Kwame Nkhrumah the founding President of Ghana in 1963 gave a very inspiring and passionate speech about the need for the newly independent African Countries to form the United States of Africa during the founding conference for the Organisation of African Union – OAU in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.
Nkhrumah insisted that pan-African unity is the only way that Africa would fully realise the benefits of her political independence as well as develop economically.
He laid out benchmarks such as the establishment of one common stock exchange market which would facilitate trade amongst Africa nations as well as Africa’s trade with other continents.
The establishment of one African military that would defend the continent, the establishment of one currency through which African nations would trade amongst themselves and the establishment of one African Central Bank which would be responsible for implementing and managing Africa’s monetary policy as well as the African currency.
Today as we indulge arguably Nkrumah’s greatest speech, it marked exactly 60 years and indeed his fears of Africa not attaining economic freedom without African unity lay bare before us.
Africa is politically free but she has continued to be exploited by other continents for her various resources like mineral wealth, oil, land as well as human capital.
Countries from the north western and north-eastern hemisphere have continued to interfere and impede the growth of Africa’s economy through the use of development financial institutions, international civil societies and multinational corporations to influence the formation and implementation fundamental economic growth policies thereby effectively transforming political colonialism to neocolonialism as predicted by Nkhrumah.
Most African countries were coerced at independence to concession their mineral wealth, oil and land for very long tenures to their former colonial masters who harvest these resources as raw materials and pay paltry fees and taxes.
The resulting reality is that the North-western and North-eastern hemisphere countries have continued to become very wealthy while according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development – UNCTAD 2021 report between 50 percent to 80 percent of African people continue to squalor in extreme poverty surviving on US$1.9 to US$5.5 per day.
From 2020 to date Africa has witnessed nine coup d’états with the latest one being in Gabon and the most common cause of these coup’s is the high poverty levels which the local citizens experience in these countries as a result of the pro-west and east economic policies which are unfavourable to Africans.
Today as we reflect on Nkrumah’s speech, we acknowledge once more indeed that true economic development will only be achieved with the Pan-African Unity as this will promote increased trade amongst African countries resulting in the industrialization its economy.
The 2017 UNCTAD report indicated that trade amongst African nations ranked the lowest at 2 percent while it was at 47 percent amongst the American nations, 61percent amongst the Asian nations and a whooping 67 percent for the European nations with the Oceanian nations getting 7 percent.
From these statistics we can deduce that the lack of unity and intra-trade within Africa are the major reasons why the African economy has not industrialized. The African population which around 1.4 million people is projected to increase to about 2.5 million by 2050 providing a very big market for goods and services.
We are therefore calling on our leaders to hasten the realization of the United States of Africa so that our continent can benefit from the projected population growth.
Our leaders need to be more proactive in the implementation of Agenda 2063 whose ultimate goal is to boost Africa’s economic growth and development.
We remain hopeful now than ever before that the unification of Africa will happen in our lifetime because we cognizant that of late our leaders have synergized their resolve in terms the African economic policy review at continental level in order to benefit indigenous Africans.
We watched how our leaders like Kenya’s William Ruto, South Africa’s Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa and of course our very own President Hakainde Hichilema during the New Global Financing Summit in Paris, France called for reforms in the global financing architecture in order to favor low-income countries.
Our leaders have begun to show the world that Africa is not coming to the table of global economic development with a begging bowl but with a continent which holds more than 30 percent of mothers earth’s mineral wealth, human capital, oil and land and therefore should be treated as equals.
We are also making a passionate appeal from deepest bottom of our beautiful African heart to our leader resist the temptation of corruption and personal gratification at the expense of the poor people and the development of our continent.
The imperialist is well aware of this weakness and has continuously exploited it to the bitter end for their benefit.
The USA, Europe Union and former USSR achieve their industrialization and economic development through their unification and large volumes of intracontinental trade. We too as Africa can become economically free in our life time if we establish one stock exchange market, one currency, one central bank and one military.
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