UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
SDGUN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

A few days from today, we will be commemorating the African Union Day – 25th May, a day set aside to remember how far the African continent has come in its quest to unite and to rekindle the spirit of Pan Africanism in its citizens. The idea of African Unity spans from the early years of Pan Africanism, the founding fathers; Marcus Garvey, Edward Blyden, W. E. B. Du Bois, George Padmore and others who thought people of black descent must come together to take their rightful place on the global stage. These founding fathers were tired of racial segregation in the Americas and the West; they could not behold the glaring exploitation of both human and natural resources of the African continent to grow other continents. The fight against Imperialism provided a common ground and a more concrete reason to re-echo the voice of African Unity.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana, a leading figure and one of the founding fathers of the then Organization for Africa Unity strongly maintained that Africans could end Colonialism through political and cultural unity. He believed that “The Independence of Ghana would be meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the entire continent”. The likes of Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Leopold Senghor of Senegal, Emperor Haille Selassie of Ethiopia, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Modibo Keita of Mali, Sekou Toure of Guinea, all shared in this dream. The goal of the African Unity was far beyond the cessation of Colonialism and Imperialism. At the heart of this call was the urgency to mobilize the resources and the energies of the African people to improve the livelihoods of the people on this continent. I call this dream the African Promised Destination.

The journey for the African people to live quality lives has been arduous, and treacherous. The attainment of the vision has lingered unendingly and sometimes seems the African continent will never get to the promised destination, an expedition that has seen many setbacks right from the beginning, with many foes fighting from both within and without. I believe strongly that from the birthing of Pan Africanism to African Unity, the founding fathers may have anticipated and counted the cost of this journey. Some were sure they would not live to see its fulfillment. They considered themselves as the gallant warriors who had to start this journey with the hope that their descendants will carry on until Africa experiences the social and economic prosperity that its citizenry deserve.

The post Independence story of Africa has been one of optimism and pessimism, a bright and gloomy future. When our forebears blew the trumpet and sang the songs of victory for our freedom, they knew we were very close to our promised destination: a prosperous Africa for the African people. Sometimes, it seems we are far away than being close to our destination. For most nations in Africa, the reality is that of retrogression in terms of the social wellbeing of its citizenry, the plush gigantic skyscrapers in our major cities are just a façade. Thousands of persons on this continent live in abject poverty. Our senior citizens speak of the early post colonial Africa with fond memories and weep for the future of their great descendants; some do wonder if we will ever get to the Promised destination.

It is never too late to revisit the dream of the founding fathers of Pan Africanism and the Organization of Africa Unity. It is a dream worth pursuing; it is a dream that should involve all Africans, from our Heads of States to the very least in our nations. It demands all our attention, all our energies with a sense of urgency, the belief that this current generation of Africa has all it takes to chase after this dream. I would like to suggest two reasons why it is important for us to revisit the dream of a Prosperous Africa for the African people.

First and foremost, Africa is our God-given home, there is no place we can call our home except Africa. God determined the appointed times and boundaries of where people should live. It is by no means a mistake for us to be Africans neither is there any curse for being African. The onus lies on the new generations of this continent to put our energies together to create a prosperous Africa. Just as we cannot call the well-built and adorned homes of our friends our home, so it is, we cannot call other continents our home. There is a need for us to believe in the potentials of this continent and be intentional about building it. It will not happen by chance. Unfortunately, many Africans are losing hope in this continent. They do not believe we will ever reach the Promised Destination. We need to dream again. We need to believe again. The atmosphere now may suggest that we can never get there. However, if we believe again and harness all our energies, we will have an African which will not depend on donors to finance her projects. The World Bank and IMF would not dictate to us what projects to undertake. We can build together if we dedicated ourselves to this dream.

Secondly, God has blessed this continent abundantly with both natural and human resources. The mineral resources of Africa are numerous, scattered across the continent. They have been harnessed over the years but we have very little to show for the blessing of these resources. The cases of Obuasi, Tarkwa, Prestea, Gold mining centres in Ghana are typical examples. The narrative must be altered. The days are gone where the continent had a few well-trained human capital. Now there are many well trained persons in varied sectors across the continent. We need to use our resources to develop our continent. I have read and followed keenly the development of the African Continental Trade Agreement signed in Kigali in 2018. I am more excited about it and I believe every African should be enthused about it too. The population and markets in Africa should propel the economic development this continent deserves. We need to guard this initiative with eagles’ eyes. The International Monetary Fund has already raised red flags about it. If European Union has contributed massively to the development of Europe, then why not a common Market for over 1.2 billon people living in Africa? The nations of Africa will benefit tremendously if this initiative comes to full realization. I know very well that we are going to face opposition both internally and externally. Let us all be like the biblical Nehemiah, engaging all of our energies to rebuild the broken walls of Africa. We need to ‘Africanise’ our development, our architecture should reflect who we are. Too many of our buildings in our major cities do not reflect “us”. We are gradually weaning ourselves and our children of our local meals, with a craze for foreign delicacies. We need to go back and patronize “Made-In-Africa.”

I would like to conclude by saying, we need to awaken our spirit and believe in this continent. The Prosperous Africa has lingered for too long, but we shall surely get there. Let us not grow weary and despair. Africa will be great and prosperous again.

Kwabena Nifa Kurankye
[email protected]
16th May,2019.

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