Last week, the world was called upon to pay attention to “Africa Day”. It was the 60th Anniversary of the Union; a commemoration of the adoption of the OAU (Organisation of Africa Union) Charter on 25TH May 1963. That day would be the birth of much hope. Today, the reality is mixed, at least for the narrative. Yet with much zeal, the Africa Union (AU) is pursuing what seems to be a relentless quest to make the dream come true: “the Blackman is capable of managing his own affairs.”
Without prejudice to skin colour, it may be important to stress that the “Blackman” is one with an African heritage whether he/she has a black, brown, white (is there a really white skin?) thick or light skin. This is imperative because of the many heresies on how some non-black African countries seem to be less committed to the Unity agenda; and the apparent economic abuse of black people in South Africa even with the abolishing of Apartheid and the rule of the ANC (African National Congress), for which reason Julius Malema’s EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) claims to preside of the political party with increasing growth rate in a country whose past was a crucible of racial fury. This also is in link with a perceived undermining of the black masses by black elites who after riding unto power on the popularism donated by the masses team up with others to drain the coffers and perpetuate unmasked poverty on a continent blessed with everything.
Trade is Strategic
AU at 60 is a call to sober reflection as we witness the speed with which the EU (European Union) has galvanized itself into a formidable global agency with capacity to broker a buffer between what may be regarded as the extreme West (USA and UK) and the extreme East (China and Russia). The EU was formed in 1993, 30 years after the formation of the OUA, and has succeeded in a large part through the establishment of a common currency, the economic influence that gives it significant leverage in global political power. The strength of the Euro has secured for Europe what the strength of the “ECO” could do for Africa’s ECOWAS, as starters for the whole continent. This is why a focus on trade is a strategic choice to propel a sustained economic growth and development for Africa.
The AU@60 theme focused on Trade: Acceleration of AfCFTA implementation. The African Continental Free Trade Area is a very bold step, taking the bull by the horn, because trade is the nerve of economic, the hub of the market. It was via trade that insidious entrances were made into Africa which crippled it through colonization. It’s via trade that the global order applies economic power in tilting the balance between the haves and the have-nots. Balance of payments are calculated on the difference between imports and exports; and deficits in international trade describe the quality of a country’s wellbeing. This is the core of Africa’s long tale of poverty. Our marginalization on the global stage, apart from token representation, is incapacitation in the arena of world trade. Trade is at the center of economic power, which is at the center of political power. The BRICS have seen this escape route from the claws of the Bretton Woods so now they can rally to protect their own from the sanctions imposed by war. In the case of Africa, there seems to be sanctions imposed by an unequal playing field clandestinely operated through a sophistry of global complexities. international legalities with challengeable legitimacy.
Naivety of the masses is shame to right thinking elites
Beneath the multiple dimensions of international trade regulations and legalities with challengeable legitimacy, are the hidden tectonics that determine the status quo. What we see on the global stage portrayed by the media and other overt actors such as governments, private think-tanks cum tycoons and window-dressing civil society organisations, are crafted behind the scenes by power brokers whose precursor elements are vested in the natural resources, namely raw materials and raw brains of a relatively unrefined Africa. These power players, from all sides of greedy humanity, are disingenuously framing a mindset for the ignorant masses in a way that makes a global call for social justice urgent. Ours is a malignant facade of international trade that seems to be making the rich richer and the poor poorer. That’s why the drain of Africa’s natural resources and human capital is still a matter of grave concern.
Africa, don’t trade your brains for remittances
If we really are serious about turning brain drain into brain gains in the form of the various manifestations of remittances from abroad, then we may perhaps have been swindled by a careful scam; just like a poor man is tricked into addiction to gambling with always a hope of making it big one day. What remittances give Africa may be infinitesimal compared to the gains African intelligentsia make for the countries they work in. If there are any smart Africans working on the NASA rover mission, what would be their remittance compared with the gains NASA makes out of them. The addicted gambler who wins the lottery: he doesn’t even appreciate that the day he wins big he may only have siphoned monies from other poor pockets who missed their hope and their poison has become his meat. Let’s build a system that keeps our brains here, well enough to make greater gains for us here. The world is coming to Africa, let’s not abdicate our space.
Agenda 2063 should work: let’s fix our broken System
Agenda 2063 is Africa’s vision for transformation. Before COVID-19 the world’s agenda was to transform 2015 global wellbeing by 2030 through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with focus of People, Peace, Planet, Prosperity and Partnership. The SDGs are still the target of the United Nations in spite of the significant setbacks it’s facing, and the world body has declared 2020-2030 as a decade of action to achieve the goals. With unprecedented acceleration, we may be able to achieve these 17 global goals which have over 200 indicators. The Africa Union doesn’t look so ambitious with its Agenda 2063 but it may be very realistic, without lethargy. In Africa we believe in doing it together and know that together may be slow but together will get there together. We are wise enough to understand how our diversity is the strength of our unity. So we respect individual rights but we esteem collective heritage. That’s why our perspective of human rights is communally responsible. But beyond cultural sentimentalism, Africa must do more work to fix its system. We cannot continually pass the blame of our woes on others. We must stop our pity party; yea we have stopped it. The more we take responsibility the more we see how irresponsible the global system is treating us. This is why we now must go to the table with open eyes and listening ears; and speak boldly. Let’s “believe” in ourselves and maintain our confidence in God. Even if we hot the wall many times, we can use that to our advantage to device a means of penetrating that wall. Let’s fix out time management problem, maintaining the flexibility that makes for creativity. We need to be focused, diligent and consistent with our policies and programmes. Accountability must be pragmatic. Talk is cheap. Everywhere in the world where there are human beings, there is side-taking so we cannot wish our party politics out of the window. But we can use it for healthy competition of ideas to benefit everybody. Civil society organisations must be objective and build the capacity of citizens rather than use them to get funds with the least accountability. Public service is not a means of making personal wealth.
Righteousness Exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people
Our churches are doing well but we need more holiness and righteousness in both the pupil and the pew. It is not true that religion is the opium of the masses, but actions speak louder than words. So our bishops and prophets must stop building loyalty cults for themselves. Is Christianity if about the good example of the Lord Jesus Christ, it must be obvious among those who claim to be church leaders and founders! Stop spending so much on advertisement and help give moral direction to the many wasting youth who are even becoming bored with church. Wake up African churches, wake well.
Africa is indeed rising. Let’s keep hope alive.