By Honourable Saka
African Union Commission
17 July, 2012
A Pan-African Appeal
“African leaders must first and foremost recognize that unity in
Africa is in our best interest and the only option we have if we want to
attain peace, stability and economic development. We all must
recognize that we can only make progress if North, South, East, Central
and West Africa come together as one, act together as one and speak with
one voice”. Lord Aikins Adusei
"Africa has no alliance except with itself" -- Muammar Qadhafi
Madam Chairperson, before I proceed, let me first take this
opportunity to congratulate you on your election into the office of the
African Union Commission, the highest political office on the continent.
The African people especially the women and children are proud of your
determination to lead us to the promised land: a land of unity and
prosperity where Africa’s vast resources will ultimately benefit the
African people. The African people wish you all the best in your new
African leaders, time is running out. The talk must be over. It is
time to take real action. The business of the African Union (AU) should NOT be about
fighting malaria, tuberculosis and promoting sanitation. These should be
the task for the World Vision, WHO and the USAID. The business of the
AU should only focus on working towards the total liberation of Africa,
promoting unity among Africans especially unity among our governments as
well as fighting for Africa's economic independence. We must focus on
removing the borders, ensure free trade among ourselves and promote the
free movement of Africans on the continent. These should be our major
focus. The talks and the distractions have been too much. It is time for
real action. Some of these steps that require immediate action are as
1. Industrialization and Economic Integration
“So long as Africa remains divided, it will therefore be the wealthy
consumer countries who will dictate the price of its resources”. -Kwame
Nkrumah (Neo-Colonialism, page11)
As a matter of fact, the whole of Africa’s economy is geared to the
interests of the foreign capital that dominates it. Currently,
processing plants for Africa’s resources are still held in Europe and
Asia but not in Africa. This arrangement ensures that, Africans cannot
at any time disrupt operations while they (the producers) continue to
hold monopoly over the price for the finished products. This must change
if we as a people are determined to exert some control over the price
of our resources. It is very humiliating that, Africans continue to
import a lot of soap, steel, iron rods, plastic, rice, sugar, chicken.
But as you know, we have all the raw materials right here and a very
The 21st century has no place for the African people if we
continue to serve as the “producers of raw materials” for Western and
Asian industries and the “dumping ground” of European, American and
Asian commodities which often come at cut-throat prices. African
countries must focus on industrialization. We must make all effort to
produce what we use and use what we produce.
We must focus on building more industries, and expanding the power
grid to sustain these industries. It is completely imprudent for
Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Niger, Guinea, Mali among others to continue
exporting ‘raw’ uranium and other strategic resources to power the
nuclear reactors of Europe and Asia at a time when many African
countries do not have reliable electricity. If nuclear and solar energy
are good for Europe and Asia, then they must certainly be good for
Africa. The African countries with these resources must also consider
producing nuclear energy and exporting it overseas. We must not allow
the future of our economy to be determined by decisions in Europe,
America nor Asia. We must strategize so that we can determine the future
of our own economy.
We must first pursue the technology by sending our youth overseas for
training and also creating the platform for them to return and lead the
charge. African leaders must unite and focus on shifting the industries
from overseas back to Africa and get the African youth to work. We have
all the resources. What is needed is for us to focus on putting the
industries in place so that we can make the products right here and sell
it to the outside world. The time when Africa was seen as the supplier
of raw materials must end.
Today, Asia and Latin America are rising. Europe and North-America
are in deep financial crises. Yet, Africa still remains a sleeping
giant: very confused and doesn’t to seem to know the way forward. It is
time for economic integration among African countries. Africans must
begin to focus on trading among themselves. For instance, Ghana has a
huge stockpile of salt which goes wasted every year. Yet, it is very sad
that every year, Nigeria and many African countries, import salt from
Brazil for their textile industries (which are gradually collapsing
because African leaders themselves have abandoned African fashion for
suits and tie all the time).
Oil producing countries in Africa are shipping their oil to Europe,
America and Asia at cheaper prices, while many other African countries
turn to the Middle East for oil and gas! West Africa has wide savannahs,
ideal for the growing of cotton, with the right irrigation. Yet for
many years we spent millions of pounds importing richly-patterned cloths
from abroad. The whole situation in Africa is like waging trade and
economic war among ourselves. Africans, please come together and protect
your collective interest!
