Sunday, August 27, 2006

The United States of Africa debate should focus on four fundamental transformations:

First, African states need to adopt a policy of "first call" for Africa. Africa should put its interests first in terms of using its resources, both human and material. It is shameful for a continent that is as rich as Africa to go begging for debt relief when in essence all its resources are underutilised. Africa must make its case in the international marketplace by adopting more aggressive policies.

Second, Africa needs to conduct its foreign policies and diplomacy differently, concentrating its energies on Africa and African relationships.

Refusing to allow unsavoury regimes and wars to thrive on the continent is the third transformation. Concerted conflict management needs to be the first item on the agenda of individual states, the OAU, and regional organisations like Igad, SADC, Ecowas and EAC.

Lastly, the struggle to promote the dignity of black people and institutions both in Africa and outside it, should not be manipulated to condone black imperialism in Africa. The interventionist role played by Uganda and Rwanda in Congo is an example of just the kind of expansionism Africa does not need.

Opiyo Ododa is a post-graduate student at the Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies at the University of Nairobi

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