DR SAM NUJOMA´s ANNUAL PUBLIC LECTURE SERIES 2011
ORGANISED BY: PAN AFRICAN CENTRE OF NAMIBIA
VENUE: GOVERNMENT AUDITORIUM; GOVERNMENT OFFICE PARK
LECTURER: HALIFA SALLAH AUTHOR OF TREATISE ON FOUNDING A FEDERATION OF AFRICAN REPUBLICS
23 rd May 2011
ISSUES THAT AFFECT CONTEMPORARY AFRICA
Brother Prime Minister of Namibia, Brother Ministers and Sister Minister of Justice and Secretary General of SWAPO, All the Other brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of Africa, here present, I am delighted to be before you in connection with the 2011 Dr Sam Nujoma Annual Lectures which is held just before the commemoration of African liberation Day. I am inspired to be here today because the twenty first century is the most decisive century in the history of human kind.This is a century which is to be decided on the basis of the battle of ideas and not through the fierceness of the battle in the theatre of war. Africa could only win this battle if we learn how to convert information into knowledge and knowledge into a way of life or culture. We must be able to learn from the past but not live in it and focus on the future not as idle dreamers but as realist who must prepare for it. I must say that this day is made possible by the inspiration i have received from Patrice Lumumba who having faced torture and brutalities could stand firm and assert that cruelties would never bring him to ask for mercy; that he prefers to die with his head unbowed, his faith unshakeable rather than live under subjection and disregarding sacred principles. He told his wife that it was not his life that counted but the Congo and that he would like his children to be told that it is the duty of every Congolese to reconstruct the sovereignty and Independence of Congo.I was 8 years old when Lumumba fought his way to Martyrdom. I consider myself to be among those children whose duty it is to reconstruct the sovereignty and Independence of the African continent. We have the duty to take charge of our destiny and carve for our people a dignified place under the sun where they could enjoy liberty dignity and prosperity or perish like endangered species without protection.
Allow me to begin by acknowledging that the subject of this public lecture, “ issues that affect contemporary Africa ,” is pregnant with many questions because of the presumptions inherent in its formulation.
First and foremost it engenders the presumption that Africa exists as a distinct geopolitical entity. Is this view evident to all Africans in particular or the world at large or is it a highly contested hypothesis?
Secondly the topic nurtures a presumption that an Africa other than contemporary Africa existed which should not be the preoccupation of my discourse. This attempt to choose a topic that would restrict the discourse to contemporary issues may have been informed by the syndrome of intellectual fatigue engendered by the preoccupation of most Pan African discourse to the injuries that Africa has suffered because of colonialism and neocolonialism and the occasional use of catch phrases regarding an amorphous African Renaissance which appear to many as a utopian dream hatched by nostalgic Pan Africanists, that is not worth the interrogation of serious scholars.
Before my exposition could engender a seriously meant debate its content must stand the test of relevance. I will therefore offer proof to those who are here present that Africa is a geopolitical entity and not just a continental mass occupied by states and peoples who do not share a common destiny. This will compel me to go beyond contemporary issues. However, I would still want to assure you that I will not stray from the subject of my exposition.
The Factors Underlying the Contemporary Issues
Contemporary issues cannot be comprehended without knowledge of contemporary history. We are informed by the A U Comission in 2004 that “ despite pertinent treaties and declarations , Africa experienced 186 coup détat between 1956 and 2001, half of which occurred in the 80s and 90s, all coinciding with the period of economic management difficulties, the structural adjustment programmes and the end of the cold war.” This confirms that the cold war was a symptom and not the cause of Africa´s unenviable predicament. Suffice it to say , at the birth of Ghana´s Independence Nkrumah convened a meeting of Independent African States in April 1958 with the objective of inspiring them to serve as the vanguard for the total liberation of the African continent. The states which were represented were Liberia , Ethiopia , Egypt , Sudan , Libya , Tunisia , Morocco and Ghana the host country. The history of contemporary Africa reveals that all the countries which were considered as part and parcel of the vanguard of the continents liberation struggles went through unsettling political turmoil. Some are still engulfed in political turbulence of catastrophic proportions. The issue of Nation building and Governance are still fundamental 54 years since Kwame Nkrumah declared that the Independence of Ghana was meaningless unless it was linked to the total liberation of the continent. That was 6 March 1957. Since then the African people are still unsure of their African Identity. Africa is yet to take its first faltering steps to nurture a sovereign citzenry who are to become the thinkers, inventors and builders of a civilisation that it would be proud to claim as its own. African leaders are still protesting against marginalization and vilification in world politics and the African people are still protesting against, tribalism, nepotism and tyranny. We are still descending into the abyss of conflict and war to join the wretched of the earth as Frantz Fanon has depicted in his book. Where is the African Nation that the Pan Africanist sought to create? You may ask. Where is the freedom many fought and died for as many countries are being reduced to failed states?
