The Africa We Want:Radical Thoughts For A Demanding Cause


Triggered by his inaugural address remarks to African Youths that they (African Leaders) cannot build Africa without us for we are professional Men and Women with full role to play; Two Days after his Election as the Chair of the African Union (AU) and its Leader of Reforms, I wrote an Open Letter to President Paul Kagame through the Weekly East African Newspaper of February 3,2018.In it was a Congratulatory Note, my take on AU?s 2018 Theme on the War against Corruption and a request to have Youths in Africa actively involved in it and the greater African Prosperity Agenda as enshrined in Aspiration 6 of our Agenda 2063.It is in this light that I express my Thoughts,Ideas and Vision on an Ideal Africa

The Seven Aspirations of Africa’s Agenda 2063 (Graphic Courtesy-NEPAD)

under the Theme of The Africa We Want. As a Pan-African Youth who passionately subscribes and believes in an African Dream;an Ideal Africa I hereby Propose my Composed Thoughts of an Ideal Africa as I Envision it.

I am in my Submission solely guided by the African Union Concept,Ideal and Spirit of the January 1961 Casablanca Summit and most importantly the Casablanca Group’s Submission at the Historic first ever Independent African States Leaders Summit at Addis Ababa on May 24,1963 as Concisely captured in One of the greatest Pan-African of all times;Ghana’s Founding Father President Kwame Nkrumah’s Speech in this 1963 Summit THAT; “No Sporadic Act nor Pious Resolution can Resolve our current Problems;Nothing will be of Avail except the United Act of a United Africa”.

My Submission is built on the 7 Aspirations of our Agenda 2063 on Critical Questions that we need to ask ourselves and Actions needed to be taken now to revamp and fast track the realization of our Grand Goals and Dreams as spelt out on our Africa Agenda 2063.

My Proposal Essay

  1. A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development

Being the Youngest Continent in the World; I fail to understand why Africa and her Young Nations are so much obsessed with extortionate Infrastructural Projects that are way beyond our Financial Wherewithal with little investment to the basics of a developing Society. In as much as Infrastructure is a requisite for growth and development, let us go for modest Infrastructure in order to strike balance with other equally important requisites of a developing Continent for sustainable growth and development. It’s alarming that the International Monetary Fund has warned of our Debt Burden saying over 40% of Low Income and Low Middle Income Countries in Africa are already in Debt distress. China; our biggest Trade Partner who has now become our biggest Creditor has Cancelled Debts owed to it by over 30 African Countries that it has described as Poor and heavily in Debt 3 times in a row. What this basically means is that we are borrowing to Finance unsustainable and unviable development Projects. As the acclaimed Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of needs puts it; Physiological human needs are the basis of their survival and the first step of Motivation that must be fulfilled before pursuing satisfaction on a higher level failure to which other further pursues lose meaning. What would a homeless Man, hungry, thirsty, depressed in tattered Clothes want to do with a Bullet Train or a Multi-Lane Super Expressway?. The Global Hunger Index shows that 4 out of the Hungriest Countries in the World are in Africa with 12 out of the 15 Hungriest Countries also being in Africa. Is this really the Africa we want?. What inclusive growth and development can we claim before feeding our Hungry and Undernourished People?.

I suggest strategic high investment in Food and Livestock Agriculture, Crop Irrigation, Textile and Food Industries, Housing, Health and Lifestyle with modest investment in financially demanding Projects like Transport Infrastructure and other Secondary needs. Inclusive and Sustainable Growth and Development of any Society is always a result of its robust Social aspect. I suggest the consideration and inclusion of this aspect in our Agenda 2063 Flagship Projects.

  1. An integrated Continent, Politically United based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the Vision of Africa’s Renaissance.