2. Movement of People, Goods and Services Across borders
Artificial borders were meant to divide Africans, making them weak and easy to conquer
Perhaps, the major challenge we have in Africa which affects our
ability to trade freely among ourselves is directly as a result of the
lack of trade agreements and also the current restrictions we have
imposed upon our people. African citizens have been limited from
travelling to Europe and America with tough visa restrictions.
Unfortunately, travelling within our own continent too has become
another burden. On the average, a Ghanaian visitor has to go through a
period of 2 to 3 months visa routines, before he can travel to Zimbabwe
or Uganda! Meanwhile, as a matter of fact, the Ghanaian can travel to
Nigeria, Mali or even Kenya without needing a visa. Now the question we
must ask the African leaders is: what are the differences between Ghana,
Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe? How can Zambians travel to South
Africa without visa but this same people have to wait for a period of 2
months for visa before they can travel to Kenya, Togo or Ivory Coast?
Why can’t we break these chains of visa restrictions which prevent the
African citizen from feeling free on his motherland? Something seriously
has to be done about these travel restrictions to allow inter-African
trade. The African must be allowed to travel freely on the African soil
so that we can experience our diversity in order to foster unity. The
current visa restrictions must be removed and allow the African people
the freedom to explore our beautiful continent.
Another challenge we face on this issue is the cost of transportation
itself. It is very difficult to travel from one African country to the
other due to the fact that Africa’s road and rail infrastructure still
remains underdeveloped. Air transport has therefore become our major
option. This is however too expensive. According to the current
estimate, the cost of flying from Abuja to London is at least US$700. At
the same time, the cost of flying from Abuja to Accra is more than
US$800. It is even more expensive to fly within the ECOWAS region than
to fly to Europe. Meanwhile, the cost of a flight from London to Paris
or anywhere in Europe could be as cheap as US$100 and below. If in
doubt, check www.easyjet.com and
find out how cheap it is to travel by air within Europe. All these are
happening to Africans because “our leaders” have not taken the issue of
industrialization very serious. For how long can poor Africans afford to
pay ten times the cost of the same services offered to their European
The current exorbitant cost of air tickets in Africa is similar to
what Africans had to pay for telecommunication and internet services few
years ago. It is a fact that the charges for internet and mobile phone
services in Africa were the highest on the planet. Today, thanks to
Gaddafi and a few African leaders’ initiative. The introduction of
RASCOM (Regional African Satellite Communication Organization) has
paid off. This joint African project is expected to lower the
continent's dependency on international satellite networks such as Intelsat, saving Africans a whooping US$500 million every year.
Consequently, telecommunication services are now affordable in
Africa. This is a clear indication that if African leaders take similar
bold steps and solve the challenge posed by the huge cost of
transportation in Africa we can save more billions of dollars every year
on transport. We only need the political will to do this and our burden
Gervais Djondo, a former industry minister of Togo has recently set
himself a mission to create a pan-African airline serving for the
continent. Like other Pan-Africanists, Djondo believes the way forward
is for African carriers, instead of trying to compete with each other
and jealously guarding their national markets, should rather combine
their resources and create a consolidated service/network of a strong
African airline company owned and managed by Africans. This idea must be
welcomed and supported by the African leaders. African governments must
invest in this project to help ease the burden.
3. African Central Bank
"It must be understood that the less developed world will
not become developed through the goodwill or generosity of the
developed”. –Kwame Nkrumah (Neo-Colonialism, page xviii).
This is the reason why we must be determined to put Africa’s future
into our own hands. The West may pretend to be helping Africa. But we
must be ready to map out our own strategies to facilitate our own
development. The future of Africa cannot continue to remain in the hands
of donor countries, the European Central Bank, the World Bank and IMF.
The existing African Development Bank has finally been hijacked by
the West. African governments must come together and establish an
African Central Bank or a Bank of Africa where all African governments
will deposit part of their national reserves. I must however stress
that; this bank must be under the control and management of Africans.
Instead of Francophone African countries to deposit their foreign
reserves in France to later loan this moneys to the Africans at a huge
interest rate, all such moneys can be deposited in the African Central
Bank where it can be used for our own benefits. If each African country
were to deposit about $2billion (or more) of our national reserves into
this fund, we could mobilize for ourselves more than $100billion in a
matter of months. [The African Central Bank was to be launched last September but the money to start it, was $42 billion, of which $32 billion came from Libya, and was stolen by the U.S.A. on the false basis that it was "Qaddafi money".]