Dubois advised Nkrumah in 1957 to keep Pan Africanism alive by holding congresses of Pan African movements after Ghana attained Independence in order to ensure the economic emancipation of the continent and build a prosperous Africa.
In December 1958 Nkrumah convened the first All African peoples Conference to prepare the strategies and tactics to ensure the total liberation of the continent by backing words with deeds. Representatives of liberation movements from British, French, Belgian, Spanish and Portuguese colonies descended on Ghana in their numbers. 62 nationalist organisations were represented. The delegates resolved to “ work actively for the final assault on colonialism and imperialism; use non violent means to achieve political freedom and be prepared to resist violence if the colonial powers resorted to force ; to set up a permanent secretariat to coordinate the efforts of all nationalist movements in Africa for the achievement of freedom; condemn racialism and tribalism wherever they exist and work for their eradication and in particular to condemn the apartheid policy of the south African government, work for the ultimate achievement of a union or commonwealth of African states.”
Many of the people who later became Presidents and Prime Ministers of Independent African countries like Nyerere, Lumumba, Kaunda; Karume, Banda attended. When the Second All African Peoples Conference was held in January 1960 a leadership committee was formed comprising g people like Lumumba of Congo, Moumie of Cameron etc.The Committee recommended common positions among the liberation movements. For example when France sent 800000 troops to crush the Algerian revolution delegates of most movements in Africa who were engaged in the liberation struggle gave inspiration and solidarity to the Algerian liberation fighters and called for the creation of an African force to assist liberation movements. There was call for all African troops to refuse to be used against the Algerian Nationalists. Military might could not bar the attainment of the right to self determination and Independence by the Algerian people. Within a year of continental uprising against the colonial order, the cracks on the armor of colonialism began to appear as 17 States attained their right to self determination and Independence . 1960 was declared as Africa´s year because of the numerous colonies which broke the colonial yoke. On 26th May 1963, 31 heads of Government put their signature on the OAU Charter that gave birth to the Organisation of African Unity.The OAU established an Economic and Social Commission and mandated it to create the modalities for “ the establishment of a free trade area between the various African Countries; the establishment of a common external tariff to protect emergent industries and the setting up of a raw material stabilization fund; the restructuring of international trade ; the promotion of trade among African countries by the organisation of and participation in African trade fairs and exhibitions. The coordination of means of transport and transit facilities and the establishment of road, air and maritime companies; The establishment of an African payments and clearing union; The progressive freeing of National currencies from all the non-technical external attachments ; the establishment of a Pan African Monetary Zone and the Development of ways and means of effecting the harmonisation of existing and future National Development plans and the maintenance of a Commission for Technical cooperation in Africa.”
Contemporary African history teaches that by 1980 the recommendations of the Economic and Social Commission were still collecting dust.The African heads of state came up with the Lagos plan of action.Its preamble stated among other things that “ Africa´s underdevelopment is not inevitable”According to them “our continent has 97 percent of world reserves of chrome,85 percent of world reserves of platinum,64 percent of the world reserves of manganese;25 percent of the world reserves of Uranium, 13 percent of the world reserves of copper, 20 percent of wold Hydro electrical potential, 20 percent of traded oil in the world; 70 percent of world cocoa production. One third of world coffee production; 50 percent of palm oil to mention a few.” At that time Zimbabwe , Namibia and South Africa were still under domination. The heads of state therefore observed that despite its abundant resources Africa has “ 20 of the 31 least developed countries of the world,” is susceptible to the disastrous effects of natural and endemic diseases of the cruelest types and is a victim of settler exploitation arising from colonialism, racism and apartheid.”
Where is the prosperity that unity should have brought? Why is 40 percent of the African population living in abject poverty?