Does the Vision, Spirit and Ideals of our very first Leaders in Independent Africa still exist?. Do the Resolutions, Declarations and Aspirations of the Historic May 1963 OAU Conference especially those of the “African Unity Now Casablanca Group” that I consider a precise Panacea to Independent Africa’s Past and Present Problems still exist in the realms of Today’s African Leaders. What was adopted, what was modified and what was ignored and forgotten. The attitude towards Pan-Africanism might change with every generation but the Core of this Ideal is Sacrosanct. The content, message and ideals in the 32 Speeches made at this Historic Conference holds the clearest picture of the African Dream at Get-go. It forms the very naissance of what is and should inform the essence of Pan-Africanism. Do we have an African Character, do we inculcate it to our Children. Pan-Africanism is not about being black in Complexion but rather what identifies and inspires us as we dream, speak, do and be. We can achieve an integrated Africa, yes, when we acknowledge, bespeak and appreciate our entwined past, cultivate our Today together and foster an all-inclusive Future together. It’s so refreshing and promising to see the progress of key Agenda 2063’s Continental Integration Projects namely the Africa Free Continental Trade Area that is almost coming into force, the Single Air Transport Market, Integrated High-speed Train Network, the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport that are on Course. These are momentous strides in our Integration Journey that we need to zealously Fast track. We must also reinvent our approach to Leadership and Politics. We have over time contaminated our Leadership with wasteful Politics. We have taken Politics for Leadership and Leadership for Politics only to mess the solemn call of Leadership. Authoritarian, Despotic,Dynastic,Personality Cult, Populist Politics of Propaganda,Rhetorics and Charades that are totally Vague in Vision,Ideology and Strategy have costed us Big Time. That our daily discussions and aims are about how to deal with or Oust Failed and mostly oppressive Rulers and Regimes or how and who to install as the next Leader is not only wasteful but also retrogressive. Let us invent a Comprehensive Model of Practical Leadership and Governance that only Recognizes/Adapts What and How to do in Governance not who to get into Leadership/Government. I believe an all-inclusive team of African Union’s Governance Architecture in conjunction with the Political Affairs department can come up with such a Model and then present it for debate, consideration and suggestions of improvement in individual African Countries. This would be a good point to start the process of Political integration which will in time translate to a Politically Sane,Visionary and Informed Continent.

  1. An Africa of Good Governance, Democracy, Respect for Human Rights, Justice and the Rule of Law

The endeavors of this Aspiration are all tied to one thing; the Rationale and Sanctity of our Institutions of Administration and Governance. The Institution of Government Executive, Judiciary, Electoral Agencies, Lawmakers and Human Dignity Activism. We have a tendency in Africa where heads of Institutions always want to be and actually end up being bigger than the Institutions they head always seeking special privileges, immunity and impunity in the face of the Institution’s mandate. This beats all logic behind such Institutions. We can achieve good Governance when every Leader however high or low their office and Institution ranks is subject to Scrutiny and Accountability.An Average African Voter/Common African Man Needs and Deserves to be Enlightened on what Constitutes,What Defines and what Makes a truly Good Government,Governors and Governance Structure.This is the Basic and the Surest Means of achieving Good,Productive and Visionary Governance across Africa.The African Union should recruit specially trained Envoys to make this the very firts and most Elaborate and Intense Activity before every General Election is held in every part of this Continent.We also can achieve True Democracy when all our Centers of Democracy led by our Electoral Agencies and Lawmakers are truly free from all imaginable interference and manipulation. We can achieve true Justice and Rule of Law when we let our Constitutions and Law reign supreme above all regardless and Champion for Justice for all without delay. All African Countries should now ratify Article 1 of June 1998 Protocol to affirm and have the African Court of Human and Peoples Rights Fully-fledged. This will give it Authority to Investigate, Prosecute and Arbitrate on all cases of Human Rights Violation anywhere in this Continent. On the intention to merge this Court with the African Court of justice to have an African Court of Justice and Human Rights that shall have Criminal Jurisdiction as per June 2014 Malabo Protocol I have a reservation. The Rationale behind this is great but one of its critical Provision reeks of Manipulation and Handicap. Why would sitting Heads of States and Senior State Officials want to be free from Charges and Prosecution by this Court? Why would our Leaders create such a good institution as an African Solution to African Problems and then place themselves above it? Is this not an impediment to its mandate and authority? The essence of Justice and Rule of Law is the Supremacy it exerts on all its subjects. I humbly call upon our Leaders to reevaluate and readdress this specific aspect. Human Dignity and Rights advocacy groups across Africa should also be empowered to be the Eye and Ear of this African Court of Justice and Human Rights. As the Celebrated Pan-African, Revolutionist and Former President of Burkina Faso Thomas Sankara said, let our Revolution towards this Aspiration be a collective effort to transform reality and improve the situation of Africans with Concrete solutions not about Public Speaking, Fine phrases and Slogans to look like we are offering solution when we are not.

