, is still home to the world's poorest. This is not because of irresponsibility on the part of the people, but due to centuries of colonial domination, exploitation and marginalisation, with divide and rule tactics, the principle of the game.
Colonialism divided Africa into small micro nation states that lack both the economic base and human capital to venture into any meaningful sustainable development, and where such micro states are blessed with a few natural resources, the colonial capitalist system manipulates it in such a way that the resources are exploited for the development of the so-called metropolitan cities at the detriment of Africa.
It is now over four decades of independence and still we are at the bottom of the ladder. Our heroes and heroines, past and present, have spoken of regional and continental integration as a necessity for our collective progress; and present leaders who are independent minded and have wisdom are also speaking from that same angle. It is about time that we uphold their deeds and accomplish the demands of our dear continent.
The Senegambia Conference, which is focusing on integration, is fast approaching. We know that the organisations that sanction such forums and the forums themselves are irrevocably a step in the right direction. But, we need action not words; and political will is a fundamental determinant for this action.
We therefore hope African leaders would use such forums as an eye opener to realise that Africa's problems are due to our differences in micro nationalism and it is only through an integrated sub-region that we can create the culture of development. This is simply because of the fact that our individual currencies like the Dalasi, Naira, CFA, Leon, Cedi, etc., cannot compete with the Pound, Euro or the US dollar, at world exchange market, nor can the individual economic production of The Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Liberia, etc., withstand the economic production of the G8, EU, etc.
We therefore need to integrate our regional economies with a common transport and communication system and if possible instituting a tariff or barrier-free system. This will breed the necessary infrastructure that will propel the engine of sustainable development that will liberate the people from the vicious circle of poverty.
Outside this we can be assured that our resources will continue to be exploited for the development of other continents.