A Pardigm Shift
I am not asked to and will not join those who tabulate the catalogue of failures which characterise post independence developmental paradigm for and governance structures of Africa and promote Afro-pessimism. I am anticipating that this august body expects me to discuss broadly and freely, keeping in mind new development thinking and trends, what Africa and her people need to be thinking and doing right now in order to address their needs and aspirations and be further assured a respectable place in the world constellation of Nations.
The task you have given me is a practical one and I must go right away to categorically state that Africa has two fundamental deficiencies and two fundamental deficits which need to be addressed right away and which it is capable of addressing without delay, that is deficiency in identity and integrity and deficits in Nation building or governance based on the sovereignty of the people and prosperity.
It is incontrovertible that a Nation must have identity and integrity to assume a respectable place among the world family of Nations. A people must have a sense of belonging to a Nation that guarantees them liberty and prosperity in order to exist as equals of others on the face of the earth. As we hold another lecture in these never ending series of lectures named after Dr Sam Nujoma it is imperative that we do not dwell on a mere academic exercise but venture to interrogate the issues that affect the continent and project a way forward to overcome them. This is Africa´s challenge in the twenty first century.
The birth of Africa as a geopolitical entity has taken four centuries. Each century came with its challenges.The 21 st Century which is the fourth of these centuries is no exception. Each century starts with an identity crisis and ends with self discovery and self determination. This is why hope must be kept alive. This is why Garvey could say, after being imprisoned and marginalized while leading a 2 Million strong movement that, “now we have started to speak and I am only the forerunner of an awakened Africa that will never go back to sleep.”
The identity crisis of the 21 st Century is evident today but I am sure people like our elderly freedom fighter Dr Sam Nujoma would also say that he is the forerunner of an awakened African people who will never go back to sleep and who will ultimately be the architects of a destiny of liberty, dignity and prosperity rather than accept to vegetate as victims of blind destiny.
This is why we must address the skepticism that has gripped most Africans, the scholars included; regarding the inevitability of African unity which is the first symptom of the crisis of Identity on the continent.
Political Science teaches that Identity provides the building blocks for the founding of a Nation -State or a multinational or multi- ethnic state. Without Identity there can be no people and without a people there can be no Nation or multi national state.It is therefore important to prove that Africa´s challenges and achievements are evolutionary in nature and characteristics and we should never make predictions regarding her future without an objective review of its contradictions, struggles , transformations , achievements and challenges in an evolutionary context.
Allow me to digress into conceptual issues before dealing with the issues affecting contemporary Africa in a concise manner with the view to project concrete recommendations on how to address the challenges engendered by them.
“Historical science teaches that the social and economic interactions between people occupying the same geographical space gave rise to the cultivation of a common way of life or cultural heritage. This gave rise to dialects and ethno linguistic groups that became unified into a common people with a language. Such people became distinguished from other people by their geo-political, traditional and linguistic Characteristics These identities were exploited by Nationalist movements to demand for the rights of Nations to sovereignty, self determination and Independence .
Multi National or multi ethnic states also evolved in a similar way. Those nationalities or ethnic groups that comprise such states do not have the same ethno linguistic origins. Their bond into a Geopolitical entity is a by product of an evolutionary epoch making process which spread over decades and are marked by historical struggles and experiences which create a sense of common destiny, on the basis of which diverse communities are weaved into a complex geopolitical entity that we call a Nation. The emergence of an African Nation must be necessitated by historical exigencies. This calls for collective self knowledge. This endeavour for self discovery is the fundamental objective of all Pan African Centres for Research and awareness building. A people must know their history before they could become sovereign and further exercise their sovereign powers to determine a destiny of liberty and prosperity for all. This is the motive force of self determined development. As the wisdom of the ages teaches, those who know themselves, their people and the world will always be the architects of their own destiny and will never be the victims of dehumanization, subjugation and degradation.
Why A Paradigm Shift is Necessary
The challenges of African unity have gone through three phases of historical development. Each phase is connected with, dependent on and determined by the evolution of the identity of the African. Many scholars have lost focus and can see nothing significant in the struggles of the African people during the twentieth century. They conceive the twentieth century as a century for the cold war rivals and Africa and Africans are placed on the historical map as insignificant puns at the mercy of the super powers who were vying for world domination. They often describe the collapse of the soveit union as the silver lining which gave birth to a democratisation process that enables the African people to have multi party systems. To them Africa is yet to have anything to offer humanity but poverty and bad governance. This has given rise to afro pessimism and collective guilt and shame.
