Nkrumah’s dream and the new African economic community

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Kwame Nkrumah dreamt of the United States of Africa, a single political entity that can articulate and defend the interests of the African continent. Kwame’s dreams may have taken roots last week.

On the 22nd of October, 26 African countries met in Kampala, miles away from the Cape of Good Hope to plant the seeds of Kwame Nkrumah’s dream. It was agreed amongst the 26 nations to create a free trade zone, an economic market that will bolster an African economic community and an eventual political union.

‘Let this summit be the first step in an unstoppable march towards an integrated Africa. Our nation’s founding fathers [Moshoeshoe, Mutato, Kwame Nkrumah] realized a dream of regional economic integration; we must move their dream a level higher by looking beyond our regions and realizing that this tripartite summit can lay the most formidable foundation in our long cherished dream of an African Economic Community.’ Mwai Kibaki, the president of Kenya resounded to the nourishment of Kwame Nkrumah’s bones.

If this seed of Nkrumah’s dreams is properly managed, this co operational framework should create the environment through which millions of Africans can be lifted out of poverty.

World trade has expanded dramatically since the end of World War II, increasing from $82bn in 1953 to more than $9 trillion in 2004, fuelling an almost unstoppable international economic growth.

But Africa’s share of world trade has been steadily declining. Main export commodities like oil, coffee, copper, cobalt, gold and diamonds have fallen in value in relation to manufactured exports like clothing and computers, which many Asian countries have specialized in and dramatically increased their importance in world trade.

African countries have lagged behind since slavery and colonization and need to stand up for themselves, emancipate themselves, redefine themselves and prove that they have understood the economic and political game as it has been silhouetted.

It is high time Africa extracted, developed and benefited from their own natural resources, which have proved indispensable to other economic powers, and advance their manufacturing and industrial sectors, but most importantly, join economic and political forces for their own good.

Hopefully this recent economic integration will eventually include the remaining 28 countries and create a premise for a political integration that will protect the African interests.

This co-operation has been envisaged in four stages, beginning with economic co-operation, followed by a customs union, then a common market and monetary union and then development into a single political unit.

If Mansa Musa, Nzinha, Askia Toure, Osei Tutu, Jaja, Chaka, Mbuya Nehanda, Yaa Ashantewa and Menelek had been turning in their graves all these years, they should be resting soon.

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