Saturday, March 31, 2007

Konaré sees need for a 'United States of Africa

A "United States of Africa" could help ensure the development of smaller, weaker African countries and the continent as a whole, according to Alpha Oumar Konaré, president of the African Union Commission and former President of Mali.
"The problems of Africa can not be solved in an isolated way," Dr. Konaré told a standing-room-only audience in the Elizabeth Rose Hall at UNU Tokyo July 24. "We need integration. We need solidarity."
He said that the continent's developing awareness of the need for integration and solidarity was not a threat to national sovereignty but rather an opportunity to face the real threats to sovereignty: multinational corporations and international financial institutions. "We cannot even draft a budget in our countries without their approval," Dr. Konaré said.
Dr. Konaré affirmed that the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) had created movement throughout Africa and had helped to put the continent back on the world agenda. He rejected the popular image of Africa as "a continent of AIDS, a continent of hunger, a continent of coup d'état. If we focus solely on the images presented by the media, we can only be sceptical if not desperate."
The lecture was introduced by UNU Rector Hans van Ginkel who described the framework developed at TICAD III within which UNU and the African Diplomatic Corps in Tokyo focus on solutions to Africa's development challenges. "The triangle of concern remains infrastructure, regional integration, and capital flows," Van Ginkel noted.
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