On the other hand some scholars tabulate the crimes perpetrated by the states calling themselves the free world and maintain that they have no moral authority to be a judge and jury over Africa´s governance. They attribute Africa´s current predicament to neocolonialism which is characterised by the imposition of political and economic systems or policies on African states.They highlight the liberalisation policies in the economic sphere and project them as avenues to control African economies while increasing the hardship of the population through recommendation for the retrenchment of workers or privatisation of state enterprises and eradication of subsidies to farmers. They refer to respect for Human Rights,the participation of civil society in governance, the separation of powers in state administration and a multi party system as neo- liberalism.
As long as the discourse oscillates between these two paradigms Africa will remain a paradox harbouring people living in immense poverty in the midst of immense riches without knowing how to extricate itself from such tragedy. My role is to articulate a paradigm shift so that we could look at Africa with an eye different from those who are engaged in a blame Game. This exposition steers away from the path of those who see development as the accidental agglomeration of events which are unconnected with and isolated from each other and keeps us on the track of those who conceive societal development as an evolutionary chain of events which are connected with, dependent on and determined by each other.
This scientific approach to study Africa´s evolutionary pathway to liberty and prosperity leads to a paradigm shift.It helps us not to see Africa as a stagnant entity incapable of growth and development and expose the contradictory forces, both internal and external, which are propelling Africa forward on an evolutionary path to liberty and prosperity without any break in the historical chain.
This new discourse stems from concrete historical findings that the twentieth and twenty first century are the midwives of the most significant revolutions in the history of human kind. These are the Nationalist revolutions of the twentieth century for self determination and Independence and the Democratic revolution of the twenty first century for rule based on the sovereign will of the people. These two revolutions have enabled and will continue to enable Africa to re-position her self on the world stage as an equal partner and not a junior partner deserving patronage.
The Nationalist revolution of the twentieth century has the fundamental aim to affirm and assert the right to self determination and Independence, that is, the right of a people to a homeland that they could collectively call their own; a homeland endowed with National rights to Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity, political Independence and safeguarded by a united, free and indomitable people or citizenry that embodies Nationhood. This is the major achievement of the twentieth century. Africa has a glorious history of struggle for National Liberation which must not be obliterated or trivialised. Those who had no country they could call their own could not exercise the democratic right to determine their manner of government. Africa had to re-position herself by attaining the right to self determination and independence before a people could be created that would demand for her to march towards self reliance and self determined development to guarantee power to govern, liberty and prosperity to her children and children’s children. The thinkers, inventors and builders of a new Africa must take cognisance of the achievements of the National Liberation struggle of the African continent. This is the first point.
The democratic revolution of the twenty first century has the fundamental aim to affirm and assert the sovereignty of the people, that is, to safe guard the dignity worth and power of each citizen and ensure that one is embodied with equal power to determine how one´s destiny is to be managed to ensure the fullest realisation and protection of one´s civil, political, economic, social, cultural and ecological rights to sustainable development on the planet earth. Africa is beginning to put the democratic revolution on its historical agenda in order to reposition herself to attain a dignified and equal station with all other nations on the face of the globe. The thinkers, inventors and builders of a new Africa must be ready to articulate the demands of the democratic revolution and foster the final march of the African people to create an Africa of liberty, dignity and property for her people. This is the challenge of the twenty first century. This is the second point.
My task is quite clear. The task of this exposition is to map out the road which led us to be where we are today, identify the challenges of Nationhood which confront us after the attainment of the right to self-determination and Independence, put the demands of the democratic revolution on the historical stage, indicate where we are to go from here and highlight the role of Pan African centres in this new march towards the Africa we can be proud to call our homeland, an Africa that can guarantee each of us prosperity, liberty, dignity, and self worth.
The Geo -political evolution of Africa
What makes Africa a subject of our discourse is not the land mass and the landscape. What creates the entity we now refer to as Africa is its geopolitical history.
