Category: africa Dated: 27/03/2007 Forty-four years after Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah called for a United States of Africa at the founding conference of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, this summer African leaders will once again debate the issue. Email Godwin Read & Reply Discussions  Alerts Godwin's Archive RSS - What is RSS? Share Story Print
Kwame Nkrumah thought a united Africa could break the chains of colonialism
Not one of us working singly and individually can successfully attain the fullest development. Kwame Nkrumah, at the first conference of the AU in 1963
Forty-four years after Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah called for a United States of Africa at the founding conference of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, this summer African leaders will once again debate the issue.The proposal is being put forward by the incumbent chairman of African Union (AU) and will be considered by leaders of the 53 countries of the continent as they gather in Accra in July for this year’s AU summit. Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nana Akufo-Addo, announced this in a presentation to the Ghanaian parliament on the event. The proposal is to have a common African country that will be run federally, mirroring the formation of the United States of America. According to Akufo-Addo: “All member states have been asked to critically examine the issue ahead of the summit and to come up with steps needed to ensure its actualization.” Ghana’s parliament will debate the matter in during its sittings in May.Making the proposal in his speech at the Addis Ababa conference in 1963, Nkrumah had noted: “Not one of us working singly and individually can successfully attain the fullest development. Only a united Africa functioning under a union government can forcefully mobilize the material and moral resources of our separate countries and apply them efficiently and energetically to bring a rapid change in the conditions of our people.” Nkrumah’s idea of a united Africa is one with a union government with headquarters in a central place in Africa, (he actually suggested Banqui in the Central African Republic or Kinshasa in Congo), that will among other things have: a common economic and industrial development programme, a common currency, a common foreign policy, a common army and a common African citizenship.“The people of Africa call for the breaking down of the boundaries that keep them apart. They demand an end to the border disputes between sister African states – disputes that arise out of the artificial barriers raised by colonialism. It was colonialism’s purpose that divided us. It was colonialism’s purpose that left us with our border irredentism that rejected our ethnic and cultural fusion,” Nkrumah told participants at the conference.
Hope for Africa lies in a united continent
Work for unity with the firm conviction that without unity, there is no future for Africa. Julius Nyerere, Former President of Tanzania
“No independent African state today by itself has a chance to follow an independent course of economic development, and many of us who have tried to do this have been almost ruined or have had to return to the fold of the former colonial rulers. This position will not change unless we have a unified policy working at the continental level,” he added.Reflecting on that proposal by Nkrumah at a special lecture in Accra in March 1997, former president of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere noted: “Nkrumah was opposed to balkanization as much as he was opposed to colonialism in Africa. To him and to a number of us, the two – balkanization and colonialism were twins. Genuine liberation of Africa had to attack both twins. A struggle against colonialism must go hand in hand with a struggle against the balkanization of Africa.” Nyerere charged the new generation of African leaders with a charge. “This is my plea to the new generation of African leaders and African peoples: work for unity with the firm conviction that without unity, there is no future for Africa. Africans should spit in the face of anybody who suggests that our continent should remain divided and fossilized in the shame of colonialism, in order to satisfy the national pride of our former colonial masters.” The Accra Summit will also seek to address the composition of the AU Executive and a replacement for Alpha Konare who has indicated he intends to step down as a AU President. The African Peer Review Mechanism will also be on the menu of the summit and the unresolved business of pockets of conflicts in parts of the continent.