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19.09.2020 Feature Article

On Pan-Africanist: My Reply to the Naysayers

Femi Akomolafe
LISTEN SEP 19, 2020
Femi Akomolafe

To those who keep on deriding Pan-Africanism as a hopeless dream, I say:

  1. The future, they say, belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
  2. Stop confusing Pan-Africanism with African-Romanticism. PA is not about falling in love with your fellow African, it is about combining your strength to face a very hostile, dog-eat-dog, man-eat-shit, Social-Darwinistic world where might is right and the weak are swallowed whole.

I can imagine your falling in love with the geographic expression of colonial garrison you choose to call a country. I can even understand your need to beat chest, wave flags and belch anthems as you feel giddy with excitement and awe at the display of the appurtenances of your ostensible independent country.

What I cannot understand is why it is beyond you to see how puny and pathetically insignificant your beloved country actually is in the global scheme of things.

Apart from Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt none of the other countries in Africa packed enough punch to rate high in geo-strategic calculations.

So, Mr Patriot, try to imagine yourself the president of say, Benin Republic, going to negotiate a trade deal with, say, Germany.

What exactly will you bring to the table?

Your economy, all of US$14:39 billion GDP, is significantly less than that of any of the states that made up the BundsRepublik - North Rhine Westphalia tops the list at US$711.4 billion, the lowest Bremen stands at US$33.6 billion.

At US $3.9trillion, the German economy makes your national economy looks very tiny in comparison. The Germans will simply roll over you.

That’s just the teaser.

I know that, for many of us, thinking deep is an encumbrance, but try not to forget that Germany, being part of the EU, no longer negotiate bilateral trade deals with other countries. The EU does that on its behalf.

If the German economy makes your national economy looks tiny, the behemoth of the combined EU economy at US$18.8Trillion reduces your national economy to virtual invisibility.

Since we are still imagining things, now try to imagine if, instead of you going alone to Bonn ( actually Brussels) to negotiate a trade deal as the Beninois Minister for Trade and whatever, you are part of an ECOWAS negotiating team.

By sheer scale of the combined population of the ECOWAS (300+ million), your prospects have dramatically improved. Your chances of being considered a serious player have increased exponentially.

Try to think about it even if the efforts will render you comatose!

Have a wonderful day.

Fẹ̀mi Akọmọlàfẹ́

September 18, 2020

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