African leaders or the millionaires could also be encouraged to save
with this bank. When this is done, the interest that will be generated
on this money will belong to the African people instead of giving this
lucrative opportunity to the Western banks year after year. At the same
time, African governments and the AU itself could have this reliable
source of funds to finance their projects without the need to depend on
aid from the West all the time.
Money does not grow on trees. The West has always generated money out
of thin air and is using this system to enslave African nations into
debt. African leaders please wake up! Our destiny is not poverty. We
only need to take these bold decisions today. The EU has got its central
bank. Asia and Latin America are recently following suit. This has
saved some of them from selling their sovereignty to the World Bank and
the IMF. Currently, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South
Africa) are also considering such an idea. Therefore what are the
African leaders waiting for? How long must we continue to wait because
we believe the time is not right? If the African leaders of today think
they cannot do it, whom are they looking up to come and do it? Is it the
youth they expect to be able to solve the challenges they themselves
feel they cannot solve?
Our African politicians are piling up billions of African money in European and American banks
while poverty continues to enslave our people because our own banks do
not have the money to loan out to African business investors. Why can’t
we set up these banks and encourage our politicians to deposit part of
their moneys there?
4. Africa’s Security
Nkrumah held that, no single part of Africa can be safe, or free to
develop fully and independently at a time when any other part is torn up
in conflict; remains un-liberated or under the control of puppet
As a result, Kwame Nkrumah wrote:
"Unless we meet this obvious and very powerful threat
with a unified African front, based upon a common economic and defence
policy, the strategy of the imperialist will be to pick us off and
destroy us one by one", (Africa Must Unite, page xvii).
African leaders need to establish a joint security force whose major
responsibility will be to defend the African people from terrorism and
foreign aggression. We must also commit needed resources to equip this
security force to be able to defend our security and our sovereignty. We
cannot continue year after year to put our security into the hands of
the UN. What happened in Libya and Ivory Coast recently, clearly shows
the urgent need for such an idea.
5. African Court of Justice
Today, the whole world bears witness to the fact that, the current
International Criminal Court is only a tool that targets African
leaders. Many more serious war crimes have been committed by leaders of
Western countries. Notably among them are George Bush and Tony Blair.
Yet, for many years, the ICC has paid a blind eye to crimes committed by
the West. African leaders must therefore take immediate steps to
establish for ourselves a court of justice which will deal with crimes
committed by our people. The current form of imported justice must end.
We must boycott the ICC and set up our own courts. Time is running out
because sooner or later, any of you African leaders could become the
next victim of this “kangaroo court” which is seen by the African people
rather as the “International Court of Criminals”.
6. The Educational Sector
According to Kwame Nkrumah: (Africa Must Unite, page 49):
“We were thought to regard our culture, our norms and
values as barbarous and primitive. Our text-books are books that tell us
about English history, English Geography, English ways of living,
English customs, English ideas”.
These are past mistakes that must urgently be corrected. Instead of
focusing on English customs, and Western ideas, our educational systems
must be integrated with African culture, norms and values. We must begin
to implement educational policies that harness our cultural heritage,
be determined to sell African value to the outside world and to promote
unity among Africans. We cannot lose our African fashion and our way of
life for the sake of meeting the economic interest of the West. The
current theory-based courses, with little or no practical models are not
helping. Today, many Africans have all the paper knowledge but they
lack the practical knowledge to solve real-world problems. We must
create the conditions for the youth to learn to be able to build our
industries. We must henceforth focus on technical education, science and
technology and do more on practical courses.
“It is time for us to nurture our own culture and history if we
are to develop that African personality which must provide the
educational and intellectual foundations of our Pan-African future”. -Kwame Nkrumah, (Africa Must Unite page 49).
Therefore our educational system must also focus on training Africans
in areas that will enable us to directly manage our resources and be
able to resist neo-colonialism and the imperialists who often come in
the form of “advisers”, “consultants” and policy makers, working at our
expense. We must device educational systems that are aimed at fixing our
political and economic challenges by ourselves instead of always taking
orders from foreign capitalists.
“To allow a foreign country, especially one which is loaded with
economic interests in our continent, to tell us what political courses
to follow, is indeed for us to hand back our independence to the
oppressor on a silver platter.” (Kwame Nkrumah, “Consciencism” pg.102).