History teaches us that Africa as a geopolitical entity came into being as a result of the removal of populations from diverse part of the continent and their settlement in the US Europe, the West Indies and Latin America as persons in bondage who were classified as slaves.The language ,ethnic origin, sense of belonging, culture or way of life of the captives were obliterated and they were forced by whips, torture and lynching to pretend to subdue to a life of a chattel. The concept of an African people belonging to an African Nation first appeared in the writings of the people of African descent who were either slaves who bought their freedom like Olauda Equiano or expatriate Africans like Ottobah Cuguano who made it their task to write about the evils of slavery and work for its abolition A case in point is Olaudah Equiano report on the zong case in which more than130 slaves were thrown over board to enable a British ship to collect Cargo Insurance He called for an end to the oppression of all Africans he called his countrymen. He lamented over the affairs of millions of the people he referred to as his “African country men who groan under the lash of tyranny in the West Indies .” He referred to Africa as a country and Africans as his country men.The talk of an African Identity , An African People and an African homeland began to emerge in the minds of people from the continent and their descendants, who were subjected to slavery and racial discrimination and could not escape bigotry as free persons in the diaspora. The shared destiny of bondage under slavery and racial discrimination injected in them a sense of common destiny irrespective of which part of the continent they originated from.They saw the need to unite and fight against slavery and racial discrimination. The abolitionist movement of the 17 th century culminated in the triumph of the struggle against slavery after the revolt in Haiti and the creation of a Republic by former persons in bondage, in 1804.The whole of the nineteenth century was characterised by revolts against slavery. Knowing that slavery could no longer be sustained led to intensification of the penetration into the African hinterland by European merchants and their patrons who gave them money to explore and settle in foreign lands to promote trade. It did not take long to discover that instead of taking people from the land to work on plantations and mines abroad they could take the land from the people and make them to work on plantations and mines on the African continent. This gave birth to colonialism.The nineteenth century was characterised by a scramble to divide the continent among France ; Britain , Germany , Spain , Portugal , Belgium and Italy . At the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 the colonial powers decided to agree to cooperate to conquer Africa and impose colonial domination. By the early part of the 20 th Century only Liberia and Ethiopia enjoyed self determination. Expatriate Africans and descendants of African Captives came to realise at the dawn of the twentieth century that eventhough the merchants have stopped taking Africans from the mainland they have now taken the land from the people and they had no home land to return to even if they enjoyed personal freedom. They saw the need to come together to combat colonialism and racial discrimination so as to attain self determination and Independence . They started by forming Pan African Movements for the liberation of the continent. The first Pan African conference was convened in the UK by Henry Sylvester Williams in 1900. In 1919 DuBois organised the first Pan African Congress in Paris .
In fact it is that Pan African Congress which made it impossible for UK to annex South West Africa and left South Africa to hold it in trust only to try to annex it in total violation of its international mandate.
The Pan African Congress proposed for the establishment of a code of law for the international protection of the natives of Africa to embody the following principles
“The Land and its natural resources shall be held in trust for the natives and at all times they shall have effective ownership of as much land as they can profitably develop.”
Was this complied with? If it was we would not have a land problem in Africa today. “ The investment of capital and the granting of concessions shall be so regulated to prevent the exploitation of the Natives and the exhaustion of the National wealth of the country. Concessions shall always be limited in time and subject t to state control. The growing social needs of the natives must be regarded and the profits taxed for social and material benefits of Natives.” Are these the principles which govern foreign direct investment in Africa ? “ Slavery and corporal punishment shall be abolished .and forced labour except in punishment of a crime and the general condition of labour shall be prescribed and regulated by the state.” Do we have labour laws which protect the liberty and prosperity of the workers?
“It shall be the right of every Native child to learn to read and write in his own language and that of the trustee nation, at public expense and to be given technical instruction in some branch of industry. The state shall also educate as large a number of natives as possible in higher technical and cultural training and maintain a corps of Native teachers.” Has this recommendation of the Pan Africanists been adhered to ?
“The natives of Africa must have the right to participate in the government as fast as their development permits , in conformity with the principle that government exists for the natives and not the natives for the Government They shall at once be allowed to participate in local and tribal government according to ancient usage and this participation shall gradually extend as education and experience proceed to the higher offices of the state, to the end that in time Africa be ruled by the consent of the Africans” Have we developed the notion that government is for the people and not the people for the government ? Have we empowered the people to know that the continent should be ruled on the basis of their consent which is the foundation of a democratic order? The Pan Africanist stood for civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the African people The demands for such rights should not be deemed as neo liberal discourse. These demands are in line with the requirements of the second phase of National Liberation that is, the consolidation of the sovereignty of the people. The civil, economic, political social and cultural demands of the first Pan African congress were referred to the league of Nation with the request for them to establish a Permanent bureau to oversee the application of their demand. This is what gave rise to the mandate system. This is how South West Africa became a mandate state on 12 December 1920. The liberation of Namibia has been a part and parcel of the Pan African struggle. This was placed under the trusteeship system when the league of Nation was dissolved and was replaced by the UN.
