African Unity: whither Africa at 40?

Author:Chikuse, Gerald
Position:THIS MONTH'S PRIZE LETTER - Letter to the editor
 
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Africa is one continent that suffers from a painful, heart rending and throbbing past, a past enshrined in darkness, haunted and traumatised by harsh, callous and humiliating experiences like slavery and colonialism. Experiences which not only stripped Africa of its dignity but these are experiences that saw the plundering of one of the richest continents in the world. This sad legacy continues to trouble Africa up until today and because of this somewhat debilitating history, Africa is struggling to assert and claim its place in the Global Village.

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It is amazing and totally embarrassing to note that Africa is still debating the concept of African Unity when other continents like Europe and North America have long since got through with such debates. The debate on the possibility of African Unity that began with Kwame Nkrumah in the 1950s and 60s is still raging in Africa today without any solution in sight. The US and Europeans united long ago. The forgings of such united blocs have only made the West more powerful and better capable of tackling the challenges and seizing the opportunities of globalisation with greater ease. Unfortunately, African leaders only continue to meet at expensive summits where they engage in intellectual discourse over the possibilities for and against the creation of a united African bloc. For one reason or another these meetings which are always described as 'fruitful', but have yielded nothing for the continent.

Slavery and colonialism ushered Africa into a seemingly inescapable web of poverty. This unfortunately means that in the Global Village Africa must work extra hard to equal its counterparts in the...

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