Africa has invested so much to help develop the educational systems
abroad while ours are falling apart. For many years, Africans have been
paying so much money to European, Canadian and American educational
institutions. According to a UNESCO report, more than 200,000 tertiary
students from sub-Saharan Africa studied abroad in 2006. Currently, it
is estimated that more than 500,000 Africans study abroad every year.
The average African student pays more than $15,000/yr for his/her
studies abroad. By a simple calculation, Africans spend at least
$7.5billion to study abroad each year.
“…Today, an international student who leaves [the United States] with
a good feeling is a life-long advertisement for the [U.S. business]
community. For purely economic reasons, the U.S. should protect this
market share. With over 500,000 foreign students and more than $11 billion per annum at issue, American education as export industry has become our chasse gardée”, -Robert Scott.
Europe and America are benefiting because our educational systems are
not receiving adequate resources and infrastructure. But for how long
must this cycle continue because we do not have confidence in our
There is no doubt that the Western educational institutions were one
of the best in the world. However, it must be pointed out that they
currently have their own issues which to some extent affect their
integrity as well. Just visit: www.ukessay.co.uk
and find out for yourselves how thousands of students in Europe have
been buying degrees online with impunity. All they have to do is to pay
some £300 to these agencies; email them their courseworks/dissertation
topics and bingo, the work is delivered at their door steps as soon as
I was very fortunate to have had my education (up to degree level) in
Africa, and I must say by my practical experience abroad, I can
confidently say that the educational institutions we have in Africa are
very good. Though not perfect, they are not as bad as we’re often made
to believe. African leaders must invest enough resources into developing
our educational systems to the highest standard so that we can attract
more students to study in Africa and reap its economic and the cultural
benefits. We must encourage foreigners to study in Africa to be able to
appreciate our culture and our society.
In conclusion, we must always strive to remember the struggle of our
founding fathers and their dedication to Pan-Africanism. Pan-Africanism
cannot be seen as irrelevant in our political future. For it is this
pillar which forms the basis of our political independence, and gave us
the freedom we enjoy today: freedom from slavery, and freedom from
colonial rule. It is this same idea that can provide the key to our
economic challenges in the 21st century. We must therefore
work hard to teach the African youth this concept. Copies of all books
and speeches by our founding fathers such as Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice
Lumumba, Nelson Mandela, Thomas Sankara and many other Pan-African books
must be provided to the African youth to study and be able to think and
act in this direction. This will help create millions of of their kind,
to take Africa through the next stage of our economic independence.
We at Project Pan-Africa (PPA) are willing to cooperate with the AU in this regard.
To succeed, we must seek first the “political kingdom” (African
Unity) and all the freedom and the economic emancipation shall follow.
We need political unity to be able to fulfill the dreams of our founding
fathers and meet the aspirations of our people. Time is running out.
Every single day counts. We must act now.
I am therefore appealing to the African leaders to take immediate
decisive steps to alleviate our people from poverty in order to avert
any imminent revolution from the youth, which may ultimately target the
“The great millions of Africans are growing impatient of being
the hewers of wood, the providers of unskilled labour, the drawers of
water, and being the dishwashers and the cleaners of Europe and
America”. Kwame Nkrumah, (Africa Must Unite page ix).
Long live Africa!
Long live the African Union that must be!!
All African Leaders
The President, Pan-African Parliament
Executive Secretariat, Africa Forum
The President, African Youth Union
- Kwame Nkrumah (1964) “Consciencism”. Panaf Books: London
- Kwame Nkrumah (1963) “Africa Must Unite”, Pana Books: London
- Kwame Nkrumah (1965) “Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism”. Panaf Books: London
(Coordinator, Project Pan-Africa)
About Honourable SAKAThe author is a writer and a political analyst on African affairs, and a
well-known social commentator in Africa. He is currently seeking to
establish the “Project Pan-Africa (PPA)”, to create a mental revolution across Africa. He is the editor of “The Doctor’s Report”, your most reliable source of critical analysis on African affairs.
Please visit his blog at: www.honourablesaka.blogspot.co.uk and reach him by Email at: [email protected]. Also Visit PPA at www.projectpanafrica.org
View all posts by Honourable SAKA
This article was produced via the Mathaba Publication Bridge