The Pan Africanists also struggled against racial discrimination by writing about the civilizations on the African continent and utilised the findings from anthropological research to prove that Africa was the birth place of human kind and that colour should not be utilised to determine race, that all human beings belong to one race having many colours .This is how Dubios summed up his findings:
“Science for years tried to separate men into great groups called races;at first the object was to explain human history by human differences.The scientific basis of race differences, however, appeared increasingly difficult as observation and measurement became more accurate. Three, five, twenty races were differentiated , until at last it was evident that mankind would not fit accurately into any scientific delimitation of racial categories, no matter what criteria were used , most men fell into intermediate classes or had individual peculiarities . The theory of absolutely definite racial group was therefore abandoned, and pure racial types came to be regarded as mere theoretical abstractions which never or very rarely existed.”
The Pan Africanists build movements on the Continent from 1900 to 1945.They held five Congresses which culminated with the intensification of the struggle for the total liberation of the continent.In short, the fifth Pan African Congress held in Manchester in 1945 came to the conclusion that all the nationalist movements should undertake to liberate the continent.
Ghana was the first colony South of the Sahara to attain self Determination and Independence in 1957. Hence by the end of the twentieth century all countries except the Saharawi Democratic Republic and Islands close to Mauritius remain occupied land.
The beginning of the twentieth century marks the consolidation of colonial domination and the end of the twentieth century marks the triumph of the struggle for the right to self determination and Independence .
The challenge of the twenty first century is how to translate the right to self determination and Independence into a capacity to build an African Nation with a self reliant economy that could guarantee the civil political economic social cultural and ecological right of the African people.
The crises of the late 20 th century and early twenty first century confirm that the right to self determination and Independence is not achieved once and for all. Without consolidating the sovereignty of the people civil and political crises cannot be avoided. Without building an economy that would promote the prosperity and social welfare of the sovereign people, civil and political crisis cannot be avoided.
The Challenges Before Independent Africa
Immediately after independence there was procrastination and leaders could not decide whether the continent would move towards unity. Some of the most energetic leaders like Lumumba were lost during the earlier battle.
Micro Nationalism took the upper hand. The states built on colonial architecture were not also designed to address the second phase of National Liberation that is to create a people who are not divided or excluded by colour, ethno-linguistic origin, linguistic characteristics, religion or gender. To build a nation requires the building of instruments and institutions with the participation of the people. It is necessary for a civil and political order to emerge by involving the sovereign people in the drafting and adoption of a National Constitution whose content should guarantee the sovereignty of the people and ensure that governments exist for the people and not the people for government. It should ensure that the right of each to represent or be represented is guaranteed without any form of discrimination. It should guarantee fundamental rights to speech assembly and association. It should guarantee equality before just laws and forbid impunity.
There should be institutions from village, Regional and National level that should ensure balance and proportionate development of town and country and the regions as well as promote general welfare.
Economic policy should be designed to link raw material production with processing as well as machine building so that employment would be generated and goods and services available at affordable prices. Economic policy should go to address the consumption needs of the people such as food, water, clothing housing and transportation.
Social policy should go to ensure the provision of quality health services in the preventive curative restorative or rehabilitative domain. Education, at the early childhood level, primary, Secondary and tertiary level should be made accessible and affordable and should be relevant to prepare young people to be thinkers, inventors and builders of a civilisation that is fit for them to live in. Education should enable the people to know their history, transform their knowledge into a way of life reflecting in both social relations and in arts and other forms of leisure. The Education system should prepare the young for the general division of labour in society, develop the power of their mind and facilitate their acculturation into sovereign citizens with intellect, character, values that empowers them to be sound decision makers who are embodied witht the Knowledge and skills that are vital for the building of an Independent Nation.
It goes without saying that the failure to create a sovereign people has given rise to fragmentation of states along ethnic, regional, kinship and family ties and interest groups that do not put National interest before personal interest. This is giving rise to the concentration of power and wealth in the same hands which fuel conflict and war thus negating the task of Nation building. Africa will only be stable if the people are made sovereign and if they truly control power.
