The journalist and black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey wrote a poem about it.The reggae great Bob Marley sang about it and the Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddaffi poured his oil wealth into it but none lived to see a United States of Africa.
For a moment,just imagine Africa with all it’s beauty and embedded natural resources could come together and assemble as one country.Just imagine with all the minerals,tourist attractions and latent talent that Africa possesses if we could come together as one and be one robust nation.Imagine what would that do to all Africa.Just for a second think of it,my friend.We would do away with so much problems in our mother land.Africa is grappling under perennial strife and poverty,much of which is created by civil wars,political bickering and corruption.Just imagine if all the 55 countries of Africa were governed by a central Government like the case in the United States of America.Just gaze a look at the U.S.A-the big economy of the world.What would stop the United States of Africa from becoming a success story as well.
One of the greatest divisive things ever done in history was the partitioning of Africa.The colonialists divided Africa and in the process disadvantaged us and pitted us against each other.We should not even be talking about South Africa,Ghana or Nigeria and stuff like that because we are all one.We are simply a people that were born into this system of nationalities across Africa,otherwise we are all Africans.If only each and one of the 55 countries would put away selfish interests,come together,I bet you half of the problems in Africa would resolved.Somalia suffers from years of poverty,Sudan has been dealing with civil years,Zimbabwe has had it’s fair share of squabbles since time immemorial,DRC has also went through strife,all these problems are embedded in the root of these countries.Tribal,political and class lines have been the bone of contention.
Look at the U.S.A with all the different genres of Americans,living in peace.Well,yes perhaps racism is still a thorny issue in the USA even in 2020 but the that is a story for another day.My point is to say,the USA is united and all the states of that country are well governed by President Donald Trump.With governors in those respective states ensuring that governance is executed seamlessly.Whereas in Africa it is a few countries that seem to be developing,South Africa and Nigeria.Throw in maybe,Rwanda but most of the African states are impoverished.
A luminary in his own right,the late President of Tanzania,Julius K Nyerere,cites
“For the sake of all African states,large or small,African unity must come and it must be real unity.Our goal must be a United States of Africa .Only this can give Africa the future her people deserve after centuries of economic uncertainty and social oppression,This goal must be achieved,and it does not matter whether this is done by one step or by many,or through economic,political or social development.( The Journal of Modern African Studies,1963).From the words of Nyerere you can envision an Africa united in totality,in all aspects of the word unity.An Africa pulling together all it’s resources to the betterment of all Africans.An Africa were we are all living together as one,one Africa without any vestige of tribalism or xenophobia.
Africa appears divided and impoverished as ever,perpetually in conflict and has serious health issues facing the population.A unification of all African countries under a single government will go a long way in alleviating some of these militating factors against Africa’s development.If an impregnable government could administer Africa’s resources more efficiently and equally,hence eliminating the need for tribes and nations to scuffle over land.Rather than a government that favours Christians or Muslims,Hutus or Tutsis,Ndebeles or Shonas,Zulus or Vendas-an African government would represent all Africans equally,in the distribution of resources and funding.Just imagine all that-the United States of Africa.
The vision of an impoverished continent of countries coming together as one, flexing its muscle in geopolitics and the global economy,has long enticed activists,poets and politicians.But today’s Africa remains divided,largely along hastily drawn colonial-era borders.The question now is whether the still remote idea of political unity can find new life in the more modest goal of an integrated economic community.The obstacles are formidable.Congolose women who trade eggs cannot cross borders without giving away part of their load to officials and facing threats of sexual assault.According to a 2012 World Bank report;South Africa has feuded with Nigeria and Kenya over visa rules for their citizens;and a territorial row between Malawi and Tanzania over a lake separating them has hampered oil exploration.I could go on and on until the cows come home but this is underscores the urgency of moving Africa towards a United States of Africa.
Historically,a united Africa has been more of an imaginative leap than a realistic prospect.Africa is larger than the U.S;,Japan,China,India and Europe combined.The 5000 miles of territory stretching from Tangier in the north to Cape Town in the south are home to more than a billion people,speaking more than 2000 languages.
In conclusion,in the words of Julius Nyerere;
”Indissoluble African unity is the stone which would enable us all to walk in safety over this whirlpool of power politics, and enable us to carry more easily the economic and social loads which now threaten to overwhelm us’.
By Harrison Ncube. (Harrison Ncube is a Broadcast Journalist at Radio54 African Panorama based in Johannesburg, South Africa)