While hosting the French President, Emmanuel Macron, in Accra, Nana Akufo-Addo Ghana’s president, touched on issues bedevilling Ghana and the African continent. He lamented the problems of aid, illegal migration to Europe, mismanagement, governance, and the imperative of sharpening the African personality. Akufo-Addo mentioned his now famous catchphrase, “Ghana Beyond Aid”. That is a plan that seeks to shift focus from dependence on aid to the proper management of Ghana’s resources for economic development.
While Akufo-Ado has been lauded for his speech it is important to note that he found his inspiration from the first prime minister and president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah writings.
Many African nation-states after flag independence find they have achieved government or state power but still cannot control the political economies of their country as they appear to be directed from the outside by former colonial masters or by multi-national corporations. Kwame Krumah pointed this out in his book “Neo colonialism: the last stage of imperialism”. There are too many things that divide Africa, from borders that were drawn up by European imperialists which continue to inhibit travel and trade to political, social and economic issues.
In, 1957 after Ghana got its independence, Nkrumah declared:
‘We are going to see that we create our own African personality and identity. We again rededicate ourselves in the struggle to emancipate other countries in Africa; for our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent.’
The Vision – United States of Africa
In his book, I Speak of Freedom, Kwame Nkrumah wrote:
‘Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world. I believe strongly and sincerely that with the deep-rooted wisdom and dignity, the innate respect for human lives, the intense humanity that is our heritage, the African race, united under one federal government, will emerge not as just another world bloc to flaunt its wealth and strength, but as a Great Power whose greatness is indestructible because it is built not on fear, envy and suspicion, nor won at the expense of others, but founded on hope, trust, friendship and directed to the good of all mankind.’
Ghana was one of 30 nations that founded the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 but Kwame Nkrumah regarded it as inadequate as it was not the United States of Africa he longed for.
In line with the vision of Nkrumah, in February 2009, upon being elected chairman of the, Gaddafi told the assembled African leaders: “I shall continue to insist that our sovereign countries work to achieve the United States of Africa. He had proposed a single African military force, a single currency and a single passport for Africans to move freely around the continent. Gaddafi moved that the United States of Africa was a way of ending the continent’s conflicts and defying the west, but he failed to secure enough support from his African counterparts.
Africa needs its leaders to find the political will to intentionally gather around a common agenda, a common approach to human rights and development as well as a commitment to deal with democracy on the continent. There is need to build from the bottom economically while working towards unifying Africa as a long-term goal. Only then will the vision of the founding fathers be realised.