The second point is that at best Micro states could be built on democratic foundation that enables them to make honest attempts to address the needs and aspirations of their people. However, these micro states cannot build their own machines and process their own materials and sell the manufactured goods to other African countries without the emergence of monetary mechanisms and financial institutions which could facilitate inter-African Trade . This is why since independence micro African states have maintained their old trading partners. As each state struggles to build partnerships with outsiders the less it takes cognisance of the economies of other African states.The formation of regional economic groupings does not change the relationship that each has with other trading partners.This is why the US with AGOA; The EU with the Economic Partnership Agreement , The Chinese , Indians, Venezuelans and Iranians with their summits simply promote bi lateral trade and other ventures which do not move Africa any closer to the creation of an African economic community and African Integration.
Despite the creation of Regional Economic communities, inter-African trade is insignificant. Trade with non African trading partners is dominant. Nigeria is the Economic power house of the Economic Community Of West African States( ECOWAS) but its major trading partners are as follows:Exports:United states 52 percent Spain Brazil Imports: China United states UK Netherlands France Brazil and Germany. There is no economic integration in ECOWAS: In SADC South Africa is the economic power house. Its major trading partners as follows:Exports: Japan USA Germany UK China Netherlands Imports: Germany China USA Saudi Arabia Japan UK. There is no economic integration in SADC.
On the other hand China is trading with major economic power houses in particular and its neighbours in general. Her major trading partners are as follows:Exports: US HongKong Japan South Korea Germany Netherland, UK Singapore Taiwan Russia Imports Japan South Korea Taiwan United States Germany Malysia Singapore Australia, Russia Thailand.
Nkrumah conceived economic integration on a continental basis which should start with the building of an African Central Bank, An Investment bank and an African Monetary fund, as the mechanism that would enable African countries to pool resources to create an African economic community with its common currency and custom and monetary union that will facilitate inter African trade so that Africa will consume a large part of what it produces and trade with others on an equitable basis.
NEPAD states that Africa needs 64 billion annually to half poverty by 2015. The comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme requires 251 Billion dollars. Where will the money come from? NEPAD focuses on Debt reduction and overseas development Assistance to address Africa´s funding gaps. Nothing is said on how Africa is to process its raw materials and build its own machines to have a self reliant economy that could cooperate as equals or compete with others on an equitable basis in global trade.
This is not going to end poverty in Africa . In short, when the US showed its intention to assist Europe after the second world war it called on European governments to meet and draw up a continental Economic Recovery Programme. The European economic Recovery programme came into being. It embodied agricultural and industrial production to ensure full employment and enhance inter- European trade. It called for energy production to ensure sustainable development. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund were created to rebuild a production and trade oriented Europe.It goes without saying that If Europe , US or China wants a cooperation that would lead to our economic emancipation, each should encourage African leaders to come together with their experts to prepare a programmatic policy document that would provide for an African Economic Recovery Programme. This programme should indicate the role of African financial and monetary institutions in building the productive base of the African economy. Continental financial institutions are key to the economic recovery of the continent and its sustainable development.
In a word, the African Development Bank came into being in 1964. The IDA component of the world Bank also came into being in the early sixties. The world bank started with seed money amounting to 11 billion dollars and by 1997 its capital base increased from 11 billoin to 285 billon dollars.Now the world bank and the IMF have the power to determine the policy frame work of African countries because of their capital base.An African Central Bank would have enabled African Economies to combine the wealth of oil and mineral producing states to create an African Investment Bank which would finance the establishment of continental machine building and processing plants. An African Monetary fund would have promoted inter African trade to challenge the major trading blocs of the world. An African Central Bank would have enabled Africa to challenge the major currency blocs of the world.
Let me conclude by saying that faced with a world economic crisis Africa has no option but to invent a new future. The world economic crisis is brought about by countries that are living above their means and have also encouraged their people to live above their means. The Government of the United States depends on floating bonds to meet a growing budget deficits even though highly indebted poor countries are required to adhere to debt ceilings. The US government knows that the only way to reduce its debt is to increase taxes on corporation or reduce support of health education, family care and other welfare programmes. The competition in the world market has led to over saturation of the market. Hence corporations are opposed to increased taxation if they are to compete in the international market. On the other hand, the contraction of the international market is leading to closure of industries and unemployment of people in the us who had taken loans from banks to buy houses, cars and other consumables. Inability to pay the loans led to the establishment of companies which took over the properties with the hope of selling them. Once these companies found it difficult to get customers they defaulted in the payment of their loans thus leading to the collapse of banks. Shares were also inflated in value when people could take loans to invest in the stock market. When they became unemployed and wanted to sell their shares but could not get buyers the stock market also went into crisis.It is clear that such a crisis has not been overcome and country after country will experience economic crisis and demonstrations by their nationals.
