One Africa One Voice
Can the dream be realised?
In May 1963, delegates from 32 African countries convened in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to establish the Organisation for African Unity (OAU). The OAU was the manifestation of the pan-African vision for an Africa that was united, free and in control of its own destiny. The guiding philosophy was that of Pan-Africanism which centred on African socialism and promoted African unity.
The main objectives of the OAU were to rid the continent of the remaining vestiges of colonisation and apartheid; to promote unity and solidarity amongst African States; to coordinate and intensify cooperation for development; to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States and to promote international cooperation.
In 2002, the Africa Union (AU) was launched as the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999). The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent.
Fifty-eight years later, where are we on the road towards unity in Africa? And controlling our own destiny? Please allow me to sight some examples and views.
Let’s start with South Africa where all people from the rest of Africa are labelled foreigners. No matter if you lived here for 25 years and your kids are all born here you will remain a foreigner in the eyes of the masses and uninformed. How do we change perceptions and convince people that nobody is here to take your job, we are all Africans from the African continent, and we are all trying to provide and make a living for our families. How is the lack of unity demonstrated by South Africa affecting the vision of the AU?
Next we move to Zambia, where we have another form of colonialism raising its head and one wonders how it fits into the AU vision of controlling our own destiny. In Zambia the resentment of China is growing, especially in the copper belt region, which generates 70% of Zambia’s export earnings. It is claimed that some private Chinese companies operating in Zambia, hiding in the shadow of the mining multinationals, “are not following the recommendations of the International Labour Organization”. And the Chinese debt is raising with the IMF now trying to broker a solution.
Onwards into East Africa, we see relations between Kenya and Somalia having been strained for some time over economic and maritime boundary issues and new alliances in the region are now making the situation worse.
Similarly, in West Africa the trade relations between Nigeria and Ghana – the two economic giants of West Africa – are visibly strained, with the actions and reactions from both sides drawing them further away from cooperation.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was created to solidify economic regional cooperation within the continent. But looking to the complex trade relations already brewing in West Africa, many of the problems the AfCFTA is likely to face on the continent are already being highlighted.
The lack of unity between countries was clearly demonstrated at a Pan African Parliament meeting in May 2021 in South Africa when members started attacking each other and law enforcement were called in as members could not agree on the voting process. In addition, rumours are rive that the very institution that is responsible for uniting Africa, the AU, stands accused of regional nepotism and favoritism. A sad situation 58 years later. We see old leaders that is so out of touch with their people holding onto power and money. We see our young people losing hope as the future looks bleak with no job opportunities.
Just imagine if Africa was rid of greed, political self-interest, and corruption… just those three things! How different will unity on the Africa continent be?
The Shared Value Africa Initiative (SVAI), a pan African organisation and an advocate for conscious and purpose-led leadership and Africa unity, has themed the 2021 Africa Shard Value Leadership Summit ONE AFRICA ONE VOICE. We fully understand that the current situation of greed, political self-interest and corruption will continue to thrive if we do not unite as Africans. The summit will be convening leaders from across Africa to discuss our economic recovery, how we can accelerate growth to create the Africa we all dream of – united.
Please register and join us on November 8 and 9 to listen and hear from global thought leaders and young African business leaders on how we can create value for all and unlock the power of the collective.
Founder & CEO