The foundation of Pan-Africanism is a belief in laws, representation, and political sovereignty. It was the vision of Marcus Garvey, Henry Sylvester-Williams, Edward Wilmot Blyden, Kwame Nkrumah and millions of other Pan-Africans past and present to bring a United States of Africa to life because they understood this:
The longer we remain divided, the longer we remain defeated.
A United States of Africa would be the third most populous state after China and India, would have the largest total territory of any state on Earth, and the most powerful economic and military force in the history of the world.
Unfortunately, colonialism, neocolonialism, and white supremacy have created a world where Africans are politically, economically, socially and geographically separated from one another.
Realizing the vision of a Pan-African state will not only resolve these divisions, but it could also mean the unification of Africa’s political bodies, infrastructure, currency and resources, and armed forces.
A Unified African Political Body
Many of Africa’s current national borders were drawn by European colonizers. During what came to be known as the ‘Berlin Conference‘, white nations carved Africa up between themselves without the consent of Africans themselves.
When colonialism began to weaken and fall in the mid-to-late 1950s and 1960s, new leaders emerged who were determined to undo the divisions that Europeans had created – starting with political divisions.
These new leaders chartered the Organization of African Unity and began the work of decolonizing the continent. That’s when the Western world stepped back in to initiate an age of neocolonialism. The great leaders of the African Revolution were summarily overthrown by one Western backed coup after another. Nelson Mandela was captured. Kwame Nkrumah was forced out of his nation of Ghana. Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba was assassinated. His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, Amílcar Cabral of Conakry, Guinea, and William Tolbert of Liberia all met the same fate. All were Pan-Africans.
These Pan-African leaders were replaced by western puppets and dictators, and the OAU was replaced with the African Union – an organization that attempted to revive the original intent of the OAU, but was hijacked after the assassination of Libya’s Gaddafi.
Today there are 54 African countries, each with its own policies, passports, and restrictions. Not only has any attempt at removing political boundaries failed, but it has become more difficult to navigate. Since a passport is required for travel from one African country to another, moving across the continent is a nightmare. To solve this problem, the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi introduced the concept of a single African passport for Africans to move freely around the continent during the AU summit of 2009. Unfortunately – but unsurprisingly – the idea has been opposed by many African leaders.
During an Assembly in Ethiopia, Zambia’s President Michael Sata said the issue of African countries using one passport will promote crime and other vices on the continent, since (according to him) Africa has the highest rate of crime in the world and using one passport will only make the movement for criminals easy. (Lukansa Times)
Later, Mr. Sata stated that the single-passport proposal comes from the African Union, a “loose alliance”, while Zambia was a sovereign state that makes its own laws. The unwillingness of leaders like Mr. Sata to support policies that would benefit the 1 Billion people of the African continent in favor of his own little corner is why a unified political body in Africa is so necessary.
In another example, a week before Gaddafi’s death during the American backed attack on his country, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa expressed relief at the regime’s downfall, complaining that Gaddafi had been “intimidating” many African heads of state in an effort to gain influence throughout the continent and suggesting that the African would be better off without Gaddafi and his repeated proposals for a United States of Africa.
A Unified African Infrastructure
More than 30 African countries experience regular power shortages. Even in Nigeria, with the second highest GDP on the continent, only 15 percent of the roads are paved. Sub-Saharan Africa has fewer fixed telephone lines than Manhattan, and in 2006 Africa contributed to only 2% of the world’s overall telephone lines in the world. As a consequence of this general lack of connectivity, most Africa-generated internet traffic is routed through servers that are located elsewhere (mainly Europe). Realizing the dream of a United States of Africa that is able to compete on the world stage will require massive infrastructure investment to reach the same standards that the rest of the world enjoys.
Road infrastructure stimulates trade, reduces poverty, and benefits health and education since they allow medical and educational services to be distributed to previously inaccessible areas. However, regional powers discouraged road links with their neighbors except where absolutely necessary, and tightened border restrictions as a way of protecting internal trade, as a weapon in border disputes, and to increase the opportunities for official corruption.
Today, the 57,233-km Trans African Highway network connects the capitals of Member States and the main production and consumption centers in order to promote greater physical, social, political and economic cohesion among the people of the continent, but the project remains less than 80 percent complete.
With a unified continental transportation network and a single passport, goods, civilians, military personnel, and African controlled aid organizations would be able to travel on the ground from coast to coast rapidly.
A Single African Currency
Of all the other proposals listed here, a single African currency is the most feasible in the shortest period of time. In fact, it is currently underway. In 1991, the Abuja Treaty created the African Economic Community (AEC) as a department of the African Union. Among the other areas that the treaty sought to create included the African Central Bank, African Investment Bank and an African Monetary Fund. At inception, the treaty had proposed the name Afro for the single currency.
The treaty suggested the enactment of the Afro by 2028 with the African Central Bank being the sole issuer of the currency. Already the AU commission is working on the steps to establish the bank in Abuja Nigeria. The discussions are being held with the Nigerian authorities to sign a memorandum of understanding for hosting a technical steering committee to undertake implementation of the bank. In June, 2013, Nigeria’s Central Bank governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi backed the project.
The implications of a single African currency that is backed by the natural resources of the African continent would mean the creation of the strongest currency on the face of the Earth, and would render the American dollar useless. Sanctions placed on Africa by other (white) nations would have virtually no impact, since the shock would have been absorbed by other African nations and erase inflation and price distortions prevalent with small currencies like the Zimbabwe Dollar.
A Unified African Military
There have been over 9 million refugees and internally displaced people from the more than 300 coups and dozens of civil wars in Africa in the past 50 years in Africa. Hundreds and thousands of people have been slaughtered from these conflicts on a scale that would rival World War III.
Currently, nearly half of the continent’s 54 countries are home to an active conflict or a recently ended one. A unified African military force under federal control has the potential to bring this suffering to an end.
Moreover, the United States or any other power on Earth would think twice before challenging the military might of a nation of more than a billion people. This is, in fact, the greatest threat to the western world, and preventing the unification of African armed forces played a key role in the 2011 invasion of Libya.
Back in 2007, America traveled to Africa for the purposes of establishing AFRICOM. Libya was one of the few countries to stand in the way of a permanent military presence in Africa (see “Africa united in rejecting US request for military HQ“; The Guardian, Monday 25 June 2007 ).
Defense is one of the prerequisites of civilization from the uncivilized, and a unified African military would ensure the protection of our interests for the next 1000 years.
Is A United States of Africa Possible?
With all of the problems stated above, one must ask if it is possible to unify so many different organizations, political bodies, military units, banks, and ethnic groups into one a multinational state? To answer that question, consider the European Union.
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 28 member states that operate through a system of supranational independent institutions and intergovernmental policies negotiated decisions by the individual countries (called member states). Institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank, the Court of Auditors, and the European Parliament. The European Parliament is elected every five years by EU citizens.
The EU has developed a single market through a standardized system of laws that apply in all member states, and a single currency called the Euro.
As a unified economic force, with only 7% of the worlds population, the European Union generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of 16.584 trillion US dollars, representing 20% of the global GDP – the largest nominal GDP in the world. Legal grievances between member states are resolved by one court – the Court of Justice of the European Union. Universal healthcare has been enacted in the European Union, and with a valid passport, EU citizens are entitled to exercise the right of free movement throughout the area without a visa.
The mission of The Pan-African Alliance is to support the establishment of a United States of Africa. The Black men and women of the world who have been removed from their ancestral homeland must come to understand that although we are now divided by language, customs, and geography, we must remain united in our desire to rebuild those bridges that have been destroyed by nearly 500 years of disaster.