China which has earned foreign exchange by having companies abroad which makes money and save it in western banks and invest it in bonds and the stock market in the west will also experience unemployment if it export oriented companies lack the market to sell their products. No economy is immune to crisis as long as the current International economic order remains.All countries have a duty to contribute towards the creation of a new international economic order. This is why Africa should think quickly and reposition herself. We should not sink into any ideological dogmatism but should utilise our scientific knowledge to come up with a realistic programmatic policy document to reshape the economic future of the continent.
We have options of maintaining public, private cooperative and informal productive pillars or combine them by adhering to just benchmarks to have a productive way forward to a sustainable people centre development as a transition to a developed self reliant machine building and processing economy.
We should utilise wisdom and justice to address our land question . For example traditional land owners and those who have usurped the land in South Africa , Zimbabwe , Namibia , etc could be drawn into negotiation by alternative dispute resolution agencies to ensure that the shares of the original land owners and those who settled and invested on others land , could be properly determined and the land transformed into a partnership that is owned on share basis. We must develop policies that address problems without being accused of undermining production or perpetrating reversed injustice. I could go on and on. What we need is maturity and creativity and be guided by justice to become thinkers, inventors and builders of a new Africa that will guarantee to her people liberty dignity and prosperity.
We should create Pan African Centres in each African Country to serve as the depository of all information that is needed by the African people and ensure that the information is accessible to all so that it could facilitate the realisation of a shared destiny through continental cooperation to influence continental policy in the right direction. These centres would collect data and exchange information on all matters affecting the continent especially the quality of the partnership agreements which other Nations are signing with Africa.
We should recommend to all governments to hold an All African Peoples Conference to facilitate the drawing up of a programmatic policy document that would entail a Comprehensive Africa Economic Social and Cultural Development Policy and Programme which should serve as an Economic recovery programme for Africa based on the economic integration of the continent.
We should recommend to African Governments to call for a world conference on the trade and monetary system to challenge the malpractices of the trading and currency blocs that now rule the trading and monetary systems of the world to Africa´s disadvantage. We all know that over 300 billion is utilised by countries which control world trade to subsidise their farmers while the prices of the agricultural produce of our unsubsidised farmers fall in the world market.
We should recommend to African Governments to start the utilisation of means to build National Consensus On Constitutional, institutional and governance modalities to guide nation building so that the harmonisation of instruments, Institutions and normative practices of governance would be feasible to enable us to create a Federation of African Republics in the not too distant future.
We should call on the AU to prevail on the UN to hold an international conference on Libya so that all stake holders in Libya will meet to articulate a transitional instrument that would guide a transitional government which would prepare the ground to enable the consent of each Libyan to be sought to determine who is to lead the country and how.
In Cote D `Ivoire and all Countries that had known conflict; the Government s which comes to office immediately after the conflicts should be called upon to focus on healing the wounds of each Nation by involving all citizens in determining constitutional and institutional reform to consolidate the sovereignty of the people and hand over power to a democratically elected government after its first term in office in order to set an example for peaceful transfer of power in their countries .
In all states which had undergone conflict a programme for Nation building under the auspices of the AU should begin to give such countries a new start.
Monarchs on the continent should quickly establish representative institutions to manage the affairs of government and make laws without their assent and then move to a Republic before the 50 th Anniversary of the the OAU/ AU in 2013. An Africa where government is for the sovereign people and not the sovereign people for government should come into being by 2013 as the Pan Africanists had always called for.
To conclude I strongly recommend that we revisit the Principles of Nation building embodied in the resolution of the first Pan African Congress of 1919 and rely on it as a minimum programme to shape the policies of African governments towards African Unity This should be done in the interest of posterity. Without unity there will be no African Nation and without an African Nation there can be no African people and without an African people there will be no collective initiative by the African people to be the architects of a destiny of liberty dignity and prosperity. We must unite or perish. This is verdict of Pan Africanism and it is incontrovertible.
Sudan Sensitisation Project (SSP)