  1. A Peaceful and Secure Africa

First things first; what ignites Conflicts and War in Africa, what Fuels it?. The leading causes of War and Conflict in Africa are Power, Territorial/Border Conflicts, Resource benefit sharing Conflicts, Ethnic Wars, Religious Extremism and Terrorism. Power is atop the causes. It is the reason behind Coups, Mutinies, Civil Rebellions, Armed Rebellion, Civil Wars and Uprisings witnessed in African Countries from time to time with some going through this at this very moment. Leaders who take Power through Unconstitutional means, Vote Rigging, Authoritarians, Leaders who do not want to Share nor leave Power Fuel such Wars whose aftermath is usually Mass Killings and devastating Human torment/suffering. Border Conflicts fuels armed Rebellion and Confrontations, Natural Resources exploitation by Local and Foreign Cartels fuels animosity and sometimes armed struggle as People seek to benefit from those Natural Resources which are indeed their Birthright. Ethnic Wars mostly ignited by feelings of Segregation in Power and Resources sharing Policy leads to armed confrontations and sometimes Secession struggles. These eventually offers a breeding ground for Religious Extremism and Terrorism as People struggle to dominate or resist domination.Whilst I appreciate the gains of the various Peace and Security Measures spearheaded by African Union’s Peace and Security Council there is still a huge challenge ahead in securing the Peaceful Africa We Want. Even as we seek to Silence Guns by 2020 through the Africa Peace and Security Architecture Road Map 2016-2020 and the ongoing implementation of Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Africa 2018-2028 we need to invest the biggest amount of Africa Peace Fund on Preventive Diplomacy so as to Pro-actively anticipate and Prevent Conflicts and Wars long before they materialize. The African Governance Architecture should form an all-inclusive body and come up with an African Governance Framework Protocol, Resources Sharing Policy and Formula and also Arbitrate on long-standing Border Conflicts. We shouldn’t let our Individual Sovereignities to set us up against each other but rather to be the undying Source of our Cordial Coexistence,Values,Wisdom,Ideas and Heritage.Peace Education should also be taught to all Generations across all African Communities stressing on the importance of Dialogue, Tolerance, Integration, Peaceful,Productive Co-existence and Synergy amidst our rich Diversity.

  1. An Africa with a Strong Cultural Identity, Common Heritage, Values and Ethics

As I noted in Aspiration Two; being truly African is not a matter of being black in complexion, it’s not even much about being born in Africa; like the Legendary Pan-African and first President of Ghana H.E Kwame Nkrumah said I am not an African because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born in me. True African Cultural Identity is about the African Character, Spirit and Fiber. It’s that which should set you apart as you imagine, envision, speak and do about your Individual Country and ultimately about your Continent Africa. I have seen some African Leaders give very impassioned Pro-Africa speeches only for their Character and Actions to reveal absolute opposite. In order to Treasure and Cherish our common Heritage; we must acknowledge and establish our intertwined Past and History, Foster our present as one People and Collectively Forge our Future as a People of the same Motherland that is Africa.An African Identity will require One Truly African Language which should as a matter of Urgency be actually introduced in every School and in every Community at every Corner of our Continent.Forget about English,French,Portuguese,Spanish,Italian,Arabic,German or even Chinese;These are Colonial Heritage left by the Imperialists to forever Cause Discord in every African Discourse so that for example Anglophone Africans are completely Alien to Francophone Africans.We must rise above this historical impediment Now.Communication is a Basic and the most important point of Contact,Connection,Relation and Interaction between and among Human Beings.We can Never truly Integrate or Unite as One African People without One Common Truly African Language from East-to-Central-to-West-to-Southern-to-Northern Africa.On Values and Ethics; we must effect substantial Renaissance of Pan-Africanism, Afro-Optimism, Afro-Centrism and Afro-Futurism. We must rediscover, reclaim and rekindle our Wisdom and Knowledge on African Morality, African Virtues and Values as fashioned by our Founding Mothers and Fathers whose erosion and corrosion began way back in the Colonial Era and is still going on in the face of a highly influential Foreign and Europe/Western Culture. The African Union’s Social and Cultural Council together with the Pan-African Parliament should kick-start this Mission in earnest.

  1. An Africa whose development is People-driven, relying on the Potential of African People especially our Women, Youth and Caring for Children

To take part in the African Revolution; It’s not enough to write a Revolutionary Song. You must fashion the Revolution with the People; If you fashion it with the People the Songs will come from them;said a True Pan-African; the first President of Guinea Ahmed Sekou Toure. He was absolutely right; Africa’s Agenda 2063 is a Masterpiece but it might not have a meaning for Africans without them at the Center of its every step and stage.Over 60% of Africa’s Population Today is below the age of 25 years with Africa’s Median Age being 19 Years. Africa is home to the World’s Youngest Population. This is in itself a Goldmine; it’s equally a Time Bomb. It all depends on the Strategy Africa has for this delicate Demographic. Whilst our Leaders seek to prepare a Future for us, it’s prudent that they also prepare us for the Future. We are not too young to lead and if indeed we are, then we are not too young to be part of our Continent’s Strategy Formulation. We have our own Visions, Ideas, Opinions and Desires; Involve us actively and consistently. I am glad we now have an AU Youth Envoy; the next most important thing is to transform the Envoy into an Afro-Optimism Movement that shall Traverse Africa conversing with the Youths on what they believe should be an Ideal Africa and bring their ideas together for Action. Our Women our Mothers are our all-time Treasure; they bring and nurture Life to the World. They are the very first Teacher one learns from in their Life. Every Child in this Continent deserves an Enlightened and Empowered Mother. The AU Directorate of Women, Gender and Development should revamp its Policy, Strategically lobby and increase the Fund for African Women and then use Rights of Women in Africa division of our African Court (ACHPR) to establish Women Empowerment, Enlightenment and Welfare Program and Centers across Africa for our Women and Children to Learn and Advance themselves which will translate to Enlightened Communities across Africa.

  1. Africa as a Strong, United, Resilient and Influential Global Player and Partner

During the 7th Forum for China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing last year; President Paul Kagame in his capacity as the AU Chair said Africa is not a Zero-sum game that our vigorously growing ties with China do not come at anyone’s expense; In another High-level Europe-Africa Forum still last year he said that Europeans should view Africa as Partners not beneficiaries of their generosity. We have also in the past seen France-Africa,USA-Africa,India-Africa,Tokyo-Africa,Middle East-Africa,Korea-Africa,Norway-Africa,Germany-Africa and most recently Russia-Africa not forgetting the oncoming January 2020 UK-Africa Summit where the World’s Super Powers are seeking to engage Africa as a Continent. The biggest and most Critical Question is how Africa goes to such Forums;Do we engage as One Bloc of 54 States or each of our 54 States goes into the Negotiation Table Individually.Remember at all these Conferences Africa is rarely the Initiator;It’s usually these Countries that Initiate,Invite and set the Agenda always coming into the Negotiation Table as One;Clear and Conscise on what they want for their Countries and People out of these Summits.This is more often than not a complete opposite of how Africa walks into these Summits.In retrospect;Africa we must with an urgency of now get our Act together,think about our Formation,Place,Space,Position,Gains,Give and Take in such High-level Global Platforms while Strategising on such Events in the Future.For instance our Trade with China our biggest Trade Partner and Creditor has been on a nosedive since 2014 due to weak falling Commodity Prices lowering the Value of our Exports to China as their Exports to Africa increase steadily. How about Africa’s Debt burden to China;why is China always waiving Debts for African Countries referring to them as Poor, least developed and heavily in debt while giving out more Money as Debt to the same Countries?;This is not Strength,it’s neither Influence nor Resilience for Africa.Are we not slowly but surely falling trap to Debt Diplomacy with China?.Russia also did the same in the just concluded Russia-Africa Summit.These continued Debt relief gestures from our Creditors should now be a wake-up call to African Countries;such Diplomacy looks/sounds too good and we must stay both Woke and Warned.Are we biting more than we can chew,what kind of Projects are we financing with these huge high-interest Loans that cannot repay the Loans?.I believe Africa can develop without these external Aid and Loans;we only need the right Mindset to realize this. Our Trade with Europe has also been imbalanced since 2014. Why is our Trade with Global Economic Giants always fluctuating? Here now is where our Agenda 2063’s Africa Commodity Strategy as a Flagship Project comes in handy. We need to introduce a Standard Policy on Commodity State, Volume, Quality, Positioning, Value Addition and Proposition for all Exports from Africa and a Standard Policy for Necessity, Priority, Quality, Validity and Alternative for all Imports to Africa. The AU Trade and Industry Organ should begin this as a Process of revamping our Foreign Trade Policy. The process of Ratifying our very own 1.2 Billion People African Market, $2.5 Trillion worth Africa Continental Free Trade Area is done and dusted;A Grand Stride in our Continental Economic Integration and Naissance. Every African is looking forward to this Great Initiative of our Agenda 2063 that is just about to come into Force;Its operational Phase beginning July 2020. Charity begins at home; the Success of AFCTA will place us as the Single Strongest and Biggest Trade Bloc in the World but we must be very pragmatic as we approach the operational phase of this momentous Program.

Another critical issue towards this Aspiration of becoming a Strong Influential Global Player and Partner lies in our Stake and Voice at Key High-Level Decision Making bodies in the World led by the United Nations Secretariat, United Nations Security Council, the World Trade Organization General Council, the G 7 Alliance among others. As the late Zimbabwean President and Great Pan-African H.E Robert Mugabe once noted;It’s untenable, unreasonable and unfair that Africa has neither Influential nor Permanent Representation in some of these bodies whose Decisions and Decrees we are Subject and bound to oblige.We Must seek and have Real Substantial Place,Positions and Voice in these Key Global Decision-making Bodies and Organizations.

{The Writer Mr.Hezbon Mureithi is One of our Editors at Honourable Media Africa}


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