This November – December 2022, we have been treated to the usual United Africa scenes that come into play on rare occasions every four years occasioned by the fanaticism of the world cup and sometimes the Olympics. This season is one of those rare seasons where we can truly see the spirit of a United Africa, which has eluded the political players and continues to be a dream of the future. When we see Africa rallying behind Senegal, Cameroon, and Ghana, sticking with Morocco all the way and praying that they become the first African country to win the world cup is one of the most remarkable unity that needs to be embraced fully and learnings picked by our political players to actualize and encourage political and economic integration in the African continent. The “sportsmanship” in Africa has achieved the elusive goal that the “politicalship” in Africa has been searching for for years.
- To promote the unity and solidarity of the African States – we see this every time in Olympics, where Africa unites and cheer-up the Africans. We see this in World Cups, where we lay down our singular countries’ agenda and support African countries to solder on and on.
- To coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa – we see many African Athletes individually and collectively coming back home and supporting their communities and fellow countrymen, women and children in various ways in community development and empowerment.
The dream of a United Africa stems from colonialism in the 1900s to post-colonialism. Africa’s founding fathers and Presidents were among the early advocates of Pan-Africanism through the Organization of African Unity. That dream of pan-Africanism remains “a dream”. Yes, there has been considerable development in the steps towards its achievement, but the actualization has been hampered by a lack of political trust and goodwill based on self-fish ambitions. Several issues, as a result, remain unactualized. In the review below, I only pick 5 concerns that can transform Africa if a united front is enhanced as an agenda.
It is our business as Africa to help the many vulnerable communities in our continent adapt to climate change through concrete solutions with us and within us. A United Africa can address its food security concerns, support its vulnerable communities, and chart a path to overcome climate challenges by providing climate change financing, resources and tools that will effectively actualize climate change actions in Africa.
Africa has the capability to resolve its internal conflicts experienced in various countries. The consequences of long-term conflict in many parts of the African continent pose serious security threats to the peace efforts in the continent and the actualization of the elusive Pan-Africanism agenda. Africa has the potential to avert its internal refugee crisis. Sustainable peace and stability in Africa are imperative for a united Africa.
Africa is not underrepresented in global trade, as alluded to in many circles. Africa is either undercutting itself or being undercut in the global trade arena. There have been considerable efforts to improve this position through the effective formation and implementation of The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) mandate. However, the actualization of the mandate to fully realize the intended benefits are still hampered by ongoing negotiations on various protocols, majorly due to political trust and goodwill issues. A united Africa can significantly boost regional trade and economic development through various goodwill vehicles, including the new Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) developed by Afreximbank and the AfCFTA Secretariat.
This remains the biggest threat to the actualization of a United Africa agenda. Over the last two years alone, Africa has experienced military takeover coups that have fueled increased instability in the continent. There has been a considerable push for resolution and commitment to transition the affected states back to civilian leadership by holding democratic elections, but the efforts are still slow. Over ten African countries held elections of one sort or another this year, and most have transitioned well against all odds, demonstrating maturity and commitment to democratic governance in Africa. A united Africa can continue to hold each other’s hand, and with such vehicles like “The African Peer Review Mechanism”, which is the continent’s arm on good governance monitoring and promotion, the continent can make strides in its application of good governance moving into the future.
Covid-19 pandemic was a bitter-sweet crisis in Africa with immense learnings and opportunities to take advantage of. Strengthening the continent’s digital economies is no longer an option but a priority. A united Africa must address the growing inequalities and help reduce divides within and across African digital economies. A united Africa must prioritize the risks of increased reliance on global digital economies by supporting expanding its African telecoms infrastructure connecting Africa’s unconnected while addressing the costs of access concerns. A united Africa must prioritize new and relevant digital economic policy efforts moving into the future.
However relevant, the above concerns and trends are pulled back from the full realization by two critical issues affecting our United Approach as a continent – The scarcity of Credible and Collaborative leaders. Moreover, the few there are either not raising their voice loud enough for sense to be understood within relevant circles, or have been compromised and resorted to letting go.
Watch for my new opinion blog in early 2023 as I delve more into Credible and Collaborative leadership in Africa. How can African countries’ presidents rise to the occasion and spearhead the United Africa Front to propel Africa to its deserved position? Finally, on the need for African Presidents to invest more in non-political advisors and professional coaches to enable them to navigate effectively past the political dilemmas.
Gilbert Ang’ana; CEO at Accent Leadership Group (ALG), a Multi-Award Winning Global Change Leadership Practitioner, PhD Scholar in Leadership, and Author of “Engaged & Productive” Book. www